K. Teryl Geenty
Flash Fiction Winner

I n a stranger's kitchen, Sally peeled sweat sticky jeans off her legs. She relaxed, glimpsing the moment, inhaling mingled odors. The fragrance of jasmine rice sweetly spiked the redolent, crackling skin of roasting ducks. Fiery apples gleamed against a porcelain tray. Pride overtook her. A sharp fist striking a distant door jolted her from her reverie. She flipped her sweater over her head, buttoned her chef coat over her undershirt and yanked on checked pants. From the oven door, her distorted reflection gaped. A sloppy braid pulled her hair off her eyes. Softly curving breasts were indiscernible under a stiff jacket. Chef pants, made for men, hung off her hips. Hot air hit a softball sized space left at the small of her back. Assembling canapes, she looked clean, but no better. At the carving table, tiny, unappreciated bouquets of flowers studded the layout of edibles. Sally watched guests serve themselves, blind to all but appetite. No one spoke to her as she lay slices of golden duck on their plates. They approached her with their eyes cast to their dishes, lifting them as their backs turned. She watched the eyes of men at one end of the room look through her to a group of women standing near her landscape of pastries. She studied their pearl chokers, eyeing dresses nipped in at the waist, envying rich fabrics that clung delicately to bust lines and absently pulled at the waistband of shapeless polyester pants that scratched her thighs.

First published: May 10, 1999