Invisible No’s by Meghan Coleman

If you always say yes, then nothing is absolute.

She was sure she’d get away once she boarded the plane, but she never says no: growing more invisible with each concession, less complete with every false surrender…


She knew. As he gently dipped the tip of his finger with its black thickened nail into the sticky red powder… As he smiled back at her, decayed black holes peeking through the pearls of his crescent mouth. As he wrapped the orange and yellow strings around and around and around her tiny wrist, muttering the repetitive song like prayer under his breathe. She knew, as she stood in silence… dampened eyes squinted and mouth pursed tightly, holding in her protests. She knew as she allowed him to complete his mission, that he deserved it. His tiny face was mouse-like, a sharp point staring her five-foot frame directly in the eye.

“I’m a temple man miss. This is for much good luck, very much good luck for you.”

She knew it was a scam, but she let him carry on anyway.

“Why yes… I am married.” She smiled and lied.

“Ok madam. It’s right hand for married, left hand for not. I knew I was correctly, you see! I’m a temple man! Small kindly donation please?” Again, his white sickle smile, black eyes blinking fast. She reached in her purse, pulling out every silver coin she touched, an offering derived from some separate Western guilt and granted to the poverty of India.

“Ohh very nice madam! Twenty years good luck for donations. You have twenty years good luck. Sky eyes prosper farther than mine.”

She knew it was a lie, but she thanked him anyway.


Sure that she could grow, with each sturdy “No,” a little moral show, she tried and lied. But not making the same mistake twice is a test she was doomed to fail.


The same way she said yes when Eric was kissing her neck, purring hungrily as he groped and pushed into her. As her eyes stared vacantly at the ceiling, she made a consolatory moan, digging her nails into his back with faked fervent slack. She knew, as her jawbone protruded and eyes became deluded, blinking tears, and suffering silence. She knew as she allowed him to enter that he deserved it. As she wrapped her legs around his body, she retreated farther and farther inside herself. So did he. As he muttered “God I’ve missed you” his beautiful lips pouting with pleasure, “I’m your man, right? I’m your man.”

She knew it was a scam, but she let him carry on anyway.

“Yes, you are,” she lied.

Again, that oh shaped pout, his ice-blue eyes rolling back into his head, with her hovering over her own body, miles away from their bed.

She reached her arms around his neck and buried her face in his throat, inhaling the old familiar scent as he collapsed. But it was just a donation, an offering derived from some fluid adulterous split and granted to the temple of his ego.

“God I love you, did you miss it? Did you?”

She knew it was a lie, but she said yes anyway.


When did life become so fluid that she could dissolve into hazy drops of dew, slipping through the cracks of wooden floors and keyholes of locked doors? Repent, repent, repeat.


The same way she said yes to the K… seeking to unravel those years of decay. But their tiny pupils were glaring, the glossy bulbs bulging. So into the den they went, collapsing into giggles loaded with conjured regret. As the tent in his living room made a cocoon, with pillows, and blankets, and duvets, and capes. “…If you found the words. Would you really say them?” No, she blows. As they lay there entwined under draping green lights. She sniffed and fell. Deeper and deeper and deeper into anesthetized bliss. As she swam farther down the well towards nothing, she began to feel an inkling of a something. As the open fissure in their nylon home grew into a weightless dark hole, she knew. If she could reach flailing fingers toward the jagged edge she could balance tip-toed on the slippery ledge. She knew, as the man with the furry coat lent his large dark hand, his mustached twizzled with points at the end. As he asked her to “come on inside, did she fancy a ride?” She knew it was a gamble, but she climbed in anyway. Unsure of where this rocking horse would run, she had no choice but to let it come undone. As she decided to forgive herself, she knew, that she deserved it. A stone offering to her glass filled world, a detached broken dream to wind with the whirl. She saw the peacock ahead as it ebbed and flowed, hips swinging and silk streaming in a warm hazy glow. As he led her into darkness and said in hushed tones, “peacocks are for show, and don’t shed real blood.” As he asked, again, if she would accept this ticket, to climb muddy walls and waltz into the clearing. Her heart went numb. She said yes. She didn’t lie.


Answering the call of life’s subtle test, she grasped at the handle of a wide open door, with a doddery wooden odor and a desperate gasp for order… she knew, it was just a projection in her mind. So she climbed, and climbed and climbed and climbed, up and out of the shallow death, through the underbelly of a ship battered and wet. Piece by piece of reality slowly filled the blanks of shiny green goblins and their vision of space. “Welcome back,” said the ivory Geisha, lifting her into a lucid dementia.

Just understand.

Try to understand.


The easiest person to lie to, is yourself.

To dissolve into rivers of distorted half-truths.

With the mind unwinding and stories contriving.

So are we lazy? Are we crazy, or just a little hazy?

Did she escape into an Indian land of superstition?

Was she raped by love, an adulteror’s position?

Did she die in the claws of a peacock’s sexy grip?

Or climb through the gallows of an old musty ship?


As we see… our words are as much, or as little, as we want them to be,

and when lost in language, tricks can take heed.


So did we lose the plot, or did she?

Or end at the beginning, just to disconnect the dots?

If you always say yes, then nothing is absolute.


I’ve been a gypsy writer for five years, never staying longer than six months in any home, teaching English and fabricating SEO articles for travel websites. A down right word whore, I’ve meticulously recorded my experiences from over thirty countries and my very own southern small–town abode. Currently living in Brighton, England I'm floating through a Master's in Creative Writing at Sussex University, and writing. Writing. Writing? Yes, every day. Thanks for reading my grapple with invisible no's, and give my submission a tacit, yes.


4 thoughts on “Invisible No’s by Meghan Coleman”

  1. Beauty amid the stench of decay and the resolution, mystical. This one turns the reader every way, like a corpse twisting in the winds of change, until reality and the other mix like smoke and fog. And the elephant tusk madonna/whore trumps all. Cool.

  2. Meghan,

    You make me proud to be a Coleman. This is a beautiful, time proof, examination and exploration of our insecurity that most of us, if not all of us, face as human beings.

    Very impressive!


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