Trying to find the words, she carelessly fumbled through the worn pages of The Sound and the Fury. It was an object that gave her some reprieve from her own heart in conflict with itself. Just holding the book made her feel confident that the words would materialize into sound. The voices hushed in mid-sentence, their erring irises ebbed in silence. They sat around a small unfinished oak table as she walked back into the kitchen.
“This will be it,” she said. Then, taking a deep breath she continued, “I’ve decided.”
A four-year-old girl played with a toy fire truck under the small wooden table next to a large three panel window. The early morning sunlight diffused through the dark chocolate colored curtains. In the silence, the toy’s plastic tires squeaked across the linoleum floor. Finally, an older lady seated at the table spoke.
“It’s not just your decision I can’t see how you think it is?”
“I’ve decided,” Candace said. “I need your support. If this is going turn into another argument, I’ll leave right now.” Candace moved toward the child. “Come on Sadie, come with momma.”
“Leave her alone!” said the other person at the table, a man with grey peppered specks in neatly combed hair. The older lady spoke once again.
“Henry, calm down. Candace isn’t going to do anything. She’s going to sit down, and we are all going to talk about this. Isn’t that right Candace?”
Sadie, surprised by the sudden outburst, looked up at her mother. Candace was only an arm’s length away from her daughter when Henry stepped between them. He then spoke in a quite unwavering voice.
“You’re not taking her anywhere. You need help Candace.” Henry said as he moved toward her. Jeanie, the lead nurse was standing in the hall with an aluminum cart filled with little plastic cups containing various colored pills.
“Come on Delores Sadie’s here she brought her husband with her. Come on, don’t you want to see your beautiful daughter?” Slowly, Delores picked the book up again. “She came all the way from Houston” Jeanie said. “Can you at least look at me?”
“Henry wouldn’t let me go. He wouldn’t let me see my baby,” Delores said in a quivering voice.
“Who’s Henry? Ms. Delores, are you going to come or not?” Jeanie said. After a minute of lingering silence, the nurse started to leave. “Fine. I’ll tell her you don’t feel up to having company today.” In silence once again, wheels squeaked as Jeanie continued her rounds down the linoleum corridor.
Matthew Guzman is currently in the graduate program (English) at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He also teaches Developmental English at Northwest Vista College. Matthew has recently had a poem chapbook entitled Interstice published.
Lyle Rosdahl, a writer living in San Antonio, edits the flash fiction blog & best of in print for the Current. He created, facilitates and participates in Postcard Fiction Collaborative, a monthly flash fiction response to a photo. You can see more of his work, including photos, paintings and writing, at lylerosdahl.com.
Send your flash to firstname.lastname@example.org.