con·vex·o-con·cave (kuhn-vek-soh-kon-keyv), adj. 1. having one convex side and one concave side. 2. in optics, designating a lens whose convex face has a greater degree of curvature than its concave face, so that the lens is thickest in the middle.
Writer Rae Pilarski concludes this flash fiction february with her flash fiction piece on con·vex·o-con·cave. Thanks to all our writers and all you readers for participating. Keep posted for more happenings here at the dictionary project.
He remembers his daughter when she was young. She looked like her mother then, so serious. When she came home with her first spider, big as the fist it was clenched in, legs sticking out between pink fingers, she brought it to him like an offering, setting it on the dirty knee of his jeans. As she got older, she spent her small weekly allowance on Mason jars in which to place her growing collection. He built shelves to house them and helped her poke holes in the lids after she opened her finger with a paring knife. He remembers she hadn’t cried, just watched the drops of blood bloom at her feet. He is still amazed at how smoothly the phrase subesophageal ganglion passed through her preadolescent lips. When she was about ten, he told her about ants and magnifying glasses. He had described the way ants smell as they burn under the concentrated spot of sunlight. She had run away from him then, slamming the door to her bedroom behind her hard enough to set the jars along the wall rattling. He wonders now if he should have detected a pattern much earlier.
(Here he thinks about the first boy she brought home at fifteen, who eyed her as if already masturbating to her memory. Should he have known then?)
What he had always found most interesting about his daughter’s spiders was the fact that most were somehow able to spin their webs in their new habitats, unhindered by the smooth curve of the glass. One in particular spent most of its time clinging to the underside of the lid so that he had to turn the jar over in order to catch a glimpse of it. After his daughter left a second time, he had shaken that jar until the spider dropped to the bottom, its long legs curling into itself.
He can only remember his daughter when she was young. He falls into his easy chair. He opens another beer. He turns on the news. He searches for her mother’s face.