Be Human

Her sister entered the apartment with burglar’s stealth.

April got out of bed, walked to her bedroom door, and stopped when she heard a voice that wasn’t her sister’s. May Sullivan, there might be hope for you yet. It was almost midnight, and her sister had company.

Grinning, April pressed an ear to the door.

“…don’t know about that,” May whispered.

“She isn’t good for you,” responded an unfamiliar voice.

“Kiley, you’ve always been biased when it comes to my sister.”

“Not biased, sweetie. Everyone knows your sister. She won’t help you find the courage that will allow your husband back into your life. Sharing a space with her will hurt—”

April opened the bedroom door. “My sister and I shared a womb for nine months, Kiley sweetie, and we survived just fine.”

“I should leave.” Kiley stood up.

“You should.” April walked across the living room and opened the front door.

Kiley rushed out.

April slammed the door closed.

“That was uncalled for,” May said.

“Uncalled for?” April got in her sister’s face. “That woman wants you ‘to find the courage’ to forgive the bastard who put the horns on you for two fucking years. That’s uncalled for!”

“Please don’t yell.”

“Damnit,” April shouted. “When did your soul die? Why is your carcass feeding everyone’s expectations? Can you breathe through that much weakness? Are you human, May S—?”

“Fuck off, April.” May slapped her sister.

May hit her hard, but it was the words—not the smack—that still rang in April’s ears.

“I’m sorry,” May said. “You were hysterical.

April hugged May, saying over and over, “You hit me.”

“I did,” May said softly. “And earlier, I drove my soon to be ex-husband’s car out of the garage that used to be ours and into the pool that’s now his. Is that human enough?”

April hugged her sister tighter.

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Inspired by “Be Human”, winner of From Blackout Poem Bit to Flash Fiction, 1

wee notes:
1. to put the horns on someone means to be unfaithful.
2. I put Helen Mirren’s super inspirational advice in May Sullivan’s gentle mouth: “At 70 years old, if I could give my younger self one piece of advice, it would be to use the words ‘fuck off’ much more frequently.”

Nude, by SunshineShelle
Detail from “Nude”, by SunshineShelle

29 thoughts on “Be Human

  1. Sibs can be harsh when talking from a concerned place like April did. Though April was right, there is hope for May yet, but not perhaps for the reason she expected. It took a certain amount of bravery to do that to her ex’s car, not to mention telling her concerned sister to fuck off.

  2. I was hoping you would choose this one. As always your writing leaves me with an itch. I want more in the greediest of ways!
    Thank you so much for your sweet words. Your comment went right int

  3. It’s easy to jump to conclusions, and its easy to over-think for and over-protect those you love and feel responsible for–this didn’t turn out the way I expected, but like so many things in life, it seems to me to have turned out just fine.

    • That’s one of the things I love most about storytelling (and living); we go around thinking we know this and that, and we know it so well… then we see it and realized that what we thought we knew was something completely different… but all right, too.

      When I blacked out the poem, I was thinking about wild things… about a speaking letting loose and such. Then May’s face came to me–calm, intelligent, hurt but not broken… with her sister raging on her behalf… both women completely human and their own way. I really liked that.

  4. Every bit of this I love. I especially love how neither one seems to be willing to consider that May doesn’t need them to save her… That she quietly saved herself without their help. A good reminder that we don’t always know what’s best for those we love, or know the path they might have to walk to get to some place better than where they’re starting from.💜

    • I like the fierceness of April’s love… But like you, I admire the uniqueness of May’s personality. She saves herself, and has enough strength to allow others feel like they are helping, too, without breaking them down. That has to take a lot out of a person; I doubt I could do it.

      I’m very happy you love it. ♥

  5. So…. yep, love this, wanting to protect someone you care about, sister/friend knocking heads both feeling they can (from love & concern) shield & advise someone they love from a total free-willy ex hubby… and all along, that sweet smart sassy babe May had it in her to not play damsel in distress & looked after herself, (GO GIRL) & in doing so probably moved the relationship of the womb buddies even closer…. Nifty Ms Wicked 😉
    Ohhh, and BTW, not sure if I couldn’t have used the term ‘fuck off’ anymore frequently, but good advice for most females methinks (we are way too polite to arseholes) 🙂

    • Love can be a blinding thing. We can only hope that our patience and brains are stronger than our fierce hearts, when it comes to defending (and caring for) those we who mean the world to us. We can cause so much pain by loving without our brains in it… and sadly, this is done quite a bit.

      And I agree with your comment about the use of “fuck off” and being “too polite to arseholes”… a total waste.

  6. This post has been a source of great joy for me this morning. Not only do I love your short scene but the art you linked to sent me down a delightful and inspirational rabbit hole.

  7. Wow! I love this. Its like you had a video on me and my sister recently. “When did your soul die? Why is your carcass feeding everyones expectations? Can you breathe through that much weakness? Are you human?” Chill bumps.

    • When I started writing the story, the women were just friends. But by the time I realized where things were going, I knew they couldn’t be anything less than sisters. This kind of tension needs a strong bond…

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