I recently noticed an increase in flash fiction on the internet. Bloggers utilize the brevity of a flash fiction piece to gain followers or simply share their talent through a smaller word count. It seems easy doesn’t it? Write a fiction piece with a range of 500 to 1,000 words. It is harder than a person may think. A writer must tell a story from beginning to end, develop each character, and describe the settings, all under 1,000 words. I decided to take on the challenge. I used a photo taken in 2010 of my favorite city, Washington, D.C. to assist me. Enjoy the story below.
When I lost the person that meant the most to me, I could only see the world in black and white. Our city, Washington, D.C., was no longer vibrant and beautiful. Even the memories we made there lost their luster. He knew I could not survive without him. Yet, he left me. He left me to sit in our spot… alone. Pennsylvania Avenue never looked so melancholy.
After his death, I convinced myself to treat every day as if he were still here. Granted, this plan wasn’t inimitable, but I had no others in mind. As per usual, I stepped onto the bus that drove us to work, sat next to the window, and hugged my book bag tight. There he was, standing in the aisle looking down at me. He sat, motioned for me to look out the window, and kissed me. As I felt his warm lips against my cold cheek, I could not help but smile. I turned to kiss him back, but all I saw was an empty seat… his seat. The kiss was only my imagination. Pulling the shade down over the window to block my view, I could not bear the thought of never receiving that kiss again.
The bus rides were the least of my problems. I used to love the sight of snow on the ground while walking to my office. With each step, I noticed my feet were colder than usual. My hands were numb and my nose was bright red. “Is this what I have to look forward to for the rest of my life? Maybe not because there he is again,” I thought. He waved to me goodbye as he walked toward his office. I smiled and waved, waiting for the “I love you” gesture in sign language. Unfortunately, he was not waving at me; he was waving at the woman sitting at the bus stop to my right. Embarrassed, depressed, and cold, this was quite possibly the worst combination of feelings a person could endure.
Just as the clock struck noon, I noticed the sun struggling to peak through the clouds. Lunchtime would be the hardest, and I knew that. Every day I walked down Pennsylvania Avenue and sat down on our bench. I saw the Capitol building through bushes and hundreds of people walking up and down the street, eager to experience the city. I waited for him to meet me, only to be disappointed when he never arrived. He stood me up every single day. How could I not hate him? He left me to take on our city alone. My plan to treat each day as if he never left was not as brilliant as I had imagined.
I decided to change my plan. Find happiness in our old places. Fall back in love with D.C. Put the pieces of my heart together again, because I realized, then, that I did not need him anymore. I just wanted to feel his love one last time. Except his love is exactly where he left it… in our city. With every trip to the zoo or walk down Pennsylvania Avenue, I had our memories. Those memories were meant to be remembered, but not as hallucinations. I knew our lunch spot would shine again someday.
Flowers are finally blooming. Who knew color could be so beautiful? One flower particularly caught my eye. It was orange and beautiful, but it obstructed my view of the Capitol. As I move my face closer to smell the fragrance excreting from the bloom, a tall man interrupts me.
“Excuse me, Miss? I couldn’t help but notice that you sit in this exact same spot every day for lunch,” he says as he stumbles over a few of his words.
“I guess I am a creature of habit,” I say with a coy smile.
“Well, I won’t ask you to join me for lunch at a restaurant, then. So, instead, would you like some company?”