Sunday, March 14, 2010

Flash Fiction Contest: Untitled by Susan Henderson

The chosen tree was large, its branches gently stretching to the ground but not quite touching the damp soil. Here is where they would place it. The plot of earth stretching out in front of them as far as they eyes could see. The horizon filled with puffy white clouds, the sky dressed in shades of blue and gray, and if you turned your head just right, the slightest hint of purple. "Squint real tight" she told me, "See that speck off over in the distance, that must be our neighbor." I tried, but all I could see were the gardens overgrown, long past their productive colorful past, tendrils of vines dried up and broken, that surrounded me. The day was just beginning, and already the heat was sticking the shirt to my back, and my hat band was filling with sweat.

We weren't used to the quiet. The past fourteen years had been spent in the city horns honking, sirens blaring - everyone searching for something that we were never able to find. It had taken six long years for our plans to come together. Our first night on the road brought back the sharp memory of a cross country car trip as a child, when my sister Eileen's favorite doll was left behind at the motel. She cried about it for a day or two, aching forit, and then gradually seemed to forget about it. That was what I hoped for, and counted on. The forgetting part.

I promised myself, every few months, we would come out to the shade of these large trees on the top of the hill, unpack the glockenspiel and once again use its melody to stir up the spell of this day, when just for a split second in time, we were happy.


Susan Henderson blogs at On the Garden Path.

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