Emily Rae Robles

the paradoxymoron

Coalescence (Flash Fiction: Day 10)

Prompt: Essence of _____

Tomorrow, Ruth would have gone out to eat with us at the Chinese restaurant by the lake.  We would have stuffed ourselves with greasy egg rolls and inauthentically cooked vegetables and then dangled our toes into the lime green lake to see who could pull out the most algae with their feet.  We would have run away through the fountain when the ducks came out to beg for bread because Ruth always had an inexplicable fear of ducks.  Then we would have sat on the grass and stared up at the fir branches swaying high above us.  Ruth would have said something about how the sky looked like the top of a snow-globe that we must be trapped in.  Then we would have been silent for a few minutes, imagining that we were inert specks waiting to be shaken up by some force outside of the snow-globe.

The shaking came before tomorrow did.

When the tornado winds first hit, no one took them seriously.  We lived in the Northwest, after all; we didn’t have tornados over here. Ruth and the other girls were at my house, playing board games, when the trees began to fall.  Thundering crash after thundering crash interrupted our entertainment, and we huddled in fear by the old fireplace, watching branches hurl themselves into oblivion outside the window.

Ruth panicked.  She had always been the level-headed one, but this time she panicked.  ”I have to go home!” she cried, and dashed outside.  We screamed at her to come back, but only the wind screamed back at us.

When they found our bodies, Ruth was the one they contacted first.  She had made it down the street to the crawl space under her house without injury, just before the two towering firs behind my house cracked under the pressure of the wind and flung their heavy branches through the walls and windows and into our cowering bodies.

We watch Ruth now, as she struggles through the tomorrows that for us will never come.  Every tear she sheds pierces through the gap in the snow-globe, and we can taste the salt.  Gradually, she grows away from our memories, fogging up the glass until we can barely see her dancing through the air.  One day she will join us on the outside, and we will once again share our souls with each other.  Until then, she must continue her journey on her own.

 

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February 5, 2011 - Posted by | flash fiction, stories, writings | , , , ,

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