There were so many great flash fiction stories entered into the “I knew it was a mistake the moment it was over” Summer Flash Fiction Contest that judging had to be extended. In the meantime, some stories didn’t follow the theme of the contest but were so good I wanted to share them with you anyway.
This short short is by Rose O’Kaye. Enjoy!
Q & A
Gracie experienced adolescence at the hands of parents who wanted nothing more for her than a good marriage. Unfortunately, she was pudgy and bookish, so her parents pushed her toward the acceptable alternative: “Go to college. Just in case you don’t get married, you can always teach.”
She met Denny in Sociology 101. He was everything Gracie wanted in a husband: cute, funny, smart, a great dancer. They had fun together: smoking pot, going to movies and parties, having sex. She thrilled to the feeling of his hands stroking every inch of her body as he murmured how sexy she was.
When the economy took a nosedive, Denny’s parents cut back his tuition money; he didn’t have enough to attend school fulltime. Gracie reckoned that their future together relied on his having a college degree and she gladly dropped out of school and found a job to pay his tuition. She invited him to share her apartment as well. He accepted.
Living together without benefit of marriage was considered immoral by both their families. Her mom kept cautioning, “A man won’t buy the cow when he can get the milk for free.” Gracie didn’t care what her mother, or anyone else felt or said. She knew she was on the path to marriage and happiness.
At Gracie’s urging, Denny finished his degree. She was giddy with the knowledge she would finally begin achieving her goals. It was a rare day when she didn’t say to him, “When you find a good job, we’ll buy a little house and start our family.”
The days, however, turned into months that turned into a year, and then another year. He never could keep a job. One evening, she rushed down the hallway of their apartment to greet him, but saw his slumped shoulders, his downcast gaze. He had just lost, quit, could not find (pick one) another job. Her heart sank . . . again.
He looked up at her with narrowed eyes. “Why do you love me?”
She embraced him tenderly and in her most caring, cheerful and confidence-building way, said, “I love you for your potential.”
He broke out of her arms, hands to his head, crying, “My potential! Why can’t you love me for myself?”
Gracie dropped her arms to her sides and stared at him. Did she? She had always seen her future so clearly, for such a long time. She shook her head in dismay. She had never asked that question before and, suddenly, she knew the reason why. She didn’t like the answer.
Thanks to Rose and all who sent their flash fiction pieces into the contest.
Stay tuned next week as we post the top five stories,
including the grand prize winner who will receive $100!