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"Vacuum" by B F Jones

Content Warning: Suicide/Death

13th of October 1989 was the day mum vacuumed the Lego. I remember the date, because it was the day after Kyle’s 6th birthday.

I remember his face, distorted by distress, his cheeks drenched with tears as he saw the long-coveted little pieces disappearing up the black nozzle.

I remember her face, crumpled with fury while she went through the room, yelling about the mess.

We didn’t realise then that she was having a breakdown. We were used to her bouts of excessive reactions, her abuse, her constant taunting.

By the time we’d put two and two together, she was already cold, leaving us as helpless as she’d felt.

Life went on for us.

“She should have left a note,” said Kyle, a few years later, out of the blue.

“To say what?”

“I don’t know. To explain, to apologise.”

We grew up, moved out, moved on. Got partners and children. Lanky boys looking like we did, bar the pudding bowl hairstyles, bar the withdrawn looks of children told one time too many that they’re nothing but a burden.

We’re close, we always have been. We’re surprisingly happy. We even manage to talk about it sometimes, generally after a few drinks. I joke that Kyle has the perfect excuse never to vacuum and he laughs.

We find him dead in his car on 4th of April 2018. I remember the date, because, well, why wouldn’t I?

He’s locked in his car, slumped over the wheel, a pen and blank sheet of paper by his side.

B F Jones is French and lives in the UK with her husband, 3 kids and 3 cats. She is an editor at Punk Noir magazine and the author of two poetry collections,  Five Years and The Edge of Nowhere, and one collection of interlinked flash stories, Something happened at 2 am. Her next flash collection, Nobody thought to look under the floorboards, will be out in 2024. 


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