Small Fiction: Grounded

Black and white historical photograph of a 19th century chaise lounge for Flash Fiction: Grounded by Malin James

19th c. chaise lounge

She sits on the Victorian comfort of a well-intentioned couch. It had once been roly-poly but not it’s only  flat – like a child’s drawing of the thing it’s supposed to be.

She sits there in this aspirationally comfortable, not-soft thing while her own softness, both physical and emotional, oozes and puddles around her like syrup on a plate.

Her therapist is going over grounding techniques. One must be grounded…ground yourself…. Dr. Salt’s techniques are reasonable, but the idea of grounding strike’s her as curious and somewhat sinister. Beneath its mundanity, she imagines a form of arcane wisdom to do with digging the perfect grave or pinning butterflies for display…. Both are interesting subjects – far more interesting than Dr. Salt of the old-fashioned office and deceptive couch.

How does the couch feel, Dr. Salt drones.

Dr. Salt, she thinks, sounds like white noise. White noise is soothing, at least….

Is it cool? Hard? Smooth?

Dr. Salt, she thinks, is as helpful a marble in a pond.

Tell me, how does the couch feel? 

“Dead”, she replies with her deadpan face. Cool. Smooth. Hard. More like the couch than the couch could ever be.

“It’s dead,” she says, again. “It can’t feel anything. Given the apparent age of it, I’d say it hasn’t for quite some time. Felt anything, that is.”

Dr. Salt is quiet.

She smiles and pulls a thread loose. Therapy is going well.

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