Pia Ghosh Roy

Flash Fiction Month | ‘Things That Stick Like Glue’ by Pia Ghosh Roy

She doesn’t like baby much. Covers him with a blanket when her friends come to play, like a magician vanishing a rabbit. She’d been so excited – I’m going to be a Big Sister! – what happened? Sometimes I catch her watching him like he’s one of those educational toys that we thought she should have, not the one she really wanted. Yesterday I found him crying his tiny lungs out smothered in Sudocrem you know that sticky white nappy cream every inch ghost-white. Even the inside of his ears. It stuck like glue, took ages getting off.

I don’t understand. I didn’t understand. Then I found a piece of paper. She’d drawn a unicorn and a boy. She’d written a story next to the drawing. In her giddy handwriting was her world scribbled in a sentence. It was a little story with a happy ending.

Abrakadabra! Now your white laik evryone else the unicorn sed to Rehaan.

I remembered her asking me how to spell white. I read it, and read it again. White like everyone else. I took her hand and walked us to a mirror. “Look, not everyone. Look at us,” I said.

“No, Ma,” she rolled her eyes explaining patiently as if to a child, “now he’s like everyone in the stories and the movies. The main people. Not like us.”