It’s another Flash Fiction Friday, when poet and Every Day Poems editor Tania Runyan ventures into world of flash fiction, writing quick pieces using prompts from The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction. As you work on your writing craft, we encourage you to play around with different genres and see how that opens up new areas of creativity. If you’d like to play around with fiction and don’t know where to start, be sure to join us Wednesdays for our book club discussion of The Novelist by L.L. Barkat, a novella that can teach you to write fiction.
Einstein Jewelers catered to the college guys in town with a big bowl of Snickers on the counter and a whole slew of affordable payment plans. Tara said she didn’t like jewelry, but Rob knew she needed a gold bracelet for her birthday to complete her transformation from a sweatshirted sophomore slob to an elegant woman of twenty. He’d sat on her dorm bed and instructed her to toss the oversized hoodies and drawstring pants before taking her shopping for flouncy skirts and tops that revealed a tasteful half inch of cleavage. “You don’t want a woman who apologizes for being one, ” his mom had always said. So he bought a herringbone bracelet, $45 a month for the next twelve months.
When he picked her up for Disneyland, he smiled at her freshly straightened copper hair streaming to her waist, her freckled arms swinging from a silky turquoise blouse. “Happy Birthday, ” he breathed in her ear while attaching the bracelet to one of her slender wrists. “Oh, ” she said, and held her arm to the light. “It’s nice.” Then she gazed out the window. He knew that she knew the gift was more for him, but they had been operating this way for quite some time, and aside from navigating some occasional tense moments, they had fun like any other couple.
“Let’s start big, ” she said when they arrived, and, taking his hand, walked immediately toward Space Mountain.
She loved the indoor coaster for its sheer, simple speed, the blackness punctuated with a galaxy of stars. She loved the squealing kids, the anonymous screams bouncing off the invisible walls. Sometimes she even felt spit spray onto her face as the cars rounded the steep curves, and she didn’t bother wiping it off. This time, Rob let out some intermittent “whoo’s.” At one point he tried to pull her toward him from the back of the car, but she instinctively leaned forward into the dark.
In seconds, it seemed, they were already exiting, squinting into the sun. Rob grabbed Tara’s hand then flung it loose like a spider. “Tara! Where’s your bracelet?”
She looked down at her bare arm. “Oh, shoot. Oh, man, ” she said.
“We’ve gotta go back in!” he yelled.
“Well, they can turn the lights on!”
“There’s no way they’d do that. I’m sure it’s happened before.”
“Stuff flies off when people put their hands up.”
“You put your hands up? What the hell were you thinking? Do you have any brain at all?”
“It was Space Mountain, ” she said, and walked ahead of him. She kept walking, past the Monorail and into Fantasyland. She rounded the Matterhorn and headed straight back to the bright blue water of It’s a Small World. He didn’t call after her, and she didn’t look back. She dug into her pocket for a rubber band and twisted her hair into a knot.
Photo by Jenny Downing. Creative Commons license via Flickr. Post by Tania Runyan, author of A Thousand Vessels A Thousand Vessels.
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Maureen Doallas says
Wonderful piece, Tania. I liked Tara’s instinctual lean forward into the dark and the plays on the names of the rides and our realities.