Mia Rodriguez: I like to focus on the bizarre, awkward and essentially dreary situations that come with having feelings


Microfiction by Mia Rodriguez

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"The following excerpts were written in the months that followed a break-up. I was inspired by Dan Rhodes’ brilliant short story collection Anthropology and Jessie Cave’s self-deprecating and hilarious illustrations. Love, sex and dating are a messy bunch. The messiest. I like to focus on the bizarre, awkward and essentially dreary situations that come with having feelings. With these shorts, I wanted to capture the frustration we might find ourselves feeling at different stages of life and relationships."
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Bitter

My ex-boyfriend and his new partner often walk down my road, laughing and holding hands. Sometimes he calls her by my old nickname - Bunny - or loudly tells her one of my best jokes. I know he’s not bitter, as he’s always smiling. My friend suggested I call the police, report him for stalking, but I have to admit I like seeing them. It’s like getting a glimpse of some alternative future or something. Last week they pushed their twins in their pram, announcing the names to my neighbours - the ones we decided on together, back then.


People Pleaser

Helen is too polite to ghost, a word which here refers to the instant, unsubtle abandon of conversation with another person. It’s quite simple really. When each romantic interest lost their spark, she didn’t want to offend by abandoning ship. It’s something worth marvelling, don’t you think? The emotional complexities of brief relationships. How loyal one can become to a stranger. And so, as she sends her children off to school and kisses their father, she sets about drafting good morning messages to the men she has never had the heart to let go.


Waves

His therapist suggested swimming might help. And despite his protestations that the chlorine would trigger his eczema, he signs up to the local pools. He tells himself he can only think about her once every two lengths.
‘The brain is a muscle too, you just need to use it, train it to do things differently’. That's what his therapist said. Or her. He can’t remember. His mind wanders to his neighbour’s haircut, her hair on the bathmat, the soft fuzz at the back of her neck. He decides to try diving instead. Falling through the air could be the solution. No time for a breath, no time for distraction. But as he climbs the ladder, he rests his forehead on the metal bars and is reminded of her icy feet in their bed.


© Mia Rodriguez. Exclusively printed by Aurelia Magazine.