She believes her body is not her own anymore. She woke up and her skin felt softer than she remembered it being the night before. She shook away the feeling, showered, didn’t think about if for the rest of the day. But, the next day, she could feel her heart beat in her chest and each beat was just a micro-second longer than they used to be: a pa-pumm instead of pa-pum.

Her doctor said: have you been feeling stressed lately? Her doctor said: this sounds like anxiety. Her doctor prescribed her pills the color of cotton candy: soft and pink and she wondered if they’d taste sweet but she didn’t try them. She told her doctor: no, something is really wrong here. And her doctor said: that’s what everyone thinks.

Her lover used to run fingers across her skin, taste her with his tongue. He once said, ‘you look the prettiest when you seem far away,” and she hadn’t known exactly what he meant but she liked the sound of it. She’d try to escape from her skin when she was out in public, let her body go on its own without her, see if people would look her way when she did it. But she never quite got it right, people still glanced through her.

She visits her mother, takes the long drive to the home and walks past the nurses with their voices filled with sympathy that dulls their voices like a too large wad of gum. She enters the room and her mother looks confused. I don’t know you.

At home, she takes a bath. She watches the water turn her skin soft pink with the heat. Skin next to godliness. It doesn’t feel like hers anymore.

***

Chloe N. Clark’s work appears in Apex, Booth, Glass, Little Fiction, Uncanny, and more. Her chapbook The Science of Unvanishing Objects is out from Finishing Line Press and her debut full length collection, Your Strange Fortune, will be out Summer 2019. Find her on Twitter: @PintsNCupcakes.

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