By Saurabh Sinha
On Call Room (A Short Short Story)
ONCE there was a woman hair like lavender petals like footprints stepping off her head like Arabic when it’s written all free-flowing lacking right angles and it was reminiscent of this conversation a neurosurgical chief resident would have with me on the day after this woman got a big ol’ tumor taken out of her brain and in the conversation the chief resident with his surgical cap tied in knots around the back of his head would say something like “anatomy is way more complex in three dimensions take the internal carotid for example it makes these loops and turns through space and time and it’s nothing like the lines we drew out in medical school” and now I begin to think it’s like Arabic in its cursive recursive trajectory and what of the brain itself?
GIVE ME A THUMBS UP!
GIVE ME A THUMBS UP WITH THIS HAND!
RIGHT HERE, WHERE I’M TOUCHING! GIVE ME A THUMBS UP!
I NEED TO KNOW YOU CAN UNDERSTAND ME!
I NEED TO KNOW YOU HEAR ME!
I can’t fucking speak Arabic, how the hell is this supposed to work?
“Masha’Allah,” her sisters say in unison. Having translated the neurosurgeon’s commands to get a left-handed result, they find fruitfulness in seeming futility. Yet their eyes still say my my, in what just world does our sister have tubes coming out of her head?
Hours later, her hair, shaved at the incision site,
sits pregnant like seeds
of Lavandula angustifolia, the common lavender.