"On the outskirts of every agony sits some observant fellow who points." --Virginia Woolf
Sunday, May 31, 2009
(The following is one of several flash fiction pieces I've written recently)
He was kicking the pebbles with the toe of his sneaker. With furrowed brow weighing heavy as shoulders, he felt the sagging despair of words lost in the thunderclap. She breathed and waited for something to happen, anything; a hurdle to slow the steady beat of her heart. Her teeth began to chatter seconds past the first chilled drop of rain hit the back of her neck now arched to the sky.
Moments alone together were as fleeting as the clouds overhead, and they both knew it. But teenage pride was hard to shake, every word muttered too ripe for the mocking. She felt invisible to him as he took the Swiss Army knife to the seat of the bench, piercing the space that separated him from the warm flesh he felt helpless before. A last act of faith, he thought, a faith that she wouldn’t forget him as the seasons waltzed along and left them both adrift. School’s out for summer, as the Top 40 song went—school’s out forever.
The fog was too thick to see whales. The rest of the class had vanished towards the bus. He removed his hand from the wooden bench and revealed the markings he had carved, “Tim and Anna ’73.”
I am uncommonly mobile; I have circumnavigated the globe eight times, walking amazing distances. Through the South Island of New Zealand to the Southern Alps. From Chile to the Andes in Argentina. Across the Serengeti in Africa. I made 300 ascents of mountains 10,000 ft. tall or more, including the Matterhorn, Mont Blanc, and Kilimanjaro. I traveled alone, aided only by my porters, sketching volcanos and collecting wildflowers along the way.