I’ll readily admit to never being the biggest fan of flash fiction, at least when it comes to writing it. Far too often I find word count restriction doesn’t gel well with the associated prompt. And almost as often I find the end results being a well-meaning, but ultimately missed attempt at recreating “For sale: Baby shoes, never worn” (a bit of flash fiction attributed to Hemingway, though no substantial proof of this exists). And I think the issue lies in the concise nature of the “baby shoes” piece being mistaken for ambiguity.
Ambiguity is a great tool, but one that can easily be misused by those not adept at wielding it–the end-results of which looking as if the writer took a sledgehammer to a larger piece. And for fear of being misunderstood–or worse, leaving the reader confused and forced to cross gaps in the writing–I’d rather forgo a strict word count and flesh-out a story to whatever length it needs to be to minimize (if not outright remove) any gaps that might be present.
That all said, I hope I managed that sledgehammer well here with the precise 200 word count of the provided prompt.
It seems as if I’ve been spending all my life chasing after you in the hope that someday you might slow down long enough for me to find myself at your side.
I dismissed the concerned cries of my family from the sidelines, begging me to slow down and look at the life I was living. They were always so afraid of me looking the fool–I see that now. And I hope they can forgive me for the many miles and many years it took for me to just arrive at this point.
I awoke this morning to find an envelope slipped under my door. In it was a memory card on which my sister had written, PLEASE. And as I sat there at my laptop looking at old photos from a prom, a wedding, countless family holidays, and much more without you at my side, I struggled with the reality that I’d fallen so far off course.
The race is over. I’m tired. My body screams. My mind cries for sleep. And I can’t run after ghosts anymore. I know now that you were never really there.
May we meet somewhere on the edge of sweet oblivion.