Aleli Dezmen/Corbis

#FFF51: Let’s get you home

I've started to forget things lately and it scares me.

The words were the first to go, which was at once disconcerting and unbelievable because I’m a writer, and words don’t fail writers unless it’s writers’ block and I didn't have writers’ block, so maybe I was just tired. I got so used to having them around, so used to reaching up into the trees and plucking them like ripe fruit, that when I had to grope around, I found myself losing balance.

Losing the words was like losing breath.

It was like that time I left my hardcover copy of the Concise Oxford English Dictionary on the bench at school, rushing off, hair ribbons flying, to climb into the car because my father was already late and I was the last one there. There was nothing concise about that book. The thief had to have Intention. It wasn't there the next day or in the lost and found or in the school library. When I asked what a word meant, there was nowhere for my father to send me to “look it up.” I was lost and out of breath.

At first I started translating the lost word like it was a foreign language. The thing you wear on your ear is an earring. Now use in conversation. “Nice earrings!” When that stopped working I tried to come at it sideways. The thing you do with a Frisbee in the park. It rhymes with boss. Then I worked my way down the alphabet. Floss, gloss, loss, moss, toss. Toss! “Here comes the toss!” I’d yell, seemingly effortlessly.

I was driving home from work, down the street I drove every day, checking off the traffic lights one by one as the sky turned orange and purple. Then I couldn't remember what number I was on or how many were left. I’d never seen the strip malls before or the gas station on the corner.

I pulled in and pulled out my phone and scrolled through to my most recent call. Andy. I waited in silence, windows up, breathing in my own exhales. A man rapped on the window and I jumped. “Let’s get you home,” Andy said softly, as if coaxing a wounded animal. I saw the sadness in his eyes and I imagine he must have seen the fear in mine.

This is a work of fiction. Flash Fiction Friday is a weekly writing prompt exercise led by Elisha Bartels. She posts them on Fridays to her blog and social media and writers use the trigger words to write a short piece of fiction. They post to their space and share with Elisha, tagging others in the group where possible. It’s no pressure and fun and always great to see everyone’s approach. Feel free to join in!

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