FLASH NON-FICTION CONTEST WINNER, selected by Mike Doughty
My baby takes things. Although she can only just sit up on her own, she knows how to operate her arms and maneuver her fingers into secret places. She finds improbable things on the floor, sometimes things for which we’ve been looking for years. She can snake her way into pockets, tease out coins and keys, used tissues and breath mints. As long as it is small enough to block a windpipe, she can find it. We watch her closely, but never catch her in the act.
Recently, I have started to realize that she is taking other things as well— more complicated things, things more difficult to reclaim. She has stolen my parents, for example. Now when they visit, their smiles are for her and hardly a word is issued in my direction. She has also embezzled the night. Where I once I did things like sleeping and reading and making love, there is now nothing but a haze of feeding and crying and comforting; morning always seems to arrive before the actual night has had a chance to start.
And now, I suspect that in her insatiable hunger, my baby has swallowed my name. I wonder if, some day, it will emerge from one of her orifices, whole and complete, ready for me to dust off and use again, or if she will simply internalize it, absorb it, and, eventually, devour me whole.
Ingrid Jędrzejewski studied creative writing and English literature at the University of Evansville before going on to study physics at the University of Cambridge. She has soft spots for go, cryptic crosswords, and the python programming language, but these days spends most of her time trying to keep up with a delightfully energetic toddler. Once in a very great while, she adds a tiny something to www.ingridj.com and tweets at @LunchOnTuesday.