Congratulations to Jessica Eiler, who wrote the community’s favorite story from the January Shenanigans Flash Fiction Project. She receives the hilarious novel There Goes the Galaxy by Jenn Thorson. See below for Jessica’s winning entry:
I watched them approach through the dancing flakes, the three of them laughing and jostling as they tugged their collars up against the cold. I pressed myself against the iron bars of the fence beside me, praying for the semi-darkness and the swirl of flakes to obliterate my presence.
I hadn’t seen Toby in months.
I watched him as he and his friends made their way up the block, slowly becoming shadows in the looming dusk.
One of his friends must have cracked a joke; suddenly Toby threw his head back and laughed. The long, rolling laugh which had carried across the bar to where my friends and I had been ensconced in the shadows, sharing a drink and a pity. The laugh tugged at something deep within me and I shuddered, burrowing closer to the fence.
They were now merely yards away. I stood in the shadows, indecisive, unnerved. Should I speak to him? The ending hadn’t been…pleasant. I had just made up my mind (slink away with my tail between my legs) when I heard his phone ring.
“Hey babe. What’s up? We still on for dinner?”
Any words that I could have summoned crumbled to dust in my mouth. Something…I think something died within me. I shrank against the fence, caged by the iron, their proximity, and my fear.
There he was. His profile was the same, yet different. There was no tension there, no tightening of the jaw, not like I’d seen before…
I closed my eyes as they passed, turned my face to the fence, used my hair, the snow, the darkness as a curtain to hide my hurt and shame.
I was invisible.
From behind me, I heard a voice. “Hey Toby. Wasn’t that your ex-fiancee?”
I turned away, fled down the block, the loitering flakes and a whispered “Kara” remaining behind as the three continued their journey through the city.