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Breaking Up and Flirting with Haphazards-- Flash Fiction
The Long Train Home
The lines backtracking. I can't remember the last time I saw him smile. It was a whole new, a whole new experience. Again, to cut short. To be refreshed. To let go. I can't remember feeling this way. Have I ever had a proper break up? Who am I between this moment and the next moment I find someone to squeeze my hand?
The long train back home. I've rode this way a thousand times, but I never really think about it. I rarely if ever could tell you the faces I saw, the music in the intercom, or the weather. It all blends together. Was it raining the day I met you? Was it in the middle of fall? Why write down my dreams and make them conscious, if I struggle to make my waking dreams hold fast? I should journal my real life. I should etch that into the sand more than anything else.
We all have to surrender the ones we love sometime or another. I decided to stop by a flower shop on the way home. I bought three white roses and one sunflower. My mom used to burn sage to cleanse the home of evil spirits. I've been told burning sage is a good air purifier. Sometimes you have to let go of the toxicity holding you back. Sometimes the one you spend a year with is, just wasn't, and won't be, and most importantly, never should have been the one you slept next to at night. I was sleeping underneath a blanket with a leech.
And when you let go, just let it go like the leaves escaping the trees. Let it all go, trust your back to stand strong in the cold, dead of winter. And like a child springing around, hop on your two bare naked feet into the snow. Live like that. Live like each moment is precious, and you'll get a handful of days like the wisps of a dandelion. There isn't enough time to let your feet burn from ice, cold snow that only comes once or twice a year.
When I got home, I put the flowers in a vase. I threw my phone into a bowl of water. I let my hair down. And I crumpled to the floor. I melted beneath the ceiling fan. I'm no one's rock, I'm no one's bed of roses, I'm just another drop of water in the ocean. I'm okay with being the sticky, broken oil in your baking cabinet. I'm not the sugar; I'm not the vanilla. I'm the mess. I can be your favorite, if you want me to be. All I've ever wanted is to be your favorite. Keep me next to your heart like a soft cotton t-shirt.
When I moved to the kitchen, to eat a handful of chocolate truffles -- I saw a man with a limp stumble into the hall. Maybe the break up hormones were getting the worst of me, maybe I wanted to feel a knife go through the skin of my thumb -- but I had no fear. Not a single drop of damned fear. I followed this man, this intruder. And when I got to him, he was placing jewels in my bedroom.
He wasn't stealing, he was adding. How long had this strange man been in my home? When he saw me, he sprinted to the door. I tried to grab his shoulder. I screamed, "Hey!"
And he shifted gears, opened a window -- and was gone in a matter of seconds.
Do I call the police or do I wait for something weird like this to happen again? I decided to smoke a cigarette. What if I'm being framed for a jewel thief? I don't care. I'll just smoke this pack of cigarettes. My boyfriend didn't like smoking, so I gave it up for him. Maybe this will calm my nerves.
What if I had a stalker? What if my stalker had caused my relationship to fold like your grandma's old television trays with the stains.
Losing My Sanity
So I crept to my bathroom, and decided to -- shave my head. When I got there, there was a message in red -- I'm not here to hurt you. I need to show you something.
Great. I do have a stalker.
And with my electric razor, I got rid of the brunette locks. I'm a new person. And I have great cheekbones. Who cares for my long locks? Not myself. I slipped into a black dress with a high neckline and no shoulders. It accentuates all the right places.
Maybe cutting my hair short would have been smarter than shaving it completely. I'm fond of sitting on my balcony playing my guitar as if I'm Audrey Hepburn in whatever movie it was that she did that. A woman can dream of romance, even if all her partners are only into being sensual and lovable.
I went into the kitchen and noticed one of my table chairs on the ground, little wood shavings on the kitchen floor. As I got closer, I noticed a few drops of blood.
Was that why the man had a limp? Again, who cares.
How would you describe this narrator?
The problem with some narrators is that they don't want to investigate. You have to follow through with their curiosity. But what if your narrator isn't a great detective? What if they notice questionable things in their homes, what if they notice the dead cat hanging from the ceiling and refuse to call it into question? What if the greatest story is right there, but your narrator is fumbling to tell you the words right; what if they tell you the fall of Russia wasn't based on the last Czar family and his Czarina but had more to do with the revolution of another country, an island country, like Kiribati? Was Kiribati even a country during Russia's revolution?
We're in a recession, so why expect a narrator to tell you a quality story. Are you going to pay me when I tell you The Count of Monte Cristo, are you going to pay me when I give you The Brothers Karamazov? Screw you, these stories unfold on their own. Neither of those are first person narratives. Can you wrangle the voice of God and make a first person narrative out of him? Isn't that like trying to lasso the universe and make it yours forever? Like a dead person clinging because they want eternal life? That's you. Trying to contain the universe, you mortal sadist.
Sometimes I don't know how to tell my own stories, and when you're broken enough, the narrative starts to melt, shrink, and sparkle like a firework shooting off in your garbage disposal.
I don't recommend doing that.
Back to the Kitchen
I pieced myself together and went to the door. Someone was tapping on it. Could it be my love coming back to me? When I went to the door and opened it... it was the man in my home before. This time he had a knife.
Oh, what a thankful, thankless knife. He moved me aside, and he went to the chair.
The chair with the wood pieces coming out.
He flipped the chair over and started cutting off the leg.
"Hold on, sir. Are you not wanting to kill me?"
He laughed. "Why would I be interested in killing you? I've been working to get what's in this chair."
I pulled out a chair for myself and watched him. "Do you want any whiskey while you destroy my furniture?"
"You have no clue who owned this chair before you, do you?"
"Are you stalking me?"
"Not for reasons you would expect."
The man finally cut off the leg. He set it on the table, next to the whiskey. He pulled out an old letter from the hollow part of the leg.
I said, "What is that?"
"This chair belonged to a Jewish family that was in the holocaust."
"What? How did you find this chair?"
"It was grandmother's. I've been tracking it for years. You recently bought it from an antique store."
He unfolded the note. We read it together. I'm not sure why a strange man in my home never bothered me. But I had this feeling, I should just let it slide. If it was my time to die, then let it be so. Who am I to say I own property? Who am I to say I own anything -- much less own a human heart?
The man apologized for intruding, but I told him it was an excellent way to make a new friend. I really think he didn't believe me.
The note? Detailed the family's lineage. Something like, "I don't know if there will be a tomorrow. I wish I could see my beloved."
Is it possible that this note was what brought us together? Could I be living in a strange riddle, about the hopelessness of tomorrow, and the journey to find and connect with someone?
I don't have enough time to pander the idea. Drink whiskey. Drink it until you smile. And wear bright red lipstick, at least once in your damn life. Flirt with reality and the non-reality a little.
And if someone puts jewelry in your room -- trust them, before you call the police on them.