Flash Fiction by Carrie Lynne Hawthorne
Sunlight streams across the packed soccer field, swarms of gnats lit like fireflies. Families having barbeques, an AA meeting, a HIIT class. The smell of pollen in the air. The sound of swings clanking on the playground. Children chasing balls around.
I get in line at the cart that sells elote. I watch the elotero load margarine, mayo, cotija, and Tajin on an ear of street corn and hand it to a young man. He sinks his teeth into it, closing his eyes. His girlfriend bites the other side. I could almost forget you no longer have a body. I wish you could taste the sweetness of early summer oozing.
Your dad comes up behind me and tickles my sides. I look up into his face. Mossy green eyes, swollen from insomnia and late night tears when he thinks I’m asleep in the next room. His beard brushes my nose as he kisses my forehead. “Can I buy you some corn?”
I brace my arms over my chest and I hug myself. Silent tears behind sunglasses.
He uncrosses my arms and laces his through mine, lifting me gently for a moment.
I take off my sunglasses and peer at him. He wipes my eyes with his soft hands. Teacher’s hands that play lullabies on my old guitar.
“Daniel,” I say.
“Do you believe he’s gone?” I look around. Everything I see reminds me of you. He doesn’t respond, instead strokes my cheek.
“I love it when you smile. You’re too serious sometimes.”
“I’ve missed the sun. It’s been so long since I really saw it.”