Fiction Friday! This weeks challenge was: Go back in the archives and pick a fiction or nonfiction piece. Perhaps something you posted on your blog, or an old Red Dress Club prompt? Find something that you’re proud of, but something you haven’t read for awhile. Do a complete overhaul. Oh yeah, keep it under 400 words.
As a result this is not a new installment of Queen Snow White, I tried, but it hasn’t been long enough. This is actually the first piece that I ever wrote for TRDC, but I never posted it, in fact it was 5 more months before I officially threw myself out there. The original one is here.
The sun pierces through my sunglasses, the colors of the vegetables scream, the scent of tomatoes suffocates, all highlighting my hangover. After work networking was a lot easier on my liver 15 years ago. Age. This farmers market looks nearly identical to the San Fran one. Bittersweet, homesickness.
A shiver cracks through me. I see a flash of her red hair. Sliding along a wall of radishes I strain for a better look. Her hair is loosely braided over her left shoulder. I wonder if she got my note saying that I had moved to the city and wanted to see her. My heart is thudding, I’m sweating again. I didn’t expect this strength of feeling all this time later.
Protected by the radishes, I gaze at her back as she walks to a goat cheese stand. I hear her unmistakable laugh. Even in college her voice was low and rich, and her laugh, though rare, came from someplace deep inside of her. The round, full notes wash over me and bring with them memories of heartbreak and arousal.
She is wearing a brown sundress with feathers on it. She too is sweating, the droplets sliding down her spinal column are going to pass through a rough valley of scar tissue whose origin she would never talk about. In college when most of us were dying to share our pasts, attempting self-definition, she kept silent. It was three years before I realized that I didn’t know ten things about her previous life. I felt guilty that I hadn’t asked and betrayed that she didn’t love me enough to just tell me.
Hesitantly, I step forward to follow her, talk to her, touch her. Too slow. She is rapidly approaching the river of anonymity that defines New York streets. Hesitating has put me in the position of having to call after her. I step forward again.
She stops, turns, I freeze. She’s wearing huge light green sunglasses and though her skin is exposed to the sun I know she is covered in sunscreen. She opens her grocery bag, checking and she says to herself, “Nope. Got them. Pull it together Samantha.” She turns and steps into the river of people. Gone.
I stare at the gap and can’t believe I let her go again, can’t believe I remain unseen.