September 23, 2020 by The Citron Review
by L. Soviero
My neighbor’s got a thing for mannequins. Pass his house any hour of the day and you can find the curtains pulled, a few propped up in the windows. Maybe propped isn’t the right word because he clearly puts thought into the arrangements. There are usually themes. Last night, it was a black-tie event. Some of the mannequins wore sequined gowns. Others, tuxedoes with cummerbunds and bow ties. The ones with movable arms even held martini glasses filled with a clear liquid and an olive garnish. Earlier this week, there was a Hawaiian theme. For this arrangement, he’d added some plastic palm trees. Blasted ukulele music from a loudspeaker. Some of the other neighbors have complained about the mannequins. Calling them creepy. Or weird. But I like to think that the mannequins have their own unique lives.
Ones where they have experienced love as though it were an original storyline. Have known what it’s like to get stuck in a rainstorm only moments from home. Were forced to wear thick-lensed glasses until they were old enough for contacts. Entered a room only to find that they could no longer remember why they were there. Bumped into an old friend in the street and thought, they’ve aged more than me, right? Bit the inside of their cheek while chewing gum only to bite the same spot again several times that same day. Had one too many Caipirinhas at a work function and owed colleagues an apology the next day. Accepted an offer from a college that was not their first or second, but third choice. Ordered a shirt online only to find out it was defective. Had a mascara-dripping walk of shame or four. Laid a parent to rest on a Tuesday after sudden cardiac arrest. An existence where you or I are just random people they saw passing outside their window and maybe thought, I hope the corners of my mouth don’t turn downward like that when my face is at rest.
L. Soviero was born in Queens, New York but now lays her hat in Sydney. She has an MSc in Creative Writing from the University of Edinburgh. When she is not writing flash, she works as a Learning Designer. Check out more of her work at lsoviero.com.