1988 by Heather Bourbeau
Editor Matty Byloos, Fiction, November 16th, 2015
"...when you grow without sun for long enough..."
His first assignment with the Stasi felt exciting, if unglamorous. Eight years later, after he informed on his schoolteacher brother, his pains began. The sick pit in his stomach moved to a corner of his body where he no longer felt it calling. It was, he reasoned, survival. Funny how the words became synonymous—betrayal and survival—after his wife left him for his cousin in the West. But when you grow without sun for long enough, you do not feel your stunting, do not see your pallor until you catch your reflection and see fixed, sagging eyes staring back.
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If you enjoyed “1988” then you might also like reading “2 Flash Selections” by Edward Mullany, here.
Cover image by IGOR, whose work can be viewed here.
Heather Bourbeau wrote the poetry collection Daily Palm Castings, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and was a Tupelo 30/30 poet. Her journalism has appeared in The Economist, The Financial Times and Foreign Policy. She appreciates brevity.