Michelle Ross is the author of There’s So Much They Haven’t Told You (2017), which won the 2016 Moon City Press Short Fiction Award. Her fiction has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Alaska Quarterly Review, Colorado Review, Pidgeonholes, Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading, SmokeLong Quarterly, and other venues. She is fiction editor of Atticus Review. She lives in Tucson, Arizona. www.michellenross.com.
Posted: March 5, 2021 · Tagged: Micro · Categorized: Fiction
The ducks are a pair—Mallards from the pond in the nearby park. Every evening, they claim the shallow end of the swimming pool, float in languid circles. They’re not threatened by the woman watching them from the canvas chair. They don’t even startle when she goes inside the house to pour more prosecco. The woman is a divorcée—she’s lived alone in this house twelve years. Her grown daughters transplanted thousands of miles away. Boyfriends have spent the night from time to time, but there’s no boyfriend now. The woman notes the elegant (pompous?) curve of the ducks’ breasts and necks….
Blinking in the darkness of the school auditorium, Rajiv spots his ex-wife Sangita. Her filmy green shawl is flung over the back of the empty seat beside her, reminding him of how their daughter, Alisha, puts a plate and cutlery out for her imaginary friend, Mr. Potato (not to be confused with the toy with the interchangeable facial features). The first time she did this, Rajiv thought Alisha was setting a place for her mother, and he’d wondered if the intention might actually conjure Sangita. “You saving that seat for Todd?” Rajiv asks Sangita. Her boyfriend, pink-faced with thick, blond…