the use of a couch (flash fiction)

For whatever reason, he couldn’t talk about it.  That is, he couldn’t talk about it very well.  He could try, and he did.

“It’s in my stomach,” he said.

“What?”

“Something, uh.”

“Is it pain?”

“Not really.”

“Nausea?”

“Maybe a little.  But not really.”

“Then what!”

“I don’t know.”

“If you don’t tell me, then I can’t help you.”

“I don’t know what it is.”

“Honey — of course you don’t know what it is.  We go by symptoms.  You tell me what you’re feeling, and maybe we can talk to the doctor and find out what it is.”

“I don’t want to go to the doctor.”

She did not want to raise her voice.  She had been careful, until now, not to.  But now she did.

“Well that’s where you’re going to be if you don’t give me some details about your stomach!”

Then the little boy — age 10 — whose dog had gone missing five days earlier, dove onto the couch, turned his back, and curled into the fetal position.

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