Flash Fiction Friday: The Parade

Hello Readers, Writers, and Friends,

I need you to know something– I cheat. All the time. If I don’t like the prompts I pull on any given day, if they feel too on the nose or nothing is popping, I don’t muscle my way through them. I pull more prompts. I know. Cheating. But sometimes if that’s what it takes to get the juices flowing, to dig in to a tiny piece of creativity, I do it. Maybe that makes me soft. Maybe that makes me a little lazy. I don’t care. It’s what I do. I do it to get through and keep going. Because right now, that’s all i can do. This last week has been rough. As always I promise nothing. Only a look at what the roughest of rough drafts looks like when I take on a fictional microcosm.

This weeks prompts are many. I just kept pulling and pulling. Use them all, use a combo, just take one and run with it. Do what feels good today. It’s Friday. Have some fun with it. Prompts: a hugger, person who refuses to fit in, person with six months to live, church, (WILD CARD- and I swear I didn’t make this up to be timely) Set your story during the worst storm in fifty years and pick another card, parade

The view out my sister-in-law’s window a week back. I hope everyone is staying toasty this week.

You don’t often think about being grateful to dead people, but you ought to. We all ought to. When Charles found out he had six months because the cancer was terminal he set to work. He insisted we switch the heating from electric to gas. Same with the stove and the dryer. He bought a back up generator and made sure it was in a well ventilated area. He had the insulation guy come and redo the bedroom, the living room, and the attic. It all felt like over kill. It felt like he was keeping himself busy. It felt like money we could have used to go somewhere tropical, like we’d always talked about.

I was grieving the man I loved even as he stood before me, and he was in the midst of a remodel. When I asked him what this was all about and couldn’t we just take that trip to Costa Rica, he said, “I don’t want to worry about you at the end.” And at the end, when he was on so much morphine I wasn’t sure he knew where he was, he kissed my fingers, which were always freezing, and said, “Stay warm, love.”

Later my children would say he’d been a prophet, but you don’t have to have powers of divination to know that the mother of all blizzards is going to hit hard someday. It’s just probability. The ball drops in the 00 slot sometimes. But since it was less than a year after he passed, and the middle of March, well, I decided to give Charlie the benefit of the doubt. He’d seen–someting coming.

That’s how I ended up, sitting in my window, looking out a frozen, ice covered world, sipping a hot mug of tea the morning after. And if I hadn’t been, if I had been at the school or the fire station, or any of the other places people had gone for shelter and warmth, I wouldn’t have seen it. I wouldn’t have had that front row seat.

A line of Canadian geese, flown up early from their southern retreats, went waddling behind a little boy with a bag of torn up bread. He would scatter them as he walked, his cheeks red from the cold and his breath misting before him. His little flock would follow in their solemn procession, reverently dipping their heads to catch his offerings. Then he’d strut on, leading them down the lane, collecting smaller birds in his wake. They’d flutter down to take up the crumbs too small for the great geese, flapping their wings to take to the sky and follow along. Some just hopped on behind, wings outstretched as if to embrace their little savior.

I watched until his red knitted hat disappeared around the corner. And I couldn’t help but feel like I’d witnessed something poignant. Something sacred.

i sipped my tea and whispered, “Thank you, Charlie.”

I hope you enjoyed that. It actually had me on the verge of unshed tears I think I’ve been holding all week. I’d love to see what you come up with, in the comments or link us to where we can find you.

Happy Friday!!

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