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“The Box of Skinny Women,” by Ingrid Jendrzejewski

small box sketch

I have a box of skinny women that I keep under my bed. It is a small box as the women are, indeed, very skinny. I get them out once in a while when I’m not able to sleep. Somehow, leafing through their paper hearts and dusty smiles helps me make sense of living.

Once upon a time, I was a skinny woman too. I slid through days, hardly parting the wind. Nobody could see me when approaching my flat sides. Then, one day, I grew large and unwieldy; gravity began to tug at my heartstrings, making them fray. Once my footsteps started causing sink-holes, time started to snap at my heels. Now, when I sing, people’s teeth shake.

I used to think about evicting the skinny women. I imagined myself dumping the box in a skip without even opening it to say goodbye. I imagined the skinny women in filthy darkness, drowning in chicken bones and coffee grounds. I imagined them clinging together, wondering where they are, their pancake bodies shifting over each other and fluttering.

But then, every time I got close to acting, I would hear their faint voices seeping through the mattress and I would wonder whether the skinny women had a future. In recent years, I have had a stomach for many things, but never for atrocity. Now that I am larger than life, anything might be possible.

About the Author:

Ingrid Jendrzejewski grew up in southern Indiana and studied creative writing and English literature at the University of Evansville before going on to study physics at the University of Cambridge. She has soft spots for go, cryptic crosswords, and the python programming language. Once in a while, she adds a little something to www.ingridj.com.

Special Notes:

This story was a finalist in The Conium Review‘s 2014 Flash Fiction Contest, judged by Ashley Farmer.

This story was selected as The Conium Review‘s nominee for the 2015 Vestal Review Award (VERA). It received Second Place in the VERA.

Image Credit: © carlacdesign / Dollar Photo Club