Flash Fiction: Think of Icebergs, by Tania Hershman
The first in our new series of ultra-short stories
‘It’s hot,’ you said.
‘Think of icebergs,’ I said.
‘Melting,’ you said. ‘All melting. What happens?’
‘When we run out of ice?’
I put my arm around you, felt your bony shoulders.
‘Don’t worry,’ I said. ‘People are clever. Very clever. There’ll always be freezers. And iced coffee.’
We spent the sweltering summer wearing very little and standing very still in the dark corners of your dust-filled flat. I traced the sweat sliding down your thin arms, you wiped my forehead with a towel as if I were your poor, dying Victorian husband.
When things got unbearable, our refuge was the lobby of the Grand. We sat, our long bare legs curled up beneath us, sipping iced coffees and bathing in the freezing air. We watched businessmen in heavy suits flock together and swoop into the dining room, and ladies with small dogs, high hairdos and large luggage being escorted to the lifts.
‘Heaven,’ you said, slurping your iced-coffee-flavoured foam. ‘Paradise.’
But when we revolved out of the doors, it was worse than ever. A sizzling frying pan to the face.
‘Hell,’ you said. ‘We’re taking the Fire Line straight to the Inferno.’
You tipped your head back and looked up at the blue-perfect, dazzling sky.
‘I think … it might rain,’ you said.
‘That’s what I’ve heard,’ I said. Both of us, standing on the melting pavement, heads tipped back, pools of salty sweat running down into our aching, dry eyes.
Tania Hershman’s flash fiction collection My Mother Was an Upright Piano is published by Tangent Books.