Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Author:
Inflation Types:
Popping:
Date Written: 
03/30/2020

Afina picked up the wide, red sash and tied it loosely around her waist. Glancing in the mirror at contrast between her sash and the drape of her royal blue silk pajamas, she had barely a moment to reflect before there was a knock on her apartment door.

Stepping lightly across the room, she opened the door wide to the sight of her friend, Livia, holding up an unopened bottle of wine.

“What’s the emergency, Fina?” Livia was already across the threshold and in the apartment kitchen, digging around for a corkscrew then pulling down two glasses from the cabinet.

“I kicked him out, Liv” confided Fina, closing the door quietly, “I had enough of Bill so I ended it. He’s already mostly packed and gone. This is the last of his stuff.” Fina motioned to a few boxes and bags stacked neatly by the door.

Liv paused for a moment, exhaling slowly. She tugged the cork out of the wine bottle with a ‘pop!’ and poured two equally full glasses.

“I’ve never really thought he was good for you,” Liv admitted, “Honestly, I’m happy you kicked him out.”

“Really?” Fina was surprised by Liv’s statement. Liv handed her one of the glasses and took a sip from the other.

“Yeah,” Liv hesitated, “I think he’s been cheating on you for quite some time now.”

Fina’s countenance went from surprise to shock. “What do you mean?” she asked, voice shaking a little, “Who was he cheating with?”

“I don’t know who,” Liv said after a moment, “But I wasn’t the only one to think he was cheating. Apparently there were more than a few stories circulating around.”

Fina’s face grew red, a mixture of anger and embarrassment. “I had no idea, I didn’t think…” her voice trailed off, “I-this doesn’t make this any easier.” Fina stared off into the distance and took a large drink from her glass. Liv looked at the rapidly depleting glass in Fina’s hand. She set her own glass down then got up to retrieve the bottle left on the kitchen counter. As Liv crossed the room, she instinctively eyed the few remaining belonging waiting to be picked up by Bill.

Returning, Liv refilled Fina’s glass and set the bottle down on the coffee table. She returned to Bill’s belongings, her curiosity piqued, and began casually poking through the contents. After a moment, Liv lifted a small Chinese puzzle box and turned it over in her hands, examining its smooth lacquered surfaces.

“Fina, what’s this?” Liv asked. Fina looked up, eyeing the wooden box in Liv’s hand.

“I don’t know,” responded Fina, “I’ve never seen it before.” Liv tried shaking the puzzle box. Even from where she was, Fina could hear something small banging around inside.

Liv walked back over to the couch, feeling the edges and lines of the puzzle box. As she sat down, Liv got the first portion moved with a quiet but satisfying ‘click!’

“Here, you try,” insisted Liv, “You’re much better at these kinds of things.” She handed the puzzle box to Fina, who set her glass down and began fiddling with the edges. Two more pieces slid in succession, each with a slight ‘click!’

As Fina sought the next piece, Liv chimed in with a “try there!” and another segment clicked into place. The two made quick work of the remaining parts, and soon the last slid into place. It glided smoothly with a loud ‘click!’, and revealed the hollow inside that had eluded them thus far.

“Finito!” Liv declared triumphantly, trying to peer into the puzzle box. Fina turned the box over and dumped the contents into her open palm. A look of mild disappointment crossed her face when she saw only a small strip of gum and a folded piece of paper.

“That’s all…?” Fina said, somewhat dissatisfied. Liv nonchalantly took the piece of paper and unfolded it, reading the short message printed thereon.

“Do not chew,” Liv recited. Perplexed, she flipped the paper over and over, looking at the back and the front to see if she was missing something. Liv snorted in derision at this underwhelming turn of events.

“I wonder why not?” Fina pondered, trying to make sense of all of it. She held the strip of gum up for a closer look, although it imparted no more information upon her.

“Go ahead, try it,” Liv goaded, “its gum. Its gum and your stupid ex-boyfriend stuck it in a box, and why? Who knows…we should’ve just smashed the box to open it. Would’ve served his cheating ass right.”

Thinking about all that Bill did to her, now more so than ever she was increasingly sure Liv was right and that he had cheated on her. Fina lifted the gum, firmed her resolve, and popped it into her mouth, chewing vigorously.

Liv hesitated a moment, unsure of whether pushing Fina into this small act of defiance was a good idea.

“Wait…are you sure you want to do that?” Liv recanted, wavering slightly. Fina sighed in disgust. She chewed on, wondering what all of the fuss was about. Fina was on the verge of calling the whole thing a load of crap when she paused, a quizzical look crossing her face.

“What’s it taste like?” Liv inquired, seeing her friend’s expression change.

“Madness! Its tomato soup! It doesn’t taste like tomato soup, it IS tomato soup!” a bewildered Fina exclaimed, “It’s hot and creamy! I can actually feel it running down my throat! It’s delicious!” Fina’s jaw worked up and down as her eyes closed, savoring the rich tastes. Stunned, Liv looked on, growing more and more intrigued.

“And every chew gets better and better!” Fina proclaimed excitedly, “Mmmm…this sure is great soup!” She opened her eyes, halting her dissertation.

“Hey, the second course is coming up!” Fina resumed her descriptive, “Roast beef and a baked potato! Mmmm!” she cooed.

“What’s for dessert, Fina?” Liv jokingly laughed Fina’s expression revealed the gum was changing flavor yet again.

“Dessert? Here it comes…,” Fina blurted out enthusiastically, “Blueberry pie and cream! It’s the most marvelous blueberry pie I’ve ever tasted!” Ever so gradually, Fina’s elated face turned from healthy pink to a deepening shade of blue. Soon her flesh closely matched the hue of her royal blue pajamas, making her look the same color from the tip of her head to the toes on her bare feet.

“Holy shit! What’s happening to your face!?!” Liv spit out, unable to mask her growing concern.

“Hold on a second,” Liv continued, oblivious to her change, “Lemme finish…”

“Yeah, but your face is turning blue!” the urgency grew in Liv’s voice, “Afina, you’re turning a deep shade of blue!”

“What are you talking about?” Fina asked quizzically as she registered the growing alarm in Liv’s voice. She broke out of her reverie and rushed over to the wall-mounted mirror to find her skin a dark cerulean color. Not just her face, but her neck, her arms, her legs…all of her body, completely.

A peculiar expression crossed Fina’s already panicked face as her hands went instinctively to her belly. Her midsection began to bulge and widen, pulling the sash taut around her waist.

“Afina! What are you doing now!?” pressed Liv, eyes wide, “You’re blowing up!” Fina’s expansion extended outward to her arms and legs, forcing her to stand spread-eagle.

“I feel funny,” Fina proclaimed, dumbstruck as she gaped at her burgeoning waistline. Overstrained, Fina’s sash burst open, releasing her rapidly expanding midriff.

“I’m not surprised…,” Liv muttered under her breath, almost sotto voce.

Fina gawked at her expanding girth, arms stuck out and legs spread wide. “What’s happening!?!” she exclaimed.

“You’re blowing up like a balloon!” Liv responded louder, increasingly concerned. Liv tentatively reached out and hesitantly poked Fina in the middle of her distended belly, testing the increasing firmness.

“Livia, do something! Call a doctor!” Fina demanded.

“Should I stick you with a pin?” Liv offered, at a loss for how to respond to the still-growing sphere of her friend.

“I’ll POP!” Afina yelled, her eyes wide with alarm. By now, Fina looked down in desperation at her swelling body, rounding out at the waist.

“Help!” howled Fina, looking to Liv, “You’ve got to let the air out of me quick!”

Fina paused, slightly cocking her head to the side, ear turned towards Afina’s belly. A look of realization spread across her face.

“There’s no air in there…that’s juice!” Liv pronounced.

“Juice?!” cried Fina, her outburst a mixture of continued disbelief and growing panic. She looked down at the expanding sphere of her body and whimpered loudly. Fina tried to place her hands on her rotund torso, feeling the welling fullness and increasing pressure.

“Help me! I’m still filling up!” Fina wailed.

“I…I don’t know what to do,” Liv responded, eyes wide, “Can you fit through the door…?”

Afina awkwardly waddled a few steps to face the door, then shuffled back to face Livia. Her girth was already wider than the doorframe.

“I can’t let anyone see like this! I’m a blimp!” she sobbed, looking down at her bloated body again, “And I’m getting bigger! It’s not stopping!”

“You’re not slowing down,” exclaimed Liv, wringing her hands, “Oh my God, you’re not slowing down!”

“OhmyGodohmyGodohmyGod!” Fina bawled, echoing Livia’s statement, “I feel so full…”

Livia cautiously reached out one hand and placed it flat on Afina’s body, feeling the building pressure within while Fina flapped her hands fruitlessly.

“I feel so big!” Afina reiterated, “I’m blowing up like a balloon!”

Livia, withdrew her hand slowly, realizing: “…like a blueberry!”

“Huh? What?” Afina looked up at Liv, confused.

“You’re blowing up like a blueberry!” Liv stated louder in a matter-of-fact tone, although her voice was a little shaky. She walked partially around Afina’s circumference, surveying her friend, “Apparently it went wrong when you came to the dessert…apparently.”

Afina was mostly ignoring Livia at this point, succumbing to shock. She began making gasping sounds of desperation, “I’m swelling up! My whole body!” She began breathing rapidly, panicking.

She looked Livia in the eyes, scared.

“This is Bill’s fault! He did this!” she said, then louder, “Get my phone! Call him! Quick!”

As Afina grew fuller with each passing moment, Livia spied the cell phone and scooped it up, rapidly scrolling through the address book.

“I can’t find it! I can’t find Bill’s number!” Livia said when she reached the bottom of the address book. Afina’s eyes grew wide.

“I…I deleted it! I was so mad and I deleted his contact from my cell phone!” Afina blubbered, “I can’t remember it!”

She stared down at her body again, pressing her palms flat against her body, crying out desperately, “Oh my God!”

Livia tossed the phone aside, then hesitated before reaching out again and feeling the pressure building up in Afina. Liv felt less and less give in the giant blue globe before her.

Afina tilted her head back, screwed her eyes shut and clenched her hands into fist, “This isn’t happening! This isn’t happening! This isn’t happening!” She opened her eyes and looked down at herself, realizing she was still round and getting even rounder.

Livia, hands still on Afina’s body, glanced from Afina’s swollen waist to her eyes and back: “Your skin is stretching so tight!”

Afina groaned in desperation, “I feel like I’m going to explode!”

Livia felt an intense tightness in Afina, and became aware that Afina’s inflation had slowed, though the creaking sounds emanating from within were getting louder.

Livia half drew her hands back, looking Afina in her tear-filled eyes.

Afina cried out, “I can’t take much more!” as the stretching sounds increased.

Livia took half a step back, away from Afina.

Frantic, Afina wept, “No! No! No!” She flapped her hands, trying to shuffle around but unable to move. She was so full, her body was pressing up against the underside of her chin, making it hard for her to speak.

Afina’s head, hands and feet were all that were barely left, and she was having a hard time seeing over her own body. The stretching sound was very loud now, like the skin of a balloon that had been filled too much.

Livia, hands still in front of her, took another step backward, then another, never taking her eyes off of Afina’s spherical form. Four or five paces back, Livia turned and ducked around the corner and out of sight into the relative safety of the kitchen.

The stretching sounds reached a crescendo as Afina’s body quivered.

Afina’s muffled scream pierced the air as her body shuddered, then swelled quickly past her limits like an over-inflated balloon. Her scream cut short as the blueberry burst, wetly splattering juice all over the room. Replaced by an intermittent wet, dripping sound, the silence afterward was deafening.

After a moment, Livia timidly stepped out of the kitchen, slowly looking around at the resulting sopping blue devastation.

She stood up straight as the horrified expression drained from her face. Livia pulled out her cell phone, pressed a number on speed-dial, and put the phone to her ear.

After a brief moment, Livia’s mouth curled into a slight grin.

“Bill…it’s me,” she purred, “Yeah, we can be together now, no more sneaking around.” After a pause, Livia declared, “Yup, just like we figured…she couldn’t resist. Okay, baby, see you in a bit.”

Author's Note: 

Afina, the main character's name is derived from Romanian origin meaning "blueberry"

Livia, her friend's name is derived from a Latin origin meaning "blue, envious"

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