Here is this's week's piece of flash fiction. I hope you guys are enjoying these as much as I am. Here was the challenge:
Write a story backwards. Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Chronicle of a Death Foretold works this way, more or less. Murder mysteries are told backwards, in a sense. Most stories we tell orally we tell from the middle forward until someone tells us we’ve left out important details, then we double back. You might try taking one of your own short pieces—or someone else’s—and simply reversing the sentences. What then? Unless you’re very lucky, you’ll have to do a good deal to make this reversed piece of prose make sense. Make sure this does not become simply a device. The structure should be inherently useful to the material, which is good advice for any fiction. 500 words.
The path to my future was beat down before me. Impractical shoes wore blisters on my feet. I paused long enough to take them off before starting back forward, not seeing anything before me. The tall dry grass brushed my skirt and tickled my legs, but heart lay bleeding and broken back on that porch with the only man I had ever loved.
Jack had been sitting on the top step of my porch, elbows against his knees and a beer dangling from his fingertips when I got home from my trip. I left to find myself—God that sounded cliché. The whole cab ride home I debated if I had found what I was looking for at all. Seeing Jack’s unshaven square jaw and serious eyes hungry as they grazed over me, I doubted everything I thought I figured out.
He waited until I was within a few feet of him to look up with a wry, entirely too handsome smile. “You’re home.” His rich baritone was soft and pensive.
I dropped my suitcase on the sidewalk and schlepped up the four steps before I plopped down next to him. “How long have you been here?”
His lips pursed as he shook his head ever so slightly, taking a swig of his beer. “Not long.”
Three more bottles of beer sat behind the post. I reached around him, bumping him with my shoulder as I grasped one bottle and knocked over another. Empty. Raising my eyebrows I straightened. “As I suspected.” I took the bottle out of his hands and took a drink before handing it back.
We sat in comfortable silence for several minutes. Exhaustion plucked at my consciousness make each blink longer and slower. After traveling all day, the only thing I wanted to do was shower and go to bed. “What are you doing here, Jack?”
He took a deep breath and offered me his beer again. I took it as he watched out of the corner of his eye, never once turning toward me. He was obviously in a mood today.
“Do you know what the best part of my day is?” his voice startled me.
My mouth fell open. I pressed my lips together and shook my head.
“It’s sitting on the balcony with you.”
My cheeks were warm and my breath thin. This was it. It was finally going to happen. I glanced at the ceiling of the porch as if I would be able to see the balcony that sat above it. Every evening I sat out on that balcony and waited for him to come home. That moment when he’d look up at me from his driveway next door and smiled just for me had been the best part of my day since the day I moved in. I looked back at his profile, his mouth still thoughtful and his cheekbones sharp. “Is that right?” I handed his beer back to him.
His shoulders drew up with breath and his legs shifted, pressed his knee against mine. Suddenly I was very much awake. The warmth from his leg soaked into mine. His finger laid over mine, but he still didn’t look at me. “It would appear so.” The vibration of his deep voice ran down my spine.
I wasn’t going to misunderstand this time. If it killed me, he was going to spell it out. I opened my mouth to speak, but nothing came out. I dropped my head against his shoulder and let this rare moment of vulnerability wash over me. I didn’t have to control everything, but I did need to know he wasn’t going to change his mind again. I couldn’t go through that a second time. If my trip had taught me anything, it was that I couldn’t keep waiting around for him. I had to live my life. The degree to which Jack would be in it was up to him. It had to be.
“What does that mean?” I finally forced out, terrified he wouldn’t answer—or worse that it changed nothing. He’d still go home like he did every night and leave me in limbo.
Those wonderful, terrible fingers rough to the touch, moved back and forth over mine so gently, so soft. The seedling of hope grew. I couldn’t help it or stop it. This was what I wanted and I was finally getting it. He was finally choosing me.
“I don’t know,” he said.
All heat drained from my body. Piece by piece I broke contact. First, I removed my head from his shoulder, next I slid over enough that our legs were no longer touched, and finally I took my hand from his, feeling each finger tear away a piece of me as they left. It was my turn to breathe deeply. Tears didn’t come, only shocking pain that hardened my insides—a tragic aftermath of hop. I stood up and went back down the stairs. With trembling legs, I pushed each foot forward. I couldn’t go into my house and I didn’t look back.
I’d never look back again.
The worn down path stretched out endless in front of me. It didn’t matter where I was going. All that mattered was that it wasn’t here.