Flash Fiction- “Another Few Seconds”

When this all first started, they said there would be no waiting.

Cracking my knuckles only kills a few seconds so it’s not long before my mind is back on the never ending line in front of me. At least we are all spread far enough apart that I could stretch my arms so far in front of me and still not touch the man with his bowler hat, or kick out my leg enough to never reach the woman and her daughter arguing at my back.

They said it wouldn’t be as bad as this.

Someone coughs and I can’t help it… but I flinch. I’m not the only one either. Between my rumbling stomach, scrunched shoulders, and painful headache I feel like I made a mistake coming. Maybe I could have gone another night without dinner.

They said that by now this would all be over.

In better times, I would have been knee deep in tips from slinging hot burgers and greasy fries. I would have been spending my mornings running on the beach and my nights banging shoulders with my friends. My anxiety wouldn’t be strung as tight as bow, my bills wouldn’t be weighing down my shoulders, and the news wouldn’t be hammering me hour by hour with the bleakness of it all. (Why didn’t we listen? Why didn’t we realize sooner? Are we all that selfish? Throwing a party at what cost? A few thousand lives…) I shift my weight to my other leg, not because I needed to but just because I needed something, anything, to distract me. If only for another few seconds.

This summer was supposed to be the best one yet. Who would have thought it would have been the saddest? The one to ruin every other summer… in our new reality.

Everything happens for a reason. I’ll tell it to myself over and over. Until I believe it. Another distraction to make the time seem less still. Another few seconds to pass by.

Photo by Edwin Hooper on Unsplash

©2020 Jai Lynn

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Flash Fiction- “Deja Vu”

I saw you first. That was usually the case.

But I thought it would be better if it was the other way around. Maybe then that would change things. I did believe everything happened for a reason. Even if I didn’t understand why.

Your back was to me. Again, as familiar as my own hand. Too tall, too skinny that’s what my mother usually said when she saw us together. But you had always been higher off the ground than me, and always thinner than a reed blowing off the wind from the ocean. At least for as long as I’d known you.

“I had a dream last night.”

You turned around immediately at the sound of my voice, your eyes finding me and following till I was standing right next to you. “Oh, really?” I couldn’t remember the last time we greeted each other properly, maybe it had only been that first time we met years ago.

“Yeah… you were in it.” Walking down the boardwalk everything looked the same. The bumper cars were bashing in the background and the kids were screaming from the mini roller coaster that didn’t tip upside down. How we wished it would tip upside down.

By flinging your hands in your pockets I knew you were going to go along with whatever game I was playing. The joke was there was no game. But I didn’t know how else to say it. It was quiet until you filled in with “Did I do something weird?”

I grabbed your arm and pulled us over to the line for the ice cream stand. You didn’t protest, which I considered a victory. “Not particularly.”

“Then what?” We stepped together as the line moved.

“Well… I guess you did say something weird.”

“What did I say?”

It was our turn next to order. I wished the line had been a little longer, and the previous orders more complicated. But, how complex could it get when there were only four flavors to choose from. They changed everyday but you never knew what you were going to get. “In the dream we were at the boardwalk, and we were getting ice cream just like this.”

You pushed your sunglasses off your face and gave me a good long look. “What did I order?”

“Butterscotch.” I smiled. “And I got mint.” Our turn now.

Pistachio. Mint. Vanilla. Butterscotch. Those were the choices.

I swallowed slowly. “See.”

The girl at the counter smiled. “What can I get you?” She looked very happy, but I felt a little worried.

Then you said it. “Butterscotch.”

“Pistachio. Please.” I said instead. I knew you were confused. Well. I had a reason. “Just go with me. I’ll explain.”

“What did I say to you in this dream?”

“Something awful.”

The girl came back a moment later with our ice cream. I didn’t try to fill the silence. Neither did you. So the counter girl said “$4.44 please.”

You paid, slapping down the money before I could even reach into my pocket. “I got this.” I know you do. Taking a big bite off the top of my cone I turned away. This time you were following my back, and I led you down the slope to the beach. “Don’t you want to eat at our table?” Your voice was out of breath, probably because it was hot and I had just power walked the long stretch to the ocean on adrenaline alone.

“Not today.” If I could change as much as I could then that would help. At least I thought so. My ice cream was already halfway gone. Yours looked pretty much untouched. It was even starting to drip onto the sand. The water was easier to look at. I looked so far the ocean and the sky were one. I knew you were waiting for me to say something.

“In the dream we were sitting at our table and you told me-” but I never finished the sentence. A piercing scream rose from the ocean and there was only enough time for us both to glance at the little blond head that disappeared under the waves. Our boardwalk was so small there was never a regular life guard on Sundays. That didn’t stop people from swimming.

“Darien!” It was my turn to scream, but your ice cream had already fallen to the sand.

“I have to go.” And my heart lurched. No. No. No. “She’ll drown.” No. She won’t.

By the time I moved to go after you, you were already in the waves and no matter how fast I ran I couldn’t catch up. You just got further and further away…

“No!” I yelled. “You will.” But it was useless, and then the water swallowed you whole. This time it had been the waves. They reached you quicker than I could. And then the little girl was next to me.

“He didn’t even say goodbye.” she said. I brought my fist to her face but then, my eyes blinked open. I was awake and the beach was gone. It was my bedroom.

And I was alone.

Every night this happens. Every dream feels real. No matter how I change the scenario you still always go.

It’s just a dream… and I know you’re right next door. The universe though won’t stop showing me how with each and every nightmare it’s like seeing you for the last time.

Photo by Heather Barnes on Unsplash

©2020 Jai Lynn

This post Flash Fiction- “Deja Vu” appeared first on Jai Lynn.

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Living Life #26 "Do it."

Today is yours. No one can take that from you.

If you want to sleep in because your head hurts, then do it. If you want to sit and stare at the rain, do it. If you want to take a walk then just go, don’t come back till you have had your fill. If you want to pull all the books down from the shelves and build a fort to hide in, do it. If you want to do laundry and put extra fabric softener in, do it. If you want to let the dishes sit, then let them sit. And you can sit too.

No one knows how you feel but yourself. If today you are not right then that’s okay. Really, it is. One day you will feel right again. I promise. You have to have some bad to appreciate when it’s good.

So just remember.

Today is yours. No one can take that from you and that is the most magical thing of all.

Photo by Tonny Tran on Unsplash