Another piece of flash fiction from the prompt “Beauty” from Felicity Johns over at http://felicityjohns.com/2015/02/27/friday-flash-beauty/
It’s been on the mantel for so long, most people don’t see it. It’s the first thing I see upon waking, and the last thing before I set myself down at night.
A chunk of old driftwood carved into a frame. Our wedding photo. It’s yellowed and curled, but I still see it in color. You standing with a rose bouquet, holding onto it like a sword, and I looking so serious and terrified. We were both terrified, remember? We knew it was something solemn and fragile, no matter the vows. It was you and me becoming us. We were kids who barely understood the weight of that word. Us.
The years passed, the hair faded, the skin became fragile lacework. You wore pant suits and I wore bell bottoms. We danced to Glenn Miller and Steve Miller. We lost a baby in ’74 and I lost my job the next year. Rough years, hard years, but we came through them together, still us.
The ocean carved the frame that holds that first deep memory. The ocean still rolls, the frame still holds.
I close my eyes and I can still see the sweet beauty in your eyes and can hear the ocean rolling over and over, carving another piece of wood for another us. And it will remain, long after the flesh secedes.
Delayed flight. They won’t know when to butcher the fatted cow. In a world of I-told-you-so’s, Connie has exclusivity. A Master’s Degree in I Know Best. Should have taken the 10:10 flight out of Dulles instead of swimming downstream to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta. Half a day out of the way, the long way around, a conscious avoidance of the collision.
Papa’s been dead for years now, and Mom is fading like a….
And then a long, extended pause. “You fill in the blanks, David. Double mastectomy, how do you think she’s fading? Like a goddamn summer sunset? You figure it out. You’re the smart one. Papa said you’d end up with your face sniffing the gutter, but you outsmarted him by thirty years. She’s asking for you. Isn’t that enough?”
Dear Connie: fuck off. I’m coming. If I have to drive dozen hours to avoid your spider eyes, then live with it. I’m coming.
And so I am. Continue reading “Family anatomy”