FLASH FICTION - THE DAY
Today is the day that air mail first commenced. Today is the day that my car broke down. Today is the day that she left. Today is the day that everything went wrong. Today is the day that things finally started going right. 1919. 2002. 1997. 2005. It's a nexus. The day that everything converges, and then falls apart. Every year, it builds, every year anticipation takes the reigns, and all logic, hope, truth... drifts away. Today is the day when the diagnosis came back negative. Today is the day when they told me there is no cure. Today is the day I took my first steps. Today is the day that I knew I would make no more. 2006. 2007. 1980. 2008. Beginnings and endings, each twirled as if to make the ugliest piece of whirlyart out of my life. Our of that one day in my life. Today is the day I heard about that job. Today is the day that she came back. Today is the day that truth became lies. Today is the day that doesn't matter much to anyone else. 1999. 2001. 2003. 1984. So, then, here I stand, today. The today today, facing the future, and facing the past. Every one of those things happened on today, just not, today. So, I decide, this year, this time, today will be nothing more than just today. Just another in a never ending string of faceless, meaningless days. I call in sick to work. I turn off my phone, unplug the internet. Today will be the day that nothing happens. I turn off the tv. I close the door to my room tight, and pull the comforter over my head. I close my eyes, and, for once, I sleep.
The pounding starts not soon after that. The pound pound pound pound on the wall. The drilling. The hammering. I place my palm on the wall next to me, and feel every tiny shockwave from the hammer, and the shrill vibrations of the drill. I don't care, today is the day that nothing much happened. Today is the day that I'm going to have a regular day like everybody else in the world. Today is the day.
The pounding stops before noon. I start to drift back to sleep. I'm woken to heavy steps, and the sound of sobbing. The sobbing of a woman. A girl. Next door. I've met her once or twice, I've watched her a few times other than that. She's not pretty. Not traditionally, but what does that mean anyways? She never smiled. But, neither did I. She never laughed, but, then, neither do I.
We rode the train to downtown together once. Together, but not. We found ourselves both walking towards the station at the same time. Then we found ourselves riding the same train, in the same car, and sitting next to each other in silence. We both got out in downtown, we both walked to the library, up the long steps, and into the new wing. I looked at her, for just a second, and she caught me. We both smiled, and continued walking. I cleared my throat to speak, and she looked at me with her wide brown eyes.
She smiled a halfway vacant smile. That was not today. That was a different day. We ran into each other a few more times, and smiled quietly to each other when we did. And now, she's crying in the next room. I touch my hand to the wall, as if to send comfort through the drywall dividing us. And then I remembered. Today is the day that nothing much happened. Today is the day that I heard my neighbor cry through the wall is dangerously close to something. I pull the pillow over my head, and start to drift off once again.
The thud shook the whole building, and I woke up instantly. I suppose I knew what the sound was, it was a little over a hundred pounds of meat falling hard. But, Today is the day that nothing much happened, really. So I ignore it. I ignore the whining sound of something swinging. I ignore the incessant phone ringing through the wall. I ignore the sound of a door being kicked in. I ignore the sound of the police and a sobbing mother, and the confused yelps of my neighbors cat, staring at the scene before her. I ignore the sound of the cart wheeling my neighbors body out of her apartment, and down the steps, into the court yard, and out to the meat wagon parked out front.
Today is the day that nothing much happened. Nothing but the girl who maybe I liked, who maybe I could've loved, who maybe was the one I was meant to be with, hung herself from the wooden beams in her apartment.
Today is the day.
Joshua Hale Fialkov Los Angeles, CA 3-3-09