“I wish you’d seen the doctor, gotten some Valium or something.”
Torrey edges up the security line, pulling her wheelie, Lesley moving beside her on the other side of the rubber stanchion. “Don’t worry about it, Lesley. I’ll be fine once I get up to the concourse. It’s like a great big mall up there.”
“Oh! That reminds me! I heard there’s a new place you can get a pre-flight massage, aromatherapy…self-care, soothing. Meditate your anxiety away.”
Torrey barks a shaky laugh. “Or there’s booze, because flying sucks. The world’s most sincere drinking is done in airport bars.”
Each week at the Ranch, Charli Mills hosts the Rough Writers and Friends flash fiction challenge. This week’s prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes self-care. Fun flashes from other writers are the link. Come join us!
“I still just wish you two could have worked things out,” Torrey’s mother said to Allan. “Get out here, boys!” she yelled toward the house, where ka-pew, pew-pew-pew ricocheted from an X-Box and out the window. “Your father’s here to pick you up, let’s go!”
“Well, Eleanor, unfortunately your daughter is a lot more like a praying mantis than a lovebird.”
He instantly knew that, father of her grandchildren or not, Eleanor would make him pay for that one. “I’ll just wait in the car,” he said quietly, and tried not to openly slink back down the driveway.
Jane exits the stall, already anticipating another cup of coffee. This one weekday, she’s got almost unlimited fluid intake.
Part of her vagrant reality is having no decent, or even very private, bathroom. In the morning she heads immediately to the gym, before she’s even had tea. The homeless newspaper office, but often with a long line. McDonald’s requires a receipt within the last 30 minutes. The college. The public library on her way back to Tent City. Five stops a day. She’s learned to coordinate her hydration accordingly.
Who could imagine a college ladies’ room as a luxury?
This installment from The Life and Times of Jane Doe is in response to Charli’s flash fiction prompt for the week: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about Five a Day. Fun flashes from other authors are at the link.
“The soup is nonexistent,” Torrey snaps, “because who on earth has bone broth sitting around the house?”
“We’ll find you a list of substitutes you can use when cooking,” Lesley smiles.
“The websites I found say if you don’t have bone broth, you can substitute gelatin, and if you don’t have gelatin, you can substitute agar agar, whatever that is,” Torrey replies. “What’s the point of a substitute list, when I’m even less likely to have the substitute than the real ingredient?”
Rico drums his hands on the steering wheel, impatient for the bus ahead of him to move again. Places to be, folks.
The bus farts and jolts ahead, and Rico’s eye is caught — that woman he’s had his eye on in his sociology class, Jane he thinks her name is, walking away up the crumbling sidewalk.
He presses on the gas slowly now, curious to see which way she’ll head. She doesn’t go far, just two houses up from the stop, a dead-looking house, slumping behind its overgrown yard. His eyebrows arch upward as she skips the front door and heads around the side, looking around perfunctorily without even seeing him, then nudges open a sagging gate and disappears into a wild tangle behind the house’s blank-windowed stare.
Becca stumbles at the entrance to her building, dropping her keys and shopping bag in her clumsy anxiety to get in out of the interminable Seattle rain, captivated by movement out of the corner of her eye.
Down the street, in the downpour that shimmers in the streetlights. A woman. Dancing in the street, alone, not caring if anyone is watching.
Poetry in motion.
The woman pirouettes around the corner and out of sight, leaving Becca to wonder yet again how other people learn how to get through life as a fluid.
Every week, Ivy at Uncharted hosts the Six Sentence Stories flash fiction linkup and blog hop. This week’s six is a vignette from The Life and Times of Jane Doe; this week’s cue was “fluid.” Fun sixes from other writers are at the link. Join us!
Becca reels across the room as the panic attack hits, waves of nausea and terror roiling.
Naturally, her pills are in the bedroom, on the other side of the endless stretch of floor-to-ceiling windows, and getting to the wine in the kitchen would be not much easier. She whimpers with another flare of fear, backs into the farthest corner and lowers her eyes to the floor, the only way she can not see the expanse of open air on the other side of the windows. So much for opening the drapes to let some light and fresh air into the place.
The worst thing about panic attacks, she decides, is their ability to take even the comfort of your own home away from you. How do you feel safe when twenty-two floors up is twenty-one too many?