Hello Readers, Writers, and Friends,
It is Friday. That means flash fiction. I grab a few prompts and write along until a short piece of impromptu fiction has manifested itself. And they are just that, impromptu. No edits, no fixes. And I hope you will give it a go as well. There’s a real freedom in writing something that doesn’t have to good. Where there is no pressure because it is meant to be a mess.
Today’s mess is generated by: guest, and last chance. Let’s see where they take us.
Willard didn’t remember the roses blooming so pink. He didn’t remember the trim on the house being so blue either, but it had been thirty years. He climbed each step up that porch like it was a mountain. When he knocked it echoed in his chest, and settled in his stomach.
When she answered the door it was clear she didn’t recognize him, but her eyes were that same blue-green he’d fallen in love with so long ago.
“Hi Penny.” He voice balked at the small talk and the awkwardness to come. He cleared his throat. “You don’t remember me, do you?”
She was about to shake her head, then stopped. “Willy? Willy Brice?”
“Too old for willy now. It’s Willard these days.” He shrugged.
“Well come in, come in.” Her smile at recognizing him did what it had always down in the days when they’d been school children, playing catch on the playground.
There were small traces of the way the house had been when her mother had the run of the place. He remembered the china cabinet with its mirrored back. She’d shrieked when they’d nearly knocked it over. But it was mostly new, a style and comfort level that was all Penny.
“What brings you into town? I mean, how long has it been?” Penny wen tot he kitchen to pour out lemonade.
“I don’t know.” But Willard did know. He’d traced every move, every year back to the place his family had left his sophomore year. And he’d tried to stay in touch. But when he got the invite to her wedding, he’d stopped writing. He didn’t want to hear about her blissful marriage to some other man, or about her kids as they were born and grew. “Too long.”
And that part was true. He should have come back to visit. And he should have moved to be with her as soon as he was done with high school. But colleges had made football offers that were cut short by injury. And then it felt too late. Next it was too late.
“Last I heard you were out in Texas somewhere?” Penny handed him a glass of the most cheerfully yellow lemonade he had ever seen.
Texas had been over a decade ago. The grapevine was slower these days if you didn’t have a Facebook account.
“I just moved back here, actually. Couple weeks ago.” It had been over a month actually, and he had driven down this street half a dozen times, never quite having the courage. “And I was wondering if you’re, uh, if you’re free for dinner sometime. We could catch up.”
Penny looked skeptical. “Catch up?”
“Or we could get coffee? That’s what folks do these days is go get over priced coffee, right?”
Penny laughed. “I prefer the lemonade. And we could catch up out on the porch. If that’s not too country for you.”
Penny grabbed the pitcher and led the way out the back door to the wrought iron table and chairs.
“You remember when that storm picked these up threw them through Mrs. Andrews’ greenhouse?” Willard asked. He couldn’t believe they had survived all this time.
“Oh I remember. She screamed at my dad about how his insurance had better cover it. Hard to beat a solid piece like this. I couldn’t imagine getting rid of them.” Penny sipped on her lemonade a moment. “Why now?”
Willard didn’t want to admit to fear the cancer had brought. He didn’t want to admit in that moment that two years of treatment had been hell, wondering if he’d ever get to see her again, and realizing that that was all that really mattered to him. But he’d made it through to remission, and he wasn’t going to waste any of the time he had looking back. So instead he reached out and took her hand. The skin was thinning, a few spots across the knuckles that came with age. He let his thumb run across tham.
“Might be my last chance.”