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"Profile Photos" by Sam Szanto

I selected a table as if I were buying it, cleared a lipsticked memento of a previous meeting, held onto my phone. Stared through a window made foggy by rain.

Was a café the right choice? She was often holding wine glasses in her profile photos, in which she pouted unsmilingly, arms around friends and family. I knew those photos as if they weremy tattoos, as if they were my scars. In mine, I was alone.

I smoothed my hair, blonde like hers. The doors cleaved open. Without the glass divide, shelooked like me. Like me, without the scars. I stood up.

Sam Szanto lives in Durham, UK. Her debut short story collection ‘If No One Speaks’ was published by Alien Buddha Press in 2022. Her collaborative poetry pamphlet, ‘Splashing Pink’, was published by Hedgehog Press in July 2023. Over 80 of her stories and poems have been published/ listed in competitions. In 2023, her novel ‘My Daughter’ was longlisted for both the Yeovil Prize and the Louise Walters Page 11 Competition. She won second prize in the Strands International Flash Fiction Competition 18 and wrote one of the winning entries to the Southport Writer’s Circle Competition. In 2022, she won the Mum Life Stories Microfiction Contest and the Shooter Flash Fiction Contest and was placed second in the Writer’s Mastermind Short Story Contest. Her short story collection "Courage" was a finalist in the 2021 St Lawrence Book Awards. As a poet, she has won the 2020 Charroux Prize for Poetry and the First Writers International Poetry Prize, and her poetry has appeared in a number of international literary journals including 'The North'.

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