Flash Fiction: Once I Fell in Time
By Federica Belli.
She couldn’t believe it was time to leave already. That was her place. She raised her gaze. There it was. That tree. Memories rushed before her eyes, too fast to focus on anything specific. Trying to shake away the weariness on her shoulders, she laid back on the chair, mindlessly swinging back and forth as the wind gently blew the last leaves under the porch. A spider slowly made his way up her left leg, sneaking under her skirt. Shivers went down her spine, gazing at the tree they planted together. It somehow seemed to sense it was about to be abandoned, the only symbol left of a family that was slowly but firmly being shattered. Still standing there, a hero becoming aware that the war has been lost but trying to fight that last battle anyway.
Images of those times when it seemed like nothing would ever change came up, stirred in a confused storm. She had put so much energy and passion in building that community. People from all over the world, united by the will to express themselves. To get the best out of each other. Nothing else. And now the only remainder were in her mind.
Warm hands over her shoulders, iced tea poured over rum – that habit she couldn’t get rid of – and cherry pits in the ashtray. The sun setting over the horizon of the porch. Those souls coming together to build a future that now felt more like a childish dream. Her left hand sliding over the forehead, her eyelids suddenly felt heavy. She saw that first night of feeling alive, part of something bigger. Laura dancing barefoot on the sand, Jackson and Elie laying on the grass, mindlessly discussing the way they could make the village more welcoming for other creatives. A way to make everyone feel welcome. The wind kept blowing strands of wet hair in her eyes, still it felt more like a gentle caress. She turned around to find Allie decorating the tree with weirdly coloured socks: “How about making this our tradition? Our own monument. Every month a different theme from our collective life”. She looked up at the sky, an incontrollable stream of laughter coming from within her belly: “I don’t see why not. Totally”.
And there it was, stoically standing in its armour of used bedsheets and scarves.
One last breath. Inhale, exhale. Straightening her skirt, she stood up, her mouth still tasting that iced tea, so vivid and material in the memories. The paintings still hanging on those tiled walls. This was their place, they had the right to stay there. Taking them with her would have left the door open. No. She needed to forget. Everyone had left, it was her time as well. The end of a dream.
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