Friday, January 25, 2013

Stranger - #FridayFlash Fiction

     Dead of night, and I climb through a cottony mass of half-formed thoughts and half-dissolved dreams into consciousness. Heat weighs heavily on me, and overhead the blades of the ceiling fan revolve sluggishly. I shift slightly, and turn my head; with a jolt, I realize that there is a stranger lying next to me.
     I inch my way out of the tangled sheets and, setting my feet carefully on the cool floor, make my way over to the doorway. A floorboard squeaks and I quickly shift my weight and move closer to the wall. A sigh, and then his slow, even breathing resumes. I sigh as well, and tiptoe out of the room.
     The caliginous bedroom gives way to a living room awash in moonlight. I draw the curtains and sink into the depths of an overstuffed chair. How did I come to be here, and what do I do now? The answers, it would seem, are all around me.

     A trophy perdures on the bookcase, shrouded with dust; textbooks as well, unthumbed as the day they stood on the seller's shelf. A blue smock with a garish badge is tossed in a corner, along with a black pair of shoes whose scuffed toes have been covered by black magic marker. A man's jacket is thrown carelessly over the back of a beat up sofa, which crouches beneath the picture of a grinning young couple posed on a sugar white beach. All eerie in its vague familiarity.

     I remember that I met him last night after work. That there were awkward pauses and silences, and that we spoke to each other oh so carefully. That we peeled away the layers, and that in exploring each other we explored ourselves as well. A dangerous thing, but necessary; unspoken becomes unnerving becomes undoing.

     Dawn breaks, and I wearily make my way back. He is still sleeping, and I slide quietly into bed and lie there, studying him. The slope of his shoulders, the fine golden hairs on his arm, the nape of his neck, somehow delicate even on so large a man. Strange, and yet comfortingly recognizable. He stirs, stretches, and turns his head towards me; the morning light catches the autumn flecks of green and gold and brown in his eyes. He looks at me somberly for a moment.

     “Happy Anniversary,” he says, and smiles.
      In the full light of day, I smile as well.
     “Happy Anniversary,” I reply.


28 comments:

  1. Haha that ending was priceless I definitely didn't expect it. Overall great #FridayFlash concept though. - @QuHarrison

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  2. You are such a good writer, Li. You say so much in a few paragraphs of well-chosen words. Very nice.

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    1. Thanks Teresa :-) It takes a lot of editing.

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  3. Given how self-serious and dramatic the first paragraph took itself, I never would have guessed we were headed to an an anniversary party. Very cute, Lisa!

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    1. Sort of a play on how wakening in the middle of the night can be scary and confusing. (Combined with finding out that someone you've known for a long time - or been married to - is, in many ways, a stranger still.)

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  4. great use of the word 'caliginous'! You keep the reader nicely off balance in this Lisa

    marc x

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    1. A favorite word but difficult to fit in properly. :-)

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  5. Didn't realize they were married - good twist.

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  6. Great story as always. Your writing is exquisite especially in how you convey so much with so few words.

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  7. I thought she was with a stranger, and possibly in danger too, so the twist at the end really took me by surprise.

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    1. Glad I surprised you! Thanks for stopping by. :-)

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  8. You continue to amaze with your flash fiction. Awesome! :)

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  9. I love this particularly in the idea of the concept that her husband is a stranger. But then they smile and the world is all right.

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    1. Glad you liked it! I think we're all strangers to one another, no matter how close, but you're right - morning and a smile often makes everything OK.

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  10. I like the way the character reflects on her memories. Great story!

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    1. Thanks GE :-) I like to sit and look around my room sometimes and reflect on the objects and memories.

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  12. Like the many angles that you can look at this story. It is the morning's light that gives the clarity

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    1. Thank you, I was hoping that the readers could take away different things from the story.

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  13. Hah didn't see the twist! ''unspoken becomes unnerving becomes undoing' is wonderful use of language.!

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    1. Thank you, a great compliment! :-)

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  14. This is really good and the way you wrote about the memories that the character reflected upon was good. A great twist at the end!

    You know posting on a blog is great and all but wouldn't it be better if you posted it on an online site that helps you start to market your story and build up an audience? Just a suggestion but try and sign up to ReadWave if you are interested! Just check the site out when you have the time: http://readwave.com

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  15. Thank you for stopping by! I'll check out ReadWave.

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  16. If only we could always have this sense of freshness and newness and strangeness with our loved ones so that we can be so much more observant. I'd love to have that mindfulness all the time, seeing my environment and my husband in all the detail as in your piece. =)

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