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.
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.