Remembering Goodbyes

Valery watched as a fly made its way to the top of the large picture window. Once at the top, it descended, flying, hitting the glass a million times a second, bashing its small body against the unforgiving barrier between it and freedom. 

She turned from the window and picked up a 1984 issue of Family Circle from the table next to her. She decided to turn right to the beauty personality quiz, to learn what hairstyle would have been right for her twenty-some years ago. 

Before she could begin, Anthony stepped out of the office with the doctor. Valery flipped the magazine closed and replaced it on the table as she rose to greet him. The look in his eyes was telling. She braced herself for the worst. 

“It’s not helping, hon. The cancer’s got worse since I started chemo,” Anthony’s eyes began to glaze with a film of tears. 

Valery quickly glanced to the doctor for confirmation, and his expression was grave. She turned back to her husband and reached for his hand. “Let’s go, then.”

He nodded, and followed her to the car. “Where are we going?”

“Do you remember when we were kids, we went on that picnic in the park? We always said we’d go back, but we never did?”

Valery stopped by a deli to pick up some sandwiches. Pastrami for him, and turkey for her. They spent a few hours forgetting current events and reminiscing about the statue that used to stand just there, the one they’d eaten under all those years ago. 

Valery cried, remembering that day. She sat in silence for a few more minutes, regaining her composure before bidding Anthony’s grave farewell. She knew he would have appreciated what she’d done as he lay there, beneath the statue, at last. 

Did I follow all the rules? I do believe I did. But I’ll have you know it hurt to delete the bit about the twitching fly and the bit about the fabulous bathroom facelifts. Welcome back, Ms Rose!

A Narrow Escape


Hudson looked over his shoulder once more, searching the horizon with sad eyes filled with longing; she was late for their lunch date. He checked his watch–too late. She had two minutes to show, or they wouldn’t have time for more than a quick smooch before he had to get back to work. Might as well prepare for the worst, he thought, and began to gather the picnic lunch that had been warming on a moss covered stone nearby.

Two minutes was up, and she was still nowhere in sight. Hudson sighed, and began folding the blanket they’d lunched on more times than he remembered. The breeze plastered an abandoned candy wrapper against the side of his loafer, and he bent to pick it up.

When he straightened, she was there, standing in front of him, wild of eye and mussed of hair.

“Shirley, are you okay? What happened?”He reached out to steady her, but she flinched away.

“It was them,  it was them. They’re coming back for me. Too soon, so soon,” she was mumbling, not making any sense.

Hudson reached for her again, and this time he slipped an arm around her, past her wildly streaming hair. He pulled her against him, gently but firmly, smoothing her hair with his other hand and whispering soft soothing sounds into her ear.

He looked down to see that she was only wearing one shoe, the other left who-knows-where. “Shirley, let me see your foot. It’s bleeding.”

She didn’t hear him, didn’t understand the words he was saying. She still stared off into the distance. He slung her over a shoulder and stopped the flow of blood with the blanket. A cursory glance at the picnic basket was enough or him to let it go, and he carried her toward the street, fully intending to hail the next cab he saw, and the hell with work.

Shirley calmed even more when he picked her up, her murmurs becoming whispers of their former selves, until a stranger caught her eye. She panicked, struggling her way right out of Hudson’s arms and onto the grass.

He stopped in his tracks, unsure of how to handle this. People were starting to stare. The last thing he needed was some do-gooder calling 911 and claiming that he was trying to kidnap his own girlfriend. She’d jerked her foot out of his grasp, so now he was left holding a bloody blanket while a girl scrambled away from him.

Bit of a challenge to explain that to a police officer.

He flashed his pearly whites to the gathering crowd and made up something about needing her medication, all the while kicking himself for it. He scooped Shirley back up and she settled once more into his chest.

She was speaking more clearly, but still, he struggled to make out the words.

“This isn’t just a story, Hudson, not a story, not a story. It’s all real.”

18 minutes writing and editing.
I’m not emotionally attached to this bit at all. In fact, I don’t think I would have minded too terribly much if I accidentally deleted the whole thing. But I can’t bring myself to do it on purpose.
I pick 29.