Flash fiction – 497 words
That’s me on the porch of that old holiday rental. Remember that place? The psychedelic sixties colours? That kitchen – cracked brown laminate posing as wood plastered on the cupboards and the tiny orange bench where you could barely fit two dinner plates side by side. Remember when you convinced Mum to cook that fish I caught and the whole place stunk for days? We had to leave all the windows open, but the heat trapped the smell in the very fabric of the furniture. Remember how Dad called it the ‘delicate perfume of Eau De Fish Stink’?
That’s the Christmas you got the camera. It went with you everywhere that summer. No matter where we went, you insisted on stopping to take pictures. Look, there’s you with the camera. Dad snapped that when you weren’t looking. He thought it was so funny to take a picture of you taking a picture. It’s one of Dad’s better snaps, you’ve got to admit. The golden glow of the setting sun behind you turns your hair into an aura, makes you look mysterious and otherworldly.
Here’s one of me and Mum eating ice cream. Remember how you used to tease me about how many flavours there were but I always chose vanilla? You always chose different ones each time. You said that it was our responsibility to try them all because the next flavour might be the actual best flavour in the world.
I hate this picture. I didn’t even know that you’d taken it. Remember those kids next door? They had bikes they rode to the beach instead of trudging along that hot bitumen road for half an hour like we had to. We were so jealous. Remember that? We never did find out where they went that day. But they left their bikes out the front and I said we should take them. You weren’t game but I got on the biggest reddest bike and pedalled around and around in circles. That’s when you took this. Look at me. All soft and doughy around the middle, like underbaked bread. No, I can’t look at that one.
This is a really nice one of Mum and Dad. Remember how Dad used to say Mum’s heart-shaped face meant she was destined to be loved? She was so pretty but her mind was razor-sharp, right to the end. You used to say that Mum was the smartest of all of us. Remember that? Dad pretended to be offended but he really agreed.
You look so much like her. I look at you, sitting there, silent and still, and I see her and I see us and I remember the good times. I wish you remembered us, but I don’t know if you do. If there are any thoughts in there, they are as thick as honey on a winter’s morning, sluggish and reluctant to flow.
Anyway, I’ll be back tomorrow. I’ll bring some more memories and remember them for you.