by Tina Hunter
Day one of her long-awaited, much-planned vacation, Brendi is shocked silly plugging in a curling iron. Her fingers tingle; her tongue goes numb. She’s left dazed.
The second day, Brendi joins tourists at a Mayan temple. She hits her head exiting the shuttle, and vomits during the detailed description of ancient hearts ripped from living bodies. She declines tequila on the return trip.
Day three she develops a painful, inexplicable swelling on her calf. A piece of fruit falling from a tropical tree bounces hard onto her head as she limps through the rainforest.
Bloody is the fourth day. Poolside, Brendi picks the scab from a minor blemish until blood trickles down her sunburned right cheek. Leaving dinner, she slips on wet marble into a trellis awash in pink blossoms. Her left cheek bleeds.
Day five, admiring a pair of peaceful swans, Brendi is rushed and bitten by the male. Venturing into the surf later, a wave takes her down, then smashes her against the beach’s single boulder.
Brendi exclaims, “It was perfect.” And, as memory shifts to define reality, Brendi believes it so, despite her bruises and scabs.
Trained in creative writing, Tina Hunter works in higher education administration where she spends her days writing eloquent budget requests, scintillating performance evaluations, and delightful emails. She resides in southern Wisconsin.