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Short Story: What You Wish For

Rose’s mother wanted a girl. The magic mirror of the ultrasound showed a delicate little creature throbbing with pale light. It looked dreamily towards the future, but flickered away from the curious gazes seeking the secrets of its body.

The doctor sighed then stopped, frustrated.

“The shy ones are usually girls,” he said and turned off the machine, signaling to the woman with the deranged hair that it was time to give up her place to another hopeful patient.

The young mother returned home with a bottle of wine and immediately started daydreaming about the perfect little jewel hiding in her womb. She leafed through ancient fairy tales and faded fashion magazines while the smooth bottle whispered her secrets about magic and creation. With the wild, spicy wine and the sparkling pictures of celebrities and princesses, there came a vision. A child running across a snow covered landscape. A child with hair pale like winter sunlight, cheeks kissed by frost and lips full and pink like rose petals.

The bottle fell to the ground with a loud stump, the remaining wine slipping away alongside the woman’s remaining consciousness. Her delirium was so different from the usual alcoholic blackout that for a moment she thought she was still a little girl in her grandmother’s house. The memory smelled of cakes and for a moment she was innocent again. Then, as she threw up in the loo, she remembered that she was an adult now.

Rose’s father wanted easy pleasure. The girl was pretty and her lips were sweet, tasting like cheap strawberry lipstick. Her name was lost in the explosion of sounds, her words rolling away on the dance floor like marbles. He sang in a band and high hopes raged in his blood mixed with heroin. His pleasure was easy indeed, but also fast and lonely. What he did not want was a child. He never got to know he had one.

What Rose wanted was the world. The whole, invisible swirl of sounds that lay outside of the womb. What Rose did not want was limitations and predetermination. He was tired of the throbbing dark borders — his mother, the woman who never understood him and wanted him to be something he was not. He wished for air - simple, oxygen rich air which tore into his lungs the moment he welcomed the world with a battle cry. Air which would bring him melodies of love and sorrow on the lonely nights of his adolescence. He would lie on bedclothes that smelled like cheap washing powder he bought from money he’d stolen from his mother’s pocket while she lay in delirium, dreaming about her stolen fairy child and shuddering at the cautious touch of the lanky changeling she got in exchange. But it was all fluid future still. Rose drank in endless possibilities from his mother’s blood and in three times three month he became an amalgam of hopes and disappointments.


Fanni Sütő (1990) writes poetry, short stories and a growing number of novels-in-progress. She publishes in English and Hungarian and finds inspiration in reading, paintings and music. Her heaven would be a library with an endless supply of coffee latte, cupcakes and Dr. Who episodes. She tries to find the magical in the everyday and likes to spy on the secret life of cities and their inhabitants.

Publications include: The Casket of Fictional Delights, Tincture Journal, Enchanted Conversation. Fundead Publications.


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