flash fictionissue 5

The Registrar

Abi Hennig

He tucks a stray curl behind her ear. She leans into him, rests her head on his shoulder as he picks up the pen.

‘You ok if I…?’

She nods, shifts her weight, places elbows on desk, twiddles the ring on her finger.

On the other side of the table, I touch my hair, brush invisible dust from my shoulder, an attempt to fortify my presence in the room. She wriggles on her seat, stares through me, asks,

‘Is Jackson’s open now? Do you think we’ll get a table?’

He pauses, mid pen-stroke. I sit stationary, spectral.

‘Jackson will always find us a table.’

She smiles, rests her head on his shoulder again. I wonder if he’s done, glance at the looped scrawl. He’s not done.

I clear my throat and she looks behind her, startled. When she turns back, her eyes are glass. I fade into the wallpaper.

Finally, he dots the i, swipes a line across each t in the double-barrelled surname and gently strokes her cheek. They leave without a thank-you, off to lunch at Jackson’s, her skirt swinging behind her. I watch them go. They’ll look back on this moment later, remember the polished oak of the desk, the Burne-Jones hung above my head. My face will be as mist.  My name will dissolve on their tongues.

I see the next couple stand expectantly, hand in hand, hovering by the door. I risk a glance at my phone, nestled in the bottom drawer. The screen is blank but for the time. Twelve colon four five. No message. I click his name, read my one word repeated over and again.

Lunch?

I close the drawer, ring the bell, and feel my edges blur.


Abi lives with her family in Brighton by the sea. She spends her time teaching, writing mini-stories and losing gracefully at complicated board games. Her writing has appeared in various places, recently in Ellipsis Zine, Splonk and Free Flash Fiction. She tweets @abihennig.