Lesion

Flash Fiction

The clinic made me sign a form of consent before the 3-D Ultrasound. Under her uniform, the nurse’s breast is pressed against the crook of my leg. She braces me for support as she eases the cold apparatus inside.

Flash Fiction by Caitlin Andrews


The clinic made me sign a form of consent before the 3-D Ultrasound. Under her uniform, the nurse’s breast is pressed against the crook of my leg. She braces me for support as she eases the cold apparatus inside.

Beep—beep—beep.

My body is void of that fresh bud of life but here I am, prone on this table. This is a precaution; the doctor needs to be sure there is not a bulbous, unthinking colony of cells inside me. This equipment is invading deeper, is drawing my limbs rigid. I can’t help but notice that the nurse has noticed and I clamp my lips shut. Suddenly, I think of you.

When I was six years old, I saw a man fall through the ice. It was February and the reservoir near my house had frozen over, and three men about your age now were playing football on the precariously thin, cold sheet. (in the memory, one of those men has adopted your likeness. The one with the shit-eating grin.) Then the lake groaned and the ice broke. The man who was you but not-you fell. You were a transgression, a blemish, plunging into the cold, biting, stinging sheet, resembling your words between our sheets, trickling. This calculating machine does not feel like you, and yet the familiar dread rises in my breath. The room is dark and there is water and me and this nurse and we are suspended within and moving slowly.

The arms on the clock announce that it is 10:36. There is no indication of AM or PM, and there are no windows to substantiate any claim that it is either morning or night, even though the coffee stain on my tongue tells me I know better. I could imagine that it is 10:36 yesterday. It could be 10:36 for the rest of my life. But I will be never be able to inhabit a time where there is no you, not anymore. My body clenches against the cold rod. The time will always be after you.

What is a body, beyond the network of tissue and bone and fluid? Why does my body still (activate) when I hear the words you wrapped around the curve of my ear in that dark room, the same words that now leave the nurse’s mouth? Stay still. On the day that I was six years old, the man who plunged into the frozen lake caught himself by the arms at the edge of the spidery lesion of ice. His face was flat with fear and he begged his friends for help, but they refused to venture onto the cracks. Slipping.

The bags that push oxygen through my body catch and the nurse tells me to relax. The machine, an EDAN DUS 60 + 1 Pro, is seeing into my body.

Beep—beep—beep.

This cold mechanism won’t register the damage, just the blood, a cavern. Ghosts on a grey screen. All I can think in this dark room is back to those dark sheets and the dark you and I wish I could grab that past version of myself and herald her, cracking through it all. I don’t reach for your slipping fingers. I think I should let you drown, stuff the sheets into your open mouth. The nurse tells me to be quiet. I wish I could break apart the cold chunks in my throat but then the water would surge in and swallow me whole.


Caitlin Andrews (she/her/hers) is from Baltimore, Maryland. She was listed as a finalist for the 2019 Marianne Russo Award for a Novel-in-Progress and has secured fellowships from the Chesapeake Writers’ Conference. Her work has appeared in Q&A Poetry and AVATAR. Caitlin is also a Fiction Editor at Sinking City Literary Magazine. She is fully-funded at the University of Miami, where she is obtaining an MFA in Creative Writing with a concentration in Fiction. Caitlin is also an illustrator, hiker, and an Irish-history enthusiast. 

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