Flash Fiction: Pictures Of You
The sky is burning. There is a layer of red on the horizon, a plume of smoke cutting through the sunset. No way to escape, now. No where to go. I lie in bed and toss and turn and finally when I realize that sleep will never come I still myself. I stare up at the ceiling. I wait for it to crash down upon me, the Apocalyptic heat collapsing everything. When I look outside my window I see a country on fire. When will the rain come?
I pack my bags as the sirens blare outside my window. I pick through memories, deciding which ones are most important, and I stuff them into a duffel. I only have so much space, and people come first. People come before memories, before love letters, before baby clothes. Living flesh trumps the mementos of a life lived in that skin.
I have no room left when I find the pictures of you. There are so few of them because they didn’t matter back then. What mattered were the dark nights in the back seat of your car, the morning bike rides before the summer heat hit, the dinners that spent all night burning in the oven before we resigned ourselves to take-out. The pictures seemed so trivial. What mattered were the secret notes, the glances meant for no one else, the laugh we reserved for one another.
I cannot find the notes and though I can recall the sensation of your hands on my skin and the butterflies in my stomach, the ghosts of feeling are nothing compared to the real thing. But here they are, the pictures. Frayed, yellowed, but here. There are only a few of them. I clench them tightly in my hand, crinkling them. They are the last thing. The very last thing.
The house is burning behind me. Flames lick the bricks and turn them to dust. The land disintegrates to ash in the angry red fire before me. But even if there is no where to go, even if there is no way out, I have everything I need.