Flash Fiction: The Wedding

I saw Theo before he saw me. He was the second groomsman to come down the aisle, a bridesmaid on his arm. He was smiling, genuinely and awkwardly – he’d always hated being on display. He looked good – fit, but not that obsessive revenge-body fit he’d been the first year after our breakup. He’d cut his hair short again, like when we were in school, and he’d grown his beard back, just to frame around his mouth.

He didn’t see me as he and the bridesmaid walked past my pew. He didn’t notice me watching him until halfway through the ceremony, when he glanced absently over my row and then quickly back at me. We locked eyes. He smiled. He’d never smiled at me like that before. It felt … peaceful. There was no more anger, no more pain. He had grown and healed and forgiven, as had I. I knew, without him saying it, that he understood and accepted the choice I had made now, and could finally see that it had been the right one, for both of us.

Flash Fiction: A Kiss before War

The last time I saw the love of my life, I knew I was going to lose him. Drafted into a fight he didn’t start, I could not, would not, accept his going. And yet, I knew I had to. Despite the fact that allowing him to leave went against every feeling in my heart, every principle in my brain, I knew I had to let him go. It was the right thing to do, even if it tore me apart.

We stood beside a brick wall, waiting for the train. The train. The train that would strip my soul of its mate. I wished it wasn’t real. That this was an illusion, a horrible nightmare. This was just too much. We were so happy, so right for each other. I had no idea how I was going to bear this.

I’d already sobbed every day for two weeks, from the moment we found out he’d have to join up. I couldn’t control my imagination, the terrible pictures of potential disasters that were running rampant through my head. And the worst bit was seeing him cry. I’d never seen him cry before. This was killing us both, and watching each other writhe in emotional pain made it a thousand times more difficult to deal with. We were helpless against external forces that were going to separate us, I knew, forever.

Yes miracles happened, people came back from war, but for some reason, every cell in my body was reluctantly but completely sure that this was it. I felt it, I’d dreamt it; there was no way around it. Call it woman’s intuition, but I just knew, and I hated it.

The sound of the approaching train’s steam whistle ripped at my heart. Grief was a knot in my stomach, tying itself tighter and tighter. I threw myself around him, holding on for the last time.

Determined to be strong for him, I held back my tears as best I could. He kissed me, and pulled away. Told me how much he loved me, said I was perfect. As he walked toward the train, I couldn’t help it; I screamed his name and ran after him.

One final embrace, then he wiped the welling tears from my eyes and blinked back his own. I stepped away slowly, retreating against the brick wall as I watched him board.

I stood, a forced smile on my face; I had to be strong. He pressed his hand to the window, not taking his eyes off me. I met his gaze, and didn’t break it until he was out of sight. I watched the end of the train roll away around the corner. Hearing only the sound of its rumbling, shuffling chugga-chug and the murmurs of people around me, I crumpled to the ground, unsure if I would ever get up.