fiction Persist

Aim for a Sigh

A mother's determination, and a champagne cork. These two central images are at the heart of Damhnait Monoghan's flash fiction.

by Damhnait Monaghan

Some days it feels like no one else cooks, clears up, cleans up, picks up, puts
away, sorts out, mends, solves, fixes, gives a fuck. It’s not that difficult to load
the damn dishwasher. You didn’t have a dishwasher growing up, you were the
dishwasher. You washed while your brother studied because he was the star
on which your single mother pinned her future.

But stars can fall down black holes and when your brother overdosed, your
mother’s dreams died with him.

You won’t be like her. Your teens will chase their own dreams, not be dragged
under by yours. But you advise, cajole, bribe, reward. You flash warning signs
and beam bright lights to dim the lure of the dark.

You do it for them. You don’t know about social niceties like napkins and side
plates but you know the importance of please, thank you very much. And what
you don’t know, you Google. When a neighbour suggested champagne to
celebrate your daughter’s results, you studied how to open the bottle,
whispering to yourself for days:

Twist the bottle, not the cork.
Aim for a sigh, not a pop.

You wrapped a white tea towel over that Cava label. You tilted the glasses,
remembering to turn the bottle at the end of each pour. You fooled them all.
It’s hard on your own. But you do it for them.

And when you feel you could scream or cry
You’ll aim for a sigh.


Damhnait Monaghan | @Downith

Damhnait Monaghan is a Canadian who now lives in the UK.  Her fiction and creative non-fiction have featured in a variety of anthologies including: Flash Nonfiction Funny (Woodhall Press), Flash I Love You (Paper Swans), EllipsisZine One, and Ripening: the National Flash Fiction Day Anthology (2018). She is published most recently in Mslexia , Jellyfish ReviewReflex Fiction, and Inside the Bell JarShe reads for the literary journal FlashBack Fiction.

2 comments on “Aim for a Sigh

  1. Lovely, Damhnait. Just perfect.

  2. He could hear me sigh in unison. Watched my pupils expand as memories of self taught correctness eeked from section four fifth shelf up. ‘Etiquiette for young ladies.’

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