Fanta and the Sauna

by nicolecallihan

Yesterday, Sanj came over. We sat in the sauna at the gym, and she told me of how when she was a little girl in Africa, she was told to fast for five days. The fasting would, they told her, bring a good man for her to marry. She remembers being terribly hungry. On that same trip–the hunger subsiding as hunger does–she and her brother found a case of Fanta underneath the bed. She said she felt like a fishmonger finding a whole sea of orange fish. Beautiful, she said, so full of hope. Later, as we showered, I yelled over the stall, “You should write about that.”


“About the fast and the Fanta. You should write about it.”

“I can’t hear you,” she yelled. I told her I’d tell her later, but the afternoon kept unfolding, and then we said goodbye at the subway, and walking home, I remembered: the fish, oh, the fish.

Now I sit tapping away at my computer, wondering if stories can be stolen, wondering if my desire to own that story and tell that story might–suddenly–lead me away from my desk and down the hallway, into the bedroom where, leaning over to pick up a sock to throw in the wash, I’d get a glimpse of something under the bed, and there it would be: a whole case of orange soda just waiting to be guzzled.