photo by Matt Walker
The girl who loved him was dating the boy who loved him, which made both of them happier, even though he was neither of them.
He was in the clear tube, in sections, drifting apart from himself. This made confusion for him, as he was used to a certain consistency of self-cohesion. He was aware also that she and the boy were holding hands, that the touching was inscribing a love for him within the enactment of romantic love.
The proximity of love and loved, loves and lovers inscribes and invokes, multiplies the concept of love through the order of relations that he, she, and the boy inhabit. His arm is to the tube's side and his thoughts are to fingers. His fingers are separating and his nails are floating free from their beds.
The portuguese man-of-war is actually four different symbiotic organisms. Together they are one jellyfish. The boy who loved him is actually, as is the girl, until he dissipates entirely.
Ben Segal is the author of 78 Stories (No Record Press). His chapbooks 'Science Fiction Pornography' and 'Weather Days' were published by Publishing Genius and ML Press, and his short fiction has appeared in various publications including Gigantic, The Collagist, Eyeshot, and elimae. He is also the co-editor of The Official Catalog of the Library of Potential Literature.
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