General Fiction posted November 16, 2016

This work has reached the exceptional level
A past pain I can't overcome.

Carrot Cake

by Maria Jose Garcia

'So why don't you start from the beginning?' Dr Altman says looking at me. No, not at me. Through me.

He has piercing blue eyes and a beautiful smile. If he wasn't my shrink, I'd probably fall for him.

'What beginning? The day I was born?'

'Well ... maybe not so far back,' he says and I notice he's already bored.

This is my life, my drama. For him, however, it's just part of the job. I'm just another nutcase that will pay him a hundred bucks for an hour of his time.

'Tell me about the day your dad left home.'

'He didn't leave. You make it sound as if he had abandoned me. He went to Rechistan to fight for his country. It's not his fault he didn't come back.'

'Don't overreact, Sue. Remember what we said about learning to control your temper.'

I stare at my feet and clench my fists. I also grind my teeth to stop myself from answering back.

Dr Altman looks out of the window at the manicured gardens and then back at me.

'How old were you when your mum died?'

'Eleven. Dad had been killed the year before.'

'So that's when you were taken to live with your aunt and uncle.'


'Tell me about them.'

'Do I have to?'

'I think so.'

I start slowly. My hands become sweaty and my pulse accelerates. It's like this every time I speak about my uncle. I tell Dr Altman everything. How he abused me, how he threatened me... I know it's happened to lots of other girls, but that doesn't make the pain any less severe.

When I finish, I'm crying.

'I think we should stop. I'll see you again on Wednesday, okay?'

I try to smile, but I fail.

I leave the building and walk towards the park. I think sitting in the open air for a while will do me good.

Life is so unfair. I'm only twenty-three and already broken. My uncle however will only have to spend five years in prison and will be a free man.

Talking to Dr Altman doesn't help much. He'll never be able to understand what it was like for me. Maybe I should confront Uncle George.

All of a sudden, my mind is made up. Tomorrow is visiting day. I'll go and see him. I'll tell him everything I've bottled up for years on end.

Back at the apartment, I decide to make a carrot cake. Just a tiny one to take to the prison. It's minimum security, so I'll be allowed to give it to him.

I try to sleep, but after an hour or so, I give up. I go to the kitchen and look at my cake. It looks so spongy, so appealing...

I boil the kettle and make myself some ginger tea. Then I make my bed and read for a while.

When the sun rises, I shower and get dressed. I choose my clothes carefully. I don't want to look provocative in the least. In the end, I put on a pair of jeans and a big sweater that used to belong to my ex-boyfriend.

I take the bus to go to the prison. It's almost empty so early in the morning. An old lady is sitting behind the driver, holding her basket as if it contained treasure. For some reason, I think of Rosa Parks.

After an hour of gazing out of the window at a barren landscape, I arrive at my destination.

The prison building is grey and uninviting, but the gardens are well-kept. I've been told the inmates look after them. There's no barbed wire, the perimeter is marked by a normal concrete wall. I find that offensive. My uncle should be separated from the world by something cutting, like glass.

I realize I'm shivering, even though it's not cold.

'I'm here to see George Wallace,' I say to the guard.

'You'll have to wait a bit. He's finishing his breakfast.'

I find it incongruous. He eats breakfast. He leads a normal life. As if he had never hurt anybody...

I wait in a room reserved for visitors. After a while, the door opens and the guard walks in followed by my uncle.

'Hello, Sue. You've finally come to visit your old man. Does that mean I'm forgiven?'

We speak for half an hour and when it's time to go, I give him the cake. I'm glad the cyanide I added made it so spongy.


Sudden Flash Fiction contest entry

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© Copyright 2019. Maria Jose Garcia All rights reserved.
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