Optical art.

©2019-2021 Michael Raven

Jen managed to make it to the trashcan before her lunch found its way up her throat and out of her mouth.

While she was throwing up, all she could think was that this was a terrible impression she was making on her first date with Dave. Or was it Tom?

“Shit,” she said under her breath as she spat out the bile that still coated her tongue. She couldn’t even remember his — Dave. Yes, it was Dave.

She felt a warm hand on her neck and hoped it was Dave otherwise she might scream and was relived to hear in his voice, “Are you okay? Do you want to go home?”

She shook her head as she removed it from the aluminum portal, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand. Oh, so classy, Jen, she chastised herself. She’d have to make sure she used soap so her hand wouldn’t smell like barf when she cleaned up.

“I’m fine,” she said, “When you said we should hit the exhibit at the Institute of Art, I didn’t know it was going to be this… this…”

She struggled for the word he used and couldn’t find it, but he came to her rescue.

“Op art?” he finished.

She nodded. “I can handle it in small doses, but I guess I saw too much before my stomach went wonky.”

She hoped he wouldn’t ask her why the art made her throw up. She didn’t want to have to explain that she was not allowed to talk about the event that made her so sensitive to such images.


This bit of flash fiction was originally posted on a social media account in 2019. I made some minor and light edits prior to posting.

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