Phobia by Elizabeth Brown

May 19, 2014 Comments Off on Phobia by Elizabeth Brown

The painted door had changed him.  It was always green, for the three years we’d lived there, it was green. But then one day it was red.  He couldn’t move beyond it. He’d struggled, even wanted to die.  I never understood.

Now, alone, weary, I imagine how colors might dig into the pocket of a fragile mind, find a space and gnaw. Sometimes, it’s white, sterility — the way it swallows me.

It was after he moved overseas. He wanted to be far, I think from me, from the door, from any reminders. Even in a small one room flat, he found space. He found a roommate, Reggie, an artist like him.  He found his rhythm, ways to function.

I moved, too, rented a two bedroom apartment, just in case he wanted to return. I hope you will visit me, Cyrus said.  Of course, I assured him, wondering how I could ever manage a plane ticket to London on a part-time salary.

The last time I heard his voice, he told me his cat, Delphi, had cholera. “Isn’t that eradicated?”  I asked. He told me he liked the word, eradicated, that he might use it in his next poem, that he was writing poems, and that he had close to three-hundred, enough for his chapbook titled The Red Door. I laughed. He didn’t.

It had been the landlord’s decision, not mine. We’d returned from the shore. Cyrus was ten-years old. The air at home was leaden.  He’d cringed, writhed, stepped back and forth, clenching and unclenching his fists. “Why?” he’d questioned. “Why did they do that?” It took hours to get him inside. His eyes were wide, deep with dolor; the shift of the moment turned the ground beneath us fallow.

© 2013 Elizabeth Brown

Elizabeth Brown is a native of Connecticut. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Empty Sink Publishing (“Fugue” was Editor’s Choice), TreeHouse, Contraposition, Sleet Magazine, Eunoia Review and others. She is currently working on a collection of short stories and a dystopian novel (not exactly in that order). She can be found blogging updates on fiction and related at and

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