Mandira Pattnaik | fiction | Tone Deaf

Tone Deaf

Not all of this happened. Like I doubt it was Summer. I doubt it was our last day in school. Like I doubt the warm breeze smelling magnolia. Or was it winter? The clouds frothy, giggly, like the curls I wore. Like her. Yes, I imagined her, wanted to be, styled my looks like I did. Baby. Britney. Spice. And cool. Wasn’t the day like dominoes, for falling over each other. Even hurtling skyscrapers. I doubt if we were high (on love, on hormones, on something else?) Was it too high? Like, Too high, can’t come down, it’s in the air? Doubt you heard it, doubt your friends did, on the way to the beach house, squeezed in the backseat, your brother’s hatchback, a hum, then a whisper only I could hear: was it, I love you? Was it salty, the taste of your lips? Or, was it the popcorn at the theatre, the fries later at Byron’s home, the sourness of the man from Ahmed’s Kitchen, calling me a slut, because four boys and I? I mean I doubt it, but he was right. Who was I? Britney? Taste of poison in paradise? Toxic. Toxic. Toxic. Was I on the edge, you pulling me like I was falling, hand on my back? Doubt you were daring? Dangerous? Because you turned and looked out the window when we were in your room later, where it happened. A look so far, as far as the casuarinas. Like we doubted it happened. Like you were tone deaf. I mean, the music playing, can’t you see I’m calling? Your smell like flavor of blood. Running in veins. Intoxicated. Addicted to it? And was it false that the next morning I received a text. A job or something in Dubai? Or was it a college admission? Like I doubt there’s pain, lyrics still, like the day was yesterday. For it all happens, and then it’s gone, gone like a smoke column, on your sky and mine. For I’m not her, I doubt it.

Beeper Peddle is a writer and healer living on the East Coast. She lives with her partner and their beloved soul puppy. Beeper writes about sorrows, lies, and deep loves. When you read her work, you will dip down into her heart and end up in all manner of body parts. Should you find yourself reflected in these words, it is merely coincidence; however, it does not surprise her you share the same heart. Find her at and @beeperpeddle on Twitter and Instagram

Mandira Pattnaik (she/her) has fiction forthcoming/published in AAWW, The McNeese Review, The Penn Review, Passages North and elsewhere. She writes columns for Trampset and Reckon Review and edits for Vestal Review.  Mandira posts craft micro-essays on her website every fortnight, and leads craft workshops. Erratic on Twitter @MandiraPattnaik , but a big supporter of the online Writing Community.