Remember how like three days ago I said I was going to suck it up and overcome my silencing stage fright? Perfect opportunity--Haley's June Flash Fiction challenge! I've never posted flash fiction before--so it fits my challenge ot myself! Plus, writing to Haley's prompt was really fun. I was inspired, mostly, by the deep scents of summertime drifting over my porch while I wrote.
Read up on the challenge and read last month's entries on Haley's post, but the gist--a 500 word flash fiction that starts out with body language. I think I made this one with a clear beginning, middle and end per the requirements (odd that this would be my uncertainty--you think it would be clear enough)--though it's a tiny snippet of what would be a larger story for the characters.
OK. Deep breath. Posting now.
She closes her eyes as she inhales, leaning into the boughs of the linden as though she could envelop herself in the golden scent. Absently, she plucks a stem of milky-white blossoms and holds it to her nose, twirling it between her fingers. And then she sees me, holds me boldly in her gaze for a second, no more, then lowers her lashes, smiling with a faint blush on her cheek. Smiling as though I’ve caught her being very silly, being a child.
I am not quite sure she hasn’t known all along that I was watching her. I never did know, really, how much of what we had together she manufactured and how much I imposed.
“Lindens,” Anna says, by way of explanation. “They’re early this year.”
I nod, and suddenly the girl I’m with now is hanging on my arm, pulling me back toward the riverbank. Her voice is pitched too high and her dress, cut too low. I like that sort of girl now. Anna cured me of the other kind, the ethereal, wan, beautifully unreachable kind. The kind, too, that risks making a man love her. Anna catches the arm of the buxom woman in whose tow I am trapped, and chatters merrily with her. As though I am not there. Between the three of us, perhaps I am not.
The first stars scatter like sparks over the riverbank, and below us the dank brown water rolls, plodding and steady. The girl leans over me, breathing whiskey into my face and clamping a hand on my thigh to tell me what she wants.
She drags me off to her bed, and as I turn to leave I see Anna, backlit by both the moon and its reflection on the river. She raises her eyes to meet mine, just long enough to impart the profound shame I feel creeping into the pit of my stomach. Just long enough that I remember the brilliant blue of her eyes. Just long enough, and then her gaze is turned once more to the moonlit linden blossoms in her hand.
And I wonder, if I had known then that that image would be the last one I had of her, the blossoms caught between her fingers and their heady perfume surrounding her like a cloud, if I would have paid closer attention, remembered what she wore, when she smiled, what shade, precisely, her hair was when the moonlight caught it. But I’d imagined her from the beginning anyway. She was never who I cast her to be. She was merely Anna.
And if you like the idea of stretching yourself a little this month? Scurry over to Haley's blog and post your own entry!