Everything Was Quicksand — Rebecca Fishow
The tables were quicksand. The chairs quicksand. The coffee and the coffee pot were quicksand. The car was quicksand. The cat melted into the cat, then the floor. The floor melted into the earth, which was quicksand. The buildings were quicksand, though they took decades to melt into themselves. The engagement ring my husband got from his mother and gave to me was quicksand. It melted off my finger like the smell of honeysuckle in a rainstorm.
My husband watched like, I wish I knew how to save her, how to slow her squirming, calm her restless mind. How to bottle her up. But the bottles were all quicksand so he indulged in what some might call his perverse tendency to watch and do nothing. He was not sure what exactly I was sinking into other than myself. He was not sure where my self began and ended.
Forever is not so frightening on a grand scale, but small forevers are another story. The forever between two grains of sand. The tiny forever between zero and one. The Russian dolls of the collection. Maybe as I sank he watched and did nothing because he was stuck in the space between his one thought and another. Maybe he knew I would manage on my own.
I stilled my limbs the way a baby figures out its balance. I took a steady breath and another. I slowly rose. What would he have done if I had needed his help in this moment of my own salvation? He had a stick. He had his hand and his doubts. But his doubts were quicksand. And his hand? And the stick.
Rebecca Fishow’s work has appeared in Tin House Online, Joyland, The Believer Logger, Room Magazine, Smokelong Quarterly, MonkeyBicycle, Jellyfish Review and other publications. She holds an MFA from Syracuse University and teaches creative writing at Barbara Ingram School for the Arts in Maryland.