“Open or Safe” by Laura Grace
When she decided to go back, it opened again. The stitches popped in response to that final thought, that, I miss her more, moment.
She went to the hospital the next day. She needed to be closed before she could make that phone call and she wanted to be sewn up before she began to pack herself back in.
The doctor fingered the would-be scar. “This is a strange happening,” he murmured into her back. She felt his air against the hollow but ignored it. She tried to think of the daffodils she would buy later. She tried to think of painting her insides new. She thought the red should go.
“I have to open it to close you.” She heard the click of ceramic and stone and saw his hands in the mirror across the office. He had left them behind while he went to fill in some paperwork and they were sterilizing her tools with a great and slow care.
He pulled her apart. He slid one hand and then another inside of her. “You will need to get used to this,” he muttered into her dark. He pulled at some hanging strings and she found herself in tears. “Enough of that,” he said with a yank and she stopped.
“I do not want to be opened to you.”
“I am a professional, young lady. I am searching for medical purposes.” He paused as he fingered the keys that ran down her ribs. “What was she after when she went in, I wonder.”
She felt a great pressure, a need to exhale, a desire to expel. Then with a “hrmph” and a clamor, he was out and sewing.
She sighed. She liked being closed.
“I am using memories this time,” he said as the needles clicked through her. “They are sometimes stronger than string. They will dissolve if you forget them.” He turned her around. “If you forget too soon, you split open like a sack of sawdust. I cannot sew you up if you insist on being open. You must decide.
“Would you rather be open or safe?”
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Laura Grace Artist Statement:
Laura Grace is a California native who longs to flee the ever–sunshiny Golden State for more
tumultuous climes. She holds an MFA in Writing from the California Institute of the Arts and she
is currently finishing her first novel, Alabama Crossing, which explores the interplay between faith
and sexuality in the Deep South. Her work has recently been featured in Gone Lawn and The Rain,
Party, & Disaster Society. When she isn’t teaching small humans how to tell stories, Laura spends
her time searching for the consummate driving playlist and mourns the death of the mix tape.