(This snippet originally appeared in Siobhan Muir’s Thursday Threads flash fiction event.)


The yellowish gray sky peeks through overcast trees

lean trunks curved upward toward the missing sun

The rain streams in concentrated lines, an on-again, off-again water pathway in the air

I crack open the window to let the breeze in

Strong, gusty cold that catches at my throat



Whirr swish pit pat ploot.

So far away from the sea, and yet I swear I can taste salt

I huddle in my comforter, wrapping my arms around the encased down feathers

Today, I should’ve gone with Natalie to fill out paperwork for our homestudy

Should’ve answered the social worker’s interminable questions

Do we have enough money?

How will we feel about raising a child not our own?

Why a joint adoption?

Is Natalie my lover?

Why do we sleep in separate beds?

The social worker will inspect and interrogate, and she may judge us acceptable.

Most likely not.

It doesn’t take a social worker to find my two suicide attempts, hospitalization, the long months when Dr. Mitchell forbade me from working

Natalie reassures me that was years ago and getting therapy shows I’ve taken charge of my life

I picture the social worker staring at me, silently accusing

Prospective adoptive parents? You sure this is the one?

She’ll phrase denial in bureaucrat-speak:

We cannot entrust Kat with someone else’s child.

How can I prove myself worthy?

I close my eyes and listen to the rain trying to wash away the sins I can never remove.