“Expired” Fiction by Todd Matson

“What do you want to do?” she asked too many times, and found herself asking again, as if waiting for the final answer on whether the milky way will eventually be sucked into the black hole at the center of it. 

He stirred his coffee, the aroma confessing, “Old, stale, expired!” 

Can one feel jealous of a cupboard?  It was the cupboard, not her eyes, he peered into.  “Where is the artificial sweetener?  Looks like we’re out of artificial sweetener.” 

“Yes, we are,” she sighed with no expression on her face, as he sipped his rancid coffee anyway, grimacing like an infant choking down bitter medicine.   

Bitterness.  She knew it well. And she didn’t drink coffee. 

He looked past her, set his bitter cup half empty on the counter and walked straight away, saying nothing and everything. 

“This is what gravity feels like,” she whispered to no one while watching all her stars succumb to the irresistible pull toward the dark where nothing lives to tell. 

“Is it a horror that laughter and tears, births and deaths, love and lies, intimate secrets and saccharin smiles get swallowed in nothingness?” she asked her reflection in the cup of bitter dregs left behind, “or is it a relief?” 

She waited for her reflection to answer until it drowned in the cup after the sun hid behind clouds, like galaxies in black holes. 

Todd Matson is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.  He has written poetry for The Journal of Pastoral Care and Counseling and has been published in Vital Christianity.  He has also written lyrics for songs recorded by a number of contemporary Christian music artists, including the Gaither Vocal Band.