Flash Fiction: Summer

She gripped his hand and they rocked together to the melody. Soft, soft, soothing saxophone and crickets sang them down, down into darkness. They’d spent years here, on this porch. Muggy, murky summers passed and lightning bugs bumbled through the thick air. Autumn came and whispered the chirping cicadas away. Red and orange burned into the sky, the blue visible only through the cracks in between in the leaves. They’d spent years here, protected from humid snows by big glass windows and the wood burning stove her father put in when she was small. And when it was spring silently they rejoiced because life was near again, the crocuses were unfolding underneath the mulch-y cover of autumn leaves and leftover snow, the birds were gossiping in the treetops once more.

She gripped his hand and their chairs rocked in time. Sometimes she felt young again, if she closed her eyes long enough. Summer was cloaking them in a thin layer of perspiration, and her skin was dewy again. She usually felt so dried out, so dehydrated. Summer gave her new life. The crickets told her it was true, it was true, it was all okay. The breeze told her to relax, let the land take care of you. Rest your weary bones. Some day soon they’ll join us here in the soft earth.

She glanced at him, tried to remember if he’d always looked like that. He used to have dark hair and smooth skin. He used to have laughing hazel eyes and he was tall, broad shouldered. He was on the football team and she was part of the yearbook committee. She wore red lipstick sometimes, and curls in her blond hair. She was the pride of her parents, above all her other siblings, and she knew it. He was perfect for her.

But neither of them had their looks anymore. The laughing eyes were gone, the dark hair, the smooth skin, had all been spirited away by time and more bone dry winters than people should endure. Her curls had gone limp, her red lipstick was forgotten. There were lines in her once supple skin she couldn’t bear to look at, the ones born out of distress rather than laughter.

As if he could feel her gaze, he turned to her and caught her eyes. She felt a swell in her breast, and a fluttering in her stomach, little butterflies, begging for release. After all these years, he could still make her heart beat faster. After all these years, he still made her feel young.

She squeezed his hand and turned away, a small smile on her lips. They had already said what they could say. They’d run out of words a long time ago. The music played and was carried out into the wilderness and they watched the fireflies struggle to stay aloft in the humid air. They remembered everything, all at once, because they didn’t want to lose anything, not a moment of it. And forgetting was inevitable.

Relax, the breeze said. Let the land take care of you. Rest your weary bones. Some day they’ll join us here in the soft, warm earth.

6 Responses to “Flash Fiction: Summer”
  1. This is a beautifully written piece. The prose is fluid and picturesque. Well done!

  2. this is so beautiful. I’m basically crying now. You’re incredible.

  3. Dave says:

    Wonderful story, Hannah. I enjoy reading your short pieces (flash fiction). I should try my hand at one of these some day …

    • Thank you! You should, they are a good release. I like to just write them and post them. Very little, if any, editing goes into them. That’s part of where the “flash” comes in, along with the length of it. Let me know if you try it, I’d love to read it!

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