Flash Fiction Friday: The Lagoon
Read my fiction after the jump...
It hadn’t rained in weeks and the water level of the lagoon was alarmingly low. Before, the brackish water would overflow and flood the bordering road but now whatever remaining moisture had been sucked out of the sand and the egrets landed amongst the exposed reeds, looking confused.
You were confused, too. For the past week you had been fixated on her. You’d met up with her at a café to organize the next luncheon but instead you had talked about your shared interests in surrealist art and Steinbeck novels. The next day you called me up and told me you would have never guessed how smart she was and how you had never really noticed the half-dimples in her cheeks when she smiled. What you didn’t say was how you’d felt when those half-dimples flashed in response to something you had said. But I inferred.
You couldn’t sleep that night, so instead you reread The Pearl because she’d said she’d liked it. And the next night you read Travels with Charley and didn’t sleep a wink, either. When I found you, you’d been awake for ninety hours straight. It was lucky the lagoon was so dry that season or else you would have been walking in waist-deep water. But you were on dry land, thank God.
—Are you all right?
—I have — do you see that green — is it time to go?
—Yes. Why don’t you get up. Let’s walk to the car.
—You know Steinbeck had a — Rodanthe? No, Rochefort — Ro — ouch —
—Get up, please. You need to shower.
—I haven’t seen her eyes so... so... What’s so sandy, why are my... Oh.
—Brush it off and walk with me. Oops, sorry, is your foot okay?
—But you know I think today she’d have his awful dog big — big... dog? What?
You were delirious and covered in silt, but your smile was so clear and bright I couldn’t fault you for it. You’d never before felt so strongly for anyone, even when you were well rested, and you were sure she was meant for you. I believe you reread The Grapes of Wrath in those four days, too, straight through, but I’m quite sure you didn’t remember a word of it. I rummaged in your cabinets and found some old sleeping pills, or maybe they were painkillers, there were two kinds in the bottle and I gave you two blue ones. Either they worked or your fatigue finally won out; you slept for a long time and were confused again when you woke up but you could word your phrases right. You told me again about her, this time coherently, and I tried to remain enthusiastic for your sake but honestly I didn’t know what to tell you. You were bent on reading everything she’d mentioned, including Bréton’s surrealist manifesto, so that when you met her at the luncheon on Sunday you could impress her and perhaps ask her out on a real date. The series of subsequent events was clear in your mind. I didn’t know how to break it to you. I guess you had been too enamored of her half-dimples to see the new sparkle on her finger. I let you read Bréton and Cocteau. When you got back from the bookstore you wrinkled your nose and closed the windows, complaining cheerfully of the stench from the lagoon.