flash fiction

Your Life’s Fortune

(Author’s Note: For those who are used to seeing only poetry here, I do an occasional “flash fiction” piece. That’s what this is…)

YOUR LIFE’S FORTUNE

Exhausted, Karen couldn’t cope with the thought of cooking anything after the long day at work. She could barely muster up the energy to make her way through the crowded sidewalk leading to her train stop. She could hear the “L” approaching and hurried the final steps, not wanting to miss the last train.

Once on board, Karen exhaled. And prayed. The hard work she’s put into sealing the deal on this new client was finally coming to fruition. The terms were settled. The contracts were prepared. She would meet with her boss and the client tomorrow for final signatures. And her promotion should come soon after! Nothing was promised—but it was what she had been working toward.

Glancing out the window at the passing businesses, Karen felt the rumble of hunger in her stomach. A quick check of her watch told her she just might make it to her stop in time to pick up something to eat from her favorite Chinese carryout restaurant on the corner of her block.

Rushing off the train with a renewed energy (and sights set on Moo Shu Pork), Karen made it just in time. With order in hand, she walked past the row of Brownstones. Finally home, she leaned against the counter and reached inside the bag, feeling for the familiar wrapper of the cookie which she always ate first.

fortuneBreaking the cookie in two, popping one half in her mouth, Karen pulled the fortune from the other half. One side taught her the Chinese word for “family”. Looking around her flat, she sighed at the emptiness that surrounded her. Slowly, she flipped the paper over to read, “All your hard work will soon be paid off.”

Thinking about her life’s fortune, she penned the following poem:

PRIORITIES
(a shadorma)

Fortunate,
I am, in some things.
In others,
not so much.
I suppose that’s just the way
the cookie crumbles.

///

Written for Flashy Fiction Fridays

Coming Home

COMING HOME

“Whew – what a trip!” Bernadette sighed as she, exhausted, dropped into her favorite chair and closed her eyes. In an instant she remembered the sights and sounds that filled her senses on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea: the bluest blues and the whitest whites, splashes of vibrant colors in the flowers that filled the air with the sweetest aromas; sea birds calling to one another and the gentle shushing of the water on the shore. It was enough to make Bernie forget all about the world she was trying to escape. Burying her toes in the warm sands of Santorini was a preferred alternative to burying her head back home.

But now she was home.

Opening her eyes to the familiar environment, the reality of being alone hit her all over again and the tears that had dried up for a while made their reappearance and began to streak silently down one cheek and then the other.

Michael was never coming back.

Through watery eyes she looked at their wedding portrait on the mantle. The smiles on their faces radiated the love in their hearts, with no sign of what was about to happen. Tears came faster now, remembering that day just a year and two weeks ago. In spite of the one-night stand (as they had playfully called their wedding night, knowing their honeymoon would be delayed until their first anniversary), that was the happiest she had ever been. The morning after their wedding, Michael was killed on his way to work in a horrible traffic accident.

Since his death, she saw Michael everywhere she turned. She missed him so much, yet knew she needed to move on. Bernadette followed through on their dream and took their “honeymoon trip” alone in hopes of reconnecting with her life, as well as moving to the next chapter.

Now that she was home, Bernadette wondered if she would ever be able to move on.

Hours passed before she realized and she needed to get unpacked. Dragging herself from the chair, she looked around her home. Bernie froze in her tracks. She sensed something wasn’t right. Everything looked familiar. But what was it? What was different?

Bernie’s eyes landed on Michael’s Bible, which she couldn’t bear to move from where he left it on the coffee table. It was open. Crossing the room to get a closer look, she saw there was a passage that was highlighted in bright yellow. Jeremiah 29:11 – the passage that was read during their wedding. A promise that Bernadette hadn’t believed to be true for her after Michael’s death. A promise she thought was meant only for the newly pronounced “Mr. & Mrs.”

“For I know what I have planned for you,” says the Lord. “I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you a future filled with hope.”

Sinking to her knees in front of the coffee table, Bernadette did not know how the Bible was opened to that page, but believed that Michael somehow had a hand in giving her the message she needed in order to move on.

///

Written for Flashy Fiction Friday, May 2, 2014.