Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers : A disappointing ten years

This week’s photo prompt is provided by shivamt25. Thank you shivamt25 for our prompt!


 

I see him as I stand at the cafe counter, waiting for my name to be called.

Designer sunglasses, designer jeans ripped at the knees, the thread turned to tassels. An empty cup on the table, brown with dried froth. He’s thumbing his phone screen, scrolling, scrolling.

The barrista hands me my coffee but I don’t move. She gives me a curious look but moves onto the next customer. I let the buzz of customers buffet me until I sway.

Ten years.

The floppy fringe is the same, a dapple of grey now in the brown. There’s a looseness about his jawline that I don’t recognise, but he’s disappointingly trim, a natural bronze to his skin that suits him.

I’m surprised. Not just that I’m seeing him again when I thought I never would, but that he looks so well, so at ease. I imagined the guilt would follow him all his life, be etched on his flesh, written in those hidden hazel eyes.

I wonder if he even remembers.

 


Written for  FFfAW. See the pic and write a tale – see here to join in.

What do you imagine the guilty man has done? Do leave me some ideas in the comment section.

30 thoughts on “Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers : A disappointing ten years

  1. A great introspective piece. Perhaps whatever happened effected her more than him. Or maybe as a guy h doesn’t think about what he did as much. Or as left the last behind. Your piece makes me very curious about what happened.

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  2. Sometimes when you write, you put in a sentence that introduces a minor chord in mood, I like that the ambiguity leaves us to fill in the gaps… there’s some intimate treason between these two.

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    1. Ooh, ‘intimate treason’ – what a grand phrase that is! Thank you Pola. Yes, you’re right, something nasty has happened, something he could walk away from unbowed but that has left its scar on her. I dread to think what that might have been. Thanks so much for reading 🙂

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      1. It’s a dubious pleasure as ever,,, if you know what I mean! I actually had to deal with a delivery of a book called ‘Intimate Treason’ back in my bookshop days, it’s a book dealing with the psychological effects of rape. With my magic bipolar empath powers that was not a nice book to have stacked around in huge quantities. But I agree, a very apt phrase.

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  3. I’m guessing he brushed her off when they were at school together, perhaps even unaware she had such a crush on him. In other words, the guilt is all in her mind, and he is completely oblivious that he ever did anything wrong at all. That also stems from the title as well, I think the narrator is the one with the issues. 🙂

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    1. I think you’re right that he has walked away unscathed while she harbours some scars. I thought the title could be read a couple of ways – that her ten years have been disappointing but alsi that they’ve been disappointingly kind to him! Thanks for the thoughtful reply Iain 🙂

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    1. Thank you, Helen. Pola put it very well – an ‘intimate betrayal’ I think, whether physical or emotional. Something that’s left more of a mark on her than him, that’s for sure. Thanks so much for reading 🙂

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  4. Excellent, I guess maybe we know where the guilt and etched flesh might be, or maybe not.

    Wouldn’t that be something to have happen unexpectedly. I’m trying to think of someone in my past I would like to have this happen with.

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    1. On the – very rare – occasion when I have met someone from my past, it is truly cringeworthy. Though I think it might be worth it with one particular ex, who I’m told is quite overweight and has aged very badly. Excuse my delight in this, but he was not a nice man! 🙂

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    1. Some people are good at shedding what they don’t need or what doesn’t suit them to remember I think. Who wants to feel guilty when you could just shake all that off and start anew? Thanks for reading PJ

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    1. So true, Chris. I remember certain things from childhood very differently from my brother who is 3 years older. Memory is imperfect and that’s before we even get started on self-deception! Thanks so much for reading 🙂

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  5. That’s a nice vignette, though you baited me with your title 🙂 … my mind just goes to one-night stand, but I’m simple and base, and not 100% awake. But lovely piece! Lovely way to wake up, to follow that metaphor there!

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    1. Thanks Bill. Could always be a one night stand, you’re right. Something intimate and hurtful. Easy to hurt someone when they have a lot invested in you. Thanks for reading and sleep-commenting. 🙂

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  6. It’s unfortunate she was once again reminded of her bad experience with him, and even more unsettling that he still looks good, but that happens in life and we don’t always know just what kind of life they have lived even though it appears from just sight, that everything is wonderful.

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