A Visit, flash fiction by Maryna Imas at Spillwords.com

A Visit

A Visit

written by: Maryna Imas


I regard her uninvited presence over the rim of my glasses. Bees buzz contently over my patch of rounding cabbages. The air is thick honey in midsummer glow, fragrant dust from yellow flowers settling on my clothes. The pale tea in my porcelain cup tastes delicate and light.

“Do you remember the plague?”

“I don’t.”

She perches on the lawn chair across the table, fingers bothering the hem of her dress, eyes demanding.

“Do you remember the serpentine lines of people queuing on the street?”

“I don’t.”

“The buildings were grey carcasses against the frigid sky, the whole city a gaping mouth with broken teeth? Do you remember that?”

“I don’t.”

“Surgeons sweating desperation and crying bullets?”

“I don’t.”

“Our friend who always skipped class and spent his money on foreign records and quoted Western songs? We left a record on his grave.”


“Do you remember how you got out, fabricated passports and sooty train stations smelling of cinnamon and sour bodies and death?”


She shifts uncomfortably. “Do you remember how much you struggled here before you bought this cottage and settled down?”

“I don’t.”

I look on wearily, waiting for the interview to end. The fat bees continue buzzing over my cabbages, honey melons lie languidly in the sun; birds swoop down to drink from a bird bath; ripe fruit hangs like a prize over my tiny garden. I bite my tongue to keep from admitting that I’ve buried those vivid images she’s offering to fertilize the vegetable patches, to nourish the ground.

“There is happiness in not remembering,” is all I offer back.

We sip the tea in silence, and the table between us feels impossibly wide.



I have lived through three periods of upheaval in my home city of Kyiv – the Revolution of 2014, which took place right outside of my windows; the COVID pandemic, with its full year of isolation; and, finally, the War. I do not like recounting my direct experiences – they are not unique, and they are not pleasant. However, inhabiting a character who survives a metaphorical plague in a city that never stops haunting you – that is one way of dealing with memories. That has been the inspiration for the flash fiction piece above.

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