#1 Flash Fiction B&W Challenge
Event: 500 Word Snatch
Location: Book Island
Host: Harriet Gausman
Virtual Writer's Prompt: Your plane crashes into a frozen wasteland. There are few survivors.
Time: 30 mins
She sat at the table of the Italian café. Months had passed since the crash. She could still feel the cold under her bare feet. It seemed ridiculous to remember it, but kept thinking about her shoes lost in that wasteland forever.
It takes time, they said, to heal. She knew that to be true. Yet, there she was, sitting at the table of the Italian café, staring at her phone, unsure of whether to call him or simply forget about it.
“Thank you, Luigi.”
“Prego, Signorina,” replied the owner’s son, after placing a fresh cup of coffee in front of her. He was in his late forties, as she was too. They had known each other since the beginning of time. His father, Don Amato, opened the place when he arrived from Sicily, back in the 50’s. “Can I get you anything else?”
“No, thank you. I’m good, Luigi. I’m not really that hungry today.”
Luigi stood next to her table for a few minutes. She knew he wouldn’t walk away as long as she didn’t explain what was happening to her. And she didn’t feel like explaining. She didn’t feel like talking. Paradoxically, she didn’t feel like being in silence either. She didn’t feel like staying or going home.
“I’m ok, really.”
Luigi shifted the weight of his body to the other leg and tilted his head sideways.
“I am,” she tried to sound sincere, but the hesitation in her voice betrayed her.
“Is it still the crash?” he asked, pulling up a chair and sitting down.
It was. “I don’t know how to explain it, really… There is this sort of melancholy, you know, it takes over from inside. There’s no real reason to be sad. Nothing happened to make me feel discouraged about life. I survived a terrible accident. Many died. If anything, I should be happy to have missed such a close call.”
He nodded and slowly gathered the grains of sugar on the table onto a small mound.
“But here I am, feeling distraught and lonely. You know I have a wonderful family and an amazing group of friends. They have been there for me all along. However, that doesn’t help at all…”
“And how about… him?”
Luigi knew about the man who pulled her out of the plane, the screams of other passengers trapped at the back as the emergency doors got jammed by the impact; he knew about their feeble attempt to save each other and pull each other back towards a life that would feel normal. He knew about their failure.
“I haven’t talked to him in a long time.”
“I…” She didn’t really know why not. They had drifted away as the months went on. “We stopped calling each other. I guess I reminded him of what happened.”
Luigi glanced at her. She had changed. She looked the same, but she had changed. As always, she was impeccably dressed with the latest fashion, but her eyes would get lost somewhere behind Luigi’s left shoulder, beyond the window of the café, beyond the building across the street. She was wearing a necklace that resembled a snake and that made Luigi feel terribly uncomfortable.
“No, no, Luigi. I thought about it just now, but… no.”
The other customers left to their own fortune were growing impatient. She pointed at them.
She grabbed her phone and selected the number. “It’s ringing.” It rang for a long time until someone finally picked up.
“Could I speak to Logan, please?”
A long silence ensued during which her eyes got lost once more, beyond reality.
When she hung up, not another word uttered, she looked for the number in the phone’s agenda and deleted it.
“What did he say?” asked Luigi.
“He told me to leave him alone.”
Luigi stood up, put the chair back in place and walked away. Their relationship was based on the acceptance that there was absolutely no need for social politeness.
She stood up and followed him behind the counter. She felt like breaking their lifelong agreement. “Thank you, Luigi.”
He smiled and handed her a box.
“Open it when you get home.”
It was a cake, a birthday cake. The candle bore the number “1”. On the top of the cake, she could read “You need only yourself”.
She went to the drawer of her nightstand and grabbed the small plastic container. Then headed to the bathroom and emptied it in the toilet, flushing away weeks of planning and saving sleeping pills for that one last night she would never wake up from.
The next morning, she would sit down at the Italian café, have a cup of coffee and a slice of her cake. She would take one for Luigi as well. He would like that.