Three Stories by Kathy Fish

 

Ripe

The book says a woman’s uterus is her Life Force. Women should not get hysterectomies (which the author calls female castration). They should instead address their long-held emotional and creative stagnation. The body is only responding to what the mind tells it to do. It is too late for Chelsea’s mother, who suspects this is a load of crap anyway. Absent her ovaries, she suspects lots of things are loads of crap. Still, she slathers estrogen cream on her body and lies in bed at night, waiting to feel ripe again.

She no longer recognizes herself. Even her voice has changed. She moves, walks, and talks exactly like her grandmother did. She feels lumpy, angry, deranged. She has begun Facebook stalking Rodney, her daughter’s boyfriend.

 

Juniors

All the clothes are cuter in the Juniors section. She may be 42 but she’s not ready for mom jeans. She still has stitches from her Total Hysterectomy. She is still a little puffy. The surgeon removed a tumor the size of a grapefruit, so why does she look six months pregnant? Her gynecologist told her it may takes upwards of six months to get back to normal. A fact she failed to share before the surgery. Chelsea’s mother comes out of the dressing room wearing a short dress with cap sleeves and flowers all over it. She peers into the full-length mirror. The teenager standing there looks up from her phone and rolls her eyes.

 

Tool

Chelsea finds her mother sitting at the kitchen table looking into a large book.

“What are you reading?”

“It’s the dictionary. I’m losing nouns. I’m trying to find them.”

“You’re losing nouns.” Chelsea pours herself a glass of chocolate milk.

“Last night I couldn’t think of the word for the tool you use to open a bottle of wine.”

“Corkscrew.”

“Right. But I couldn’t think of it. Then I was sitting in traffic on my way to work this morning and it popped into my head. Corkscrew!”

“Mom…”

Chelsea’s mother reads from the dictionary: “Fuck. Fuck’s a noun. Ha. Of course it is. Fudge. Fuel. A few pages every day. I feel so fucking demented. Dementia. There’s a noun for you.”

“I wanted to ask you about something.”

“Furze. A prickly evergreen shrub.”

“Mom. Look at me. Rodney wants you to stop sending him pictures.”

“Seriously? But I send everyone pictures.” Chelsea’s mother turns her face to the window. “Furze,” she says. “I pricked myself on the furze.”

 

Kathy Fish’s stories have been published or are forthcoming in venues including THE LINEUP: 25 PROVOCATIVE WOMEN WRITERS (Black Lawrence Press, 2015), Slice, Guernica, Indiana Review, Mississippi Review online, and Denver Quarterly. She is the author A PECULIAR FEELING OF RESTLESSNESS (Rose Metal Press, 2008), WILD LIFE (Matter Press, 2011) and TOGETHER WE CAN BURY IT, a second printing of which is available now from The Lit Pub.