Romantic Flash Fiction:
I have discovered that it is sometimes in the strangest of circumstances that an opportunity presents itself. When we least expect it to show up, when we are set in our minds to throw in the towel, when we want nothing anymore to do with the dream, a seemingly random favorable circumstance drops right into our laps and we are stunned at the outcome, as if we are unworthy to receive the vision we imagined in the first place.
I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me back up to the day before she arrived on my doorstep, the day my life changed forever.
It was a cool morning just after the sun was rising over the city, casting its eclectic glow of deep blue over the still, empty streets. I meandered my way past the grocer and inhaled the aroma of freshly brewed coffee from the café down the street. Upon entering the park, I felt like I was in another world all my own. Birds were greeting the day and gathering in trees to find their breakfast, and the gentle spring breeze that fluttered emerald leaves wafted against my back, coercing me along the rustic rocky path that led to the lake in the center of the park.
I sat on a boulder that jutted out of the ground by the water’s edge. As the fog that floated effortlessly over the surface burned off in the warm sunrise, I smiled at a family of ducks that swam in formation, forming a V of water ripples that lapped the shore by where I was sitting. I closed my eyes and breathed in the fresh early morning air.
But then I remembered why I had come. I had often come to this park, but never this early and never for this reason. Without hesitation, I pulled her photo from my pocket and stared at it for a while with a melancholy heart. This was not the way it was supposed to go. The familiar feeling of anger ripped through my soul and, fighting back tears, I quickly ripped the picture into tiny pieces and tossed them out, scattering them on the surface of the lake. So much for romantic love. I had done all I could to win her heart, but in the end, she had broken mine. I walked around the lake that morning, not making it back to my apartment until lunch, contemplating life and relationships and things that made no damn sense.
But it was the very next night, well past midnight by the clock in my kitchen, when I was pouring over papers from work that were spread out on the dinner table, and suddenly I heard the doorbell.
My head turned dubiously to the door. Who in the world…?
I opened the door and smiled in unexpected shock at my neighbor from down the hall. Her name was like a flower, I remembered, but the exact name eluded me. What was surprising was not only the fact that, beautiful as she was, she was knocking on my door after midnight, but the fact that she was dressed in sexy pink lace lingerie. A darker pink robe was draped over her shoulders, and her short curly red hair was a bit disheveled. In a word, I was in love. Well, superficially at least.
She saw me gawking at her pink negligee, and quickly covered up with her robe, a look of sharp dignity covering her face. “I’m… I apologize to bother you at this hour,” she began, “but I saw your light on and… well, to make a long story short, I’ve been locked out of my apartment.”
I grinned. “Well, that’s an easy fix. I’ll just kick it down for you.” I was joking, but by the look on her face, you’d have thought I’d just told her the world was about to implode. “I’m kidding,” I backpedaled sheepishly. “I’ve got some tools inside. Maybe we can try to jimmy it.”
“Well, it’s like this…” she started, blushing at her hesitation, “um, Davey, is it?”
“That’s right,” I smiled sincerely, thrilled that she’d remembered my name. “You’re…”
“Flora Sorrell,” she replied. No hand shakes. Her hands were still holding her robe over her breasts. “It’s just that…” She finally sighed heavily, surrendering to sharing embarrassing news. “My boyfriend locked me out. He was drunk, we got in a fight, and … yeah, so here I am. I’m sorry to put this on you. You’re probably about to go to bed and all, but as you can see I’m kind of desperate. For help, that is,” she added emphatically.
I shrugged. “You’re welcome to borrow my phone. Why don’t you call the police on the guy? Isn’t that your place anyway?”
“Yeah, but,” she replied, “I’m a little under-dressed and already embarrassed enough as it is. I don’t want any more drama for tonight.”
“Then what can I…?” I started before she cut in.
“Could I sleep on your couch tonight?” she asked. “It would only be for the night. In the morning, I’ll call my friend Suzy and she can help me get some clothes. And maybe a lawyer.”
After I smiled as an unspoken agreement to help, she finally smiled back in relief. Her eyes sparkled like shimmering gold flakes and my heart responded by rising like a buoy in deep water. “Why don’t you come in, Flora?” I suggested. “It just so happens, I’m a lawyer.”