three bodies

Lara Alonso Corona was born in a city in the north of Spain. She completed her Film and TV studies in Madrid before moving to London to study creative fiction. Her fiction has appeared online and in print in magazines like The Copperfield Review, Literary Orphans, Devilfish Review, Whiskey Island and recently in Betty Fedora.


three bodies


No one said that it would hurt like hell right after.

She did not know that something seemingly so minor – the thin film over her eyes – could hurt so much.

It had not hurt during the operation, even though she could feel everything they were doing to her. She could see what was happening.

The first thing she saw afterwards was crosses. Like a graveyard in her eyes. They were the shapes the traffic lights took on. Up until now she had thought the world was the world: true and immutable. But that was a lie. The world was what her eyes made it to be. And now that her eyes had two scalpel cuts each the world was bright crosses and pain. Traffic stops were unbearable. Her room, even when in darkness, was filled with the afterimage of them, the imprint of pain leaking between the incisions.

The pain gave way to intense discomfort. Like having sand under the eyelids only permanent, and you couldn’t cry it out. It scratched at her eyelids, this invisible sand. But the world was no longer made of vertical lines crossed with horizontal lines. It was people with milk-white halos around their whole bodies. It was too-lit rooms which caused her a shallow headache. It was her mother bringing her painkillers before she went to bed.

Afterwards she did not remember the pain of the first day and night. And eventually the feeling of grains of sand stuck under her eyelids was all but forgotten. The world was not how it had been before the operation, though. She used to think the world was flabby, its edges soft and diffused, background and foreground bleeding into each other. The world is not supposed to be like that! her eyes told her a week after the operation. It’s clean and sharp and hard-edged, the colors are rich and aggressive. It’s a colder world.


Tortilla dulce

Most people enjoy a strong association between smell and memory.

Christmas food taking you back to one specific Christmas, the scent of fabric softener to your first flat on your own, dry grass to the afternoons on the campus grounds, idling hours away outside class.

She wasn’t like that. The scent of flowers did not trigger memories of her childhood country house. A perfume did not recover the feeling of kissing the neck of her first girlfriend. She didn’t have much use for that sense, other than pragmatic. She did not understand when characters in movies romanticized the smell of rain recently fallen.

There was one exception and that was the smell of tortilla dulce, the dessert her grandma’s mother used to make whenever she visited as a child. The figures of Jesus on the cross hanging on every room used to scare her but it was worth it just to eat that sweet omelette. Or so she thought when she was six years old, that it was a fair trade.

Yes, the one smell that could bring her back.

Not just the memory of the dish itself or the woman who used to make it – of her sing-song accent, betraying she came from the Galician parts of the county. The memory of that house, cold and damp, with stone hallways and heavy wooden doors. The whole building had since long disappeared but she remembered the quiet darkness of it. She would remember a TV set in the living room but she couldn’t recall anything on. And how her great-grandmother would sit her at the kitchen table – she remembered it as an unstable, plastic affair, incongruous against the many iron-looking appliances in the room – and make her wait until the omelette was finished. It was a ritual of sorts, and the scent of eggs and sugar and milk and stale bread would forever bring her there, to the cold kitchen, tapping her feet against the hard floor, and how the dish wasn’t done until she could smell a light burnt odour in the air. It didn’t taste just right if it wasn’t a bit burnt, black on the underside. The kitchen was the only room in the house where the sunlight could easily reach every surface, where she could tell winter from spring, or if it was time to go home.

It didn’t happen often, this remembering; nobody she knew cooked tortilla dulce anymore.


The Artist’s Hand

The hand is not the artist’s fault. It is the accident’s.

The curves are stiffer now, not proper, not like the fluid curves of last year’s paintings.

The critics praised the details. Nimble fingers can do that. Can do the tender tendrils of leaves, or the many shades of snow when it’s about to melt.

The artist feels like she’s wearing a glove now.

(The hand feels like another person’s hand. Another artist‘s hand.)

People used to come to her garden to watch her paint. Her hand was an attraction then – assured and fast, like the painting had always been there. Now she hesitates, and so she locks the garden gate and paints from inside the house. Her hand gets easily cold now. Even if it’s like wearing a glove whenever she tries to paint now, after the accident her fingers get cold and stiff even in summer.

It’s not the artist’s fault when her paintings lose the details, the leaves and the many shades of snow. She has to ball her fists many times before starting work now. Instead she relies on the basic allure of color. The critics will call it purity, a breakthrough. The artists calls it that moment when the pads of your fingers have gone numb but you keep working as if guided by an invisible but clear purpose. She doesn’t have to feel the brushstrokes anymore herself. They are there on the canvases. The artist’s hand heals but it’s never what it used to be. The artist’s art changes into something else. Her body dictates color, length, relief. Her paintings are no longer trapped by her skills, by her precision.

Eventually she opens the garden gate and people come and watch her make a ball with her first before starting and watch colors fall like leaves.


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