new issue
- by rheea mukherjee
total read - 3003

There is something vibrating under my bed. This is the third night I have felt it, it is unmistakable now.
At first I thought it might be the last haze of a dream, where conscious imagination and involuntary reverie meet.  But now I am sure of it. Something vibrates under my bed or within my mattress. Like a mass of flying insects waking up, or the dull buzz of an electronic appliance. It causes my stomach to clench, like my insides are being tickled.

I asked my husband if he felt it too, but he arched his eyebrows at me and smiled dismissively. He is not reliable though; he was never an observant man. Years ago, I had an affair with his brother who lived only four kilometers away from us. The affair started, and resolved itself in a year. My husband, who neither had a strong bond nor a particular distaste for his brother’s company, never suspected a thing. 

Right now I am lying down on my bed and I feel it; it’s extraordinary, like some sort of secret you have to keep to yourself, because only you can experience it. I get up and walk to the kitchen, put some water on the kettle and drum my fingers on the granite. I wonder if I should tell Zara, my daughter, about it, but she has her own life now, with a new child and talking seems to cause her unnecessary effort. Her voice is always strained while talking to me, awarding me with a few words, her efforts to placate are too obvious. So now my conversations with her are as limited as possible.

My water is boiling; I pour it into my red porcelain cup and add a bag of ginger green tea. I sit on my table and wait for the steam to thin.  It is not like I don’t have other work. I do. I edit a popular magazine, and I have strict deadlines to meet every month. In fact I have to read through three articles and approve them, and then finish my own piece about young women and binge drinking by tomorrow morning.

But for now the tea and the interesting phenomena of my bed vibrating seems to saturate my thoughts. What’s strange is that I find myself taking pleasure in thinking about it. I have no idea why. After all it’s not only odd but worrisome that I am experiencing something that has no reasonable explanation. I sip the tea, and burn my tongue, not due to absentmindedness, but because in general, I am impatient and often burn my tongue.

I allow these moments with my cup of tea to slip into evening, then night. How hours passed like seconds is a strange phenomenon too.  But I don’t put much thought it into it. My head feels heavy; that’s when I allow myself to go back to the bed, and be soothed by the hum that almost immediately begins to be a rhythm in my body. As I gaze at the dark ceiling the humming continues. I am awake but in rest. The hum invades my body and declares a new type of slumber, and as light pokes through my cream curtains, it occurs to me that my husband didn’t come home last night.

was published in November 2018
    Flash Fiction
    Short Story
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