“There, I Said It” is flash fiction piece that explores a person’s incomprehensible pain and sorrow at the literal hands of those who should protect and comfort.
The story, narrated by Kiva, moves by section (or stanza – it is poetically rendered) from Kiva’s mind/memories to the physical movements and actions of her college roommate, Romy. A shower curtain hangs between their beds. An “innocence shield,” according to Romy.
Still, Kiva sees and hears things: the bodies, the whispers, the “cakey” voices, the “happymist.” Romy, “serial lover,” her cup overfloweth. And what happens in the wake of excess? Inevitable disappointment, maybe boredom, maybe new realizations: “too much give, and not enough get.”
But what of Kiva, the so-called virgin?
What happens when she’s stuck in a box full of noises and body parts (Romy and a new person every night) that remind her of the horror of home?
She internalizes it and we readers are there alongside her, experiencing the pain and agony of betrayal, though betrayal is perhaps the nicest word one could use in describing her pain.
The story is masterfully crafted—turning in on itself, revealing perfectly timed insights made more poignant through reoccurring images and details: the haiku, the color pink, the music.
“There, I Said It,” is a brilliant though painful story of terror— enduring another person’s transgressions—and its aftermath.
Tori Malcangio received a journalism degree from Arizona State University and an MFA from Bennington College. Stories have appeared in Glimmer Train, Mississippi Review, Tampa Review, ZYZZYVA, Passages North, and elsewhere. She won the William Van Dyke Short Story Prize, the American Literary Review Fiction Prize, the Waasmode Short Fiction Prize, and the Cincinnati Review Robert and Adele Schiff Award.