Marías at Sampaguitas
Flash Fiction by Sara Siddiqui Chansarkar
Add one tablespoon of baking soda and one tablespoon of dish soap to one gallon of water, and spray it on your knockout rose foliage. This natural remedy keeps pests and diseases away. While your toddler naps inside, you sit in the porch inhaling the scent of your knockouts and watching bees suck at the flowers’ yellow cores. You remember your baby’s little lips around your breast, the tug of his gums on your nipple, the bites when he sprouted teeth.
After your baby was born and you lifted your shirt to nurse him, your husband asked, Why can’t you feed the boy with a bottle? You replied, Mother’s milk is the best natural food for an infant. He flounced out, looking hurt or betrayed—an expression you couldn’t quite read—and slept in the guest room. Need a good night’s rest after a hard day’s work, he said. With the baby in the crib, your bed became an island where you were stranded.
Now, your toddler sleeps through the night but your bed is still cold. You sleep clutching pillows you arrange along the length of the bed, a shawl around your feet.
Rose is an aphrodisiac, your sister mentions as a by-the-way on the phone when you speak about your blossoms. You wash some roses, boil one cup of petals and one cup of sugar in three cups of water. Cook for a minute, then, squeeze a lemon into the mixture. You simmer until water evaporates and the jam is of a spreadable consistency. Your house smells like you have a garden tucked inside the pantry.
When it’s time for your husband to return from work, you pin a rosebud to your hair and chew some petals. He points a finger to his teeth suggesting something is stuck between yours.
Sara Siddiqui Chansarkar (she/her) is an Indian American writer. She was born in a middle-class family in India and is indebted to her parents for educating her beyond their means. She is a Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee; her work has been published in Fictive Dream, PidgeonHoles, MoonPark Review, and other journals. Her website is saraspunyfingers.com. She can be reached on twitter @PunyFingers.