Suspended Wonder, a story in progress

by | Apr 12, 2019 | Fiction, Flash fiction | 6 comments

I started this story, currently titled “Suspended Wonder,” last night. Worked a bit more on it more this morning. I don’t know yet if it’s a keeper. Will it find a home in Just in Case, the collection of flash fiction I’m crafting? Please leave a comment and let me know what you think of it. I’ll especially appreciate your perspectives when dediding on the final mix of stories for the book. Initially I thought it would contain 12 tiny stories, all of which I’d already written. Now I expect it’ll contain double that amount, and most will be new.

Note: I’ve done a few rounds of revisions since first posting this story. I think the version you’ll read here now is close to done.

When it’s ready, I’ll give the ebook version of Just in Case to people who join my readers group.

Suspended Wonder

Houseboats moored in the bay. The city hidden in morning fog, or shimmering in sunlight so sublime you squeezed my shoulder to make sure we weren’t dreaming. We sped back and forth with romantic notions of redwood cathedrals, seals barking on the Farallons, sand dollars on the beach. We thrilled at the sight of headlands rising, the luscious landscapes unfolding beyond. And there was the bridge itself, an engineering marvel, a suspended wonder.

Didn’t we want to see it up close? We’d driven it countless times but never done the walk. It was about time, we said, and chose a day so brisk a gust tore away my favorite hat. It was taupe, polished cotton, with a two-inch brim decorated with a clump of plastic cherries. They looked good enough to eat as the hat twirled down to choppy water.

The wind calmed. We held hands and walked on, eager to traverse the span at long last, knowing we could savor the views for as long as we liked. But with each step the urge to linger faded. You wheezed, snorted. I sniffed, coughed. You pulled a handkerchief from your pocket to dab my watering eyes.  I put my palms on your chest and tucked in, gagging.

All the while cars, trucks, vans, buses and motorcycles burped, groaned and rattled on. The cacophony compelled me to follow the hat, to escape from a civilization always barging through, never still enough to embrace peace.

I wrenched away and leaned over the rail, wondering whether I’d die on impact as I extended my hands into the salt air. You stretched down and touched your cheek to mine. “It’s all about compromise, ” you whispered, breaking the spell. 

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6 Comments

  1. Catherine Lanser

    So much emotion in such a short story. You definitely have a talent for this form.

  2. Laura

    Thank you, Cathy. I’m writing new stories for a free ebook for people who sign up for my readers group. I want to make it really special with more new stories than old. I’ll probably do a paperback too to sell online. I’m taking a break from working on my novel because it’s with beta readers right now. It’s a great opportunity to create a new giveaway. I hope I can keep writing flash fiction when I resume work on the novel and have finished work on the giveaway book, because then I could submit stories to lit zines that specialize in flash fiction and see how that goes.

  3. Marie Judson

    Great scenes in your inimitable pithy style. I hope following the hat didn’t mean jumping from the bridge!

  4. Laura

    Thank you, Marie. I appreciate your stopping by and am uplifted by your describing my style as “inimitable” and “pithy.” I expanded the story yesterday evening after our critique group to have them walk a little bit before the traffic gets to them. I don’t envision them jumping from the bridge, and am going to continue working on this because I don’t think it’s quite right yet. I do want it to be clear in the end that they don’t jump.

  5. Susan Dacenko Callis

    Dear Laura,

    Its such a pleasure to read this story in progress. Thank you for being will to share, even before its completion. I am curious about this interlude of these characters. Are they like ships passing in the mist? Each to embark upon their own paths, after the bridge has been crossed?

  6. Laura

    Thank you for asking about the characters in the story, Susan. I envision them as either two close friends or a couple. Either way, their lives are entwined in my imagination. But nothing in the story addresses that, so they could be two strangers on the bridge. I’m going to re-read the story, which is now included in the collection Just In Case, and see if envisioning them as strangers causes the story to work on me in a different way.

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