A seven-year-old piece I found in my files–flash fiction or journal entry? You decide.
February 15, 2004
Quentin Compson once broke the face of his watch and ripped the hands from its face in an effort to stop time, but he could still hear the minute ticking of the second hand as it spoke away the hours even in its own absence. In this house there are six clocks and two watches and three VCRs and three computers and one microwave. They all tell time. Sometimes this fact is too much to bear.
February 12, 2004
He awoke at seven that morning, knowing that the day would bring him more happiness than grief, and yet he still felt a cold ball of dread in his stomach, sitting there like lead, weighing him down. He knew that swinging his body around and allowing his feet to touch the floor would commit him to getting out of bed, and that standing up and getting dressed would commit him to leaving his bedroom, and that appearing in the house would commit him to staying for her party.
His daughter was now old enough to drive. She could ask for the keys at any moment, and he would have no choice but to hand them over or be branded an uncool Dad. Perhaps he could throw them out the window? But then that would make it tough for him to use the car himself. Maybe he could drop them in the toilet. That would keep any self-respecting teenager at a distance. Hell, that would drive away most adults.
But he was merely avoiding the inevitable. She was growing up. Soon she would be old enough to leave for college, to get a full-time job, to marry and have kids of her own, to follow that career or that husband to some city on the other side of the country. He might be able to see her once a year, if she could get away. They might talk a couple of times a week.
He wondered if she would understand this, that he was not afraid of her driving the car or how much taller than him she might eventually become. He was afraid of the first time that car turned a corner and left him behind, waving, wondering if she were even looking back, the first of many journeys that he would not even be able to watch.
In catching up on all the things I didn’t do last week, I’m still too behind to post anything new. So here’s another old piece of flash fiction. I have no idea what I was thinking when I wrote it. Perhaps you’ll have a theory.
Her lover had come back from the dead and was standing in her kitchen, drinking a cup of herbal tea and eating one of her homemade scones. He was holding the cup with three fingers, as he had done on the mornings after their lovemaking had been most intense and memorable. Steam rose above the rim and drifted toward his face, disappearing in his beard, now flecked with gray and bushier than she remembered. He said
and she screamed. The fear in her voice startled him. He managed to hold onto the scone but dropped the tea, the cup turning slowly one and a half times before it hit the tile and shattered, the liquid spattering his boots and the legs of the table. It spread across the floor like blood, running into the cracks between the tiles where it formed shallow, linear pools.
February 20th, 2004
I signed an online petition today. I don’t know what it was for. Perhaps I was trying to save something. Maybe I was helping kill someone. Maybe it was a petition against me. I don’t know. All I remember is clicking on a button and then shutting down my browser. It was all over in a few seconds, and it might have been the most important thing I’ll ever do.