About Us

Contact Us


ordinary lives

a dying anger

Isaac stood on the front porch, shifting his weight from foot to foot, and stared at the setting sun, the streaks of pink and orange that looked like fingers reaching across the sky. He pushed the rusting doorbell.

The door swung open. His once-lover, Carla, glared daggers into his conscience.

“What the fuck do you want?”

“Carla,” he said awkwardly, eyes fixed on her face. She’d grown older in the months since he’d seen her, in the lines creased on her forehead, the droop of her dark lips, the obligatory anger in her eyes gone tired. “Carla, we need to talk.”

“Ain’t you said enough already?” she snapped back. She pursed her lips, mimicking him. “Carla, baby, I’m sorry, baby, I never meant alla this to happen, baby.”

She might’ve gotten older but Carla was still the meanest bitch in town. She had a pair of lungs on her that’d make your balls shrink. Anger was her strength, she always said. Wasn’t anybody gonna knock you to the ground so long as you were standing strong.

Isaac used to say that too. Until he’d found the Lord.

“I don’t blame you for being mad at me, Carla,” he said. “I messed up big, sleeping with that skank, Shenequa. Ever since I got AIDS I’ve been looking for someone to blame — Shenequa, you, hell, anybody but myself. But I’m a new man now. I found the Lord, and He’s teaching me the path I gotta take.”

“Well, big-fuck-ing-deal for you.” She spat the words out. “I got news for you — your sorry-ass apology don’t mean shit to me. You got some nerve showing your ugly face round here after cheating on me with some ho and giving me alla her diseases. I don’t got a job any more, I can’t afford to see a real doctor, and I still gotta look at shitfuckers like you.”

“Carla, please. I know I’ve made some mistakes, but I’ve come to make amends.”

“There ain’t no amending what you gone and done to me.” She crossed her arms over her chest, eyes glittering brightly.

“The Lord will look out for you, Carla,” Isaac replied. “You just gotta have faith.”

“The Lord’s not looking out for jackshit. You go tell your Lord something — He takes back this goddamned disease and I’ll think about forgiving you. Till then, I don’t want to see your shit-ugly ass again.”


“I mean it — get the fuck outta here!”

“All right.” Isaac took a step back. “I hope someday you can forgive me…”

She slammed the door on him in mid-sentence.

Isaac stood there, listening to the lock click shut. Not so surprising that Carla was still mad. Women like her didn’t have much practice letting go of their anger. It was all they ever had, all they knew to use. He placed a package on the doorstep and walked back down the driveway.

As he reached the sidewalk, he heard the door open behind him. He turned to see Carla’s silhouette stoop to pick up the package. He watched her open the envelope and flip through the money he’d borrowed to afford her some medicine.

The shadow stayed still for a moment, then started shaking hysterically. He heard her sobbing, eerie high-pitched cries.

It was the sound of her anger dying.

Vanitha Sankaran is presently writing a collection of vignettes, to be titled Ordinary Lives. Her recent work can be found online at Prose Ax, The Independent Mind, Orchard Press Mysteries, and The Paumanok Review. Her current print work will appear in upcoming issues of Mindprints, The Guild, and FUTURES. She is also an editor at the new e-zine flashquake.