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  • Julius Olofsson

Parabol

Julius Olofsson


This was back when we let the taps run as we brushed our teeth.

I woke up a bit clammy in the middle of the night and stepped out on the balcony,

unsure if I’d ever been up this late.

Standing there, I saw how the satellite dishes—hundreds of them—aligned,

generating a whizz, a buzz, a mechanical melancholy. It was utterly unnatural, and all I could

do was stand there, dumbfounded, thinking this was an adult thing that just is, that it shall

happen and that there was nothing to do.

A bit jolting, my parents floated past me, levitating up towards the sky, where they

grew smaller, shrinking into a memory.

It wasn’t only them, but others’ parents too, on all balconies—all those dishes aligned,

robbing us of our caretakers.

I “adulted” and went to bed, hoping that all would soon be re-adjusted so that I could

watch my morning cartoons again.

Mom and Dad weren’t there the next day, so I fixed myself breakfast, grabbed a stool,

reached for Dad’s ties, and put one on.

I knew what Dad had worked with and in which office building, so I went there and

worked and did it fairly well. My friend Theo was my boss, just as his dad had been my dad’s

boss. He was an inch taller than me.

On my way home, I picked up some pork chops, made a mushroom sauce, and ate it

while reading the papers.

I fell asleep just as the news came on.

Years later, I got home from work and found an infant in a crib next to my bed.

I cared for it.

It grew up, and on its first day of school, I had gotten it a brand-new backpack.

Eons later, I woke hearing a whizz, a buzz, a mechanical melancholy, something

natural, and I began floating out onto the balcony, past the infant who wasn’t an infant

anymore.

Up, I floated towards the sky.

Theo was there, too.

I waved, I think.


 

Born in Sweden, Julius writes anything from flash fiction and books to games and screenplays. He’s been both longlisted and shortlisted and received a Pushcart nomination. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Flash Fiction Magazine, Roi Fainéant Press, Isele Magazine, Lavender Bones Magazine, The Airgonaut, Sage Cigarettes, The Heimat Review, Hidden Peak Press, and elsewhere. His debut chapbook Moebler (Anxiety Press, 2023), came out in May. He’s found on Twitter as @PaperBlurt and at www.juliusolofsson.com

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