Flash Fiction

The Colors of the World Will Be Bright

—Michael Dickel

I look at the time on my phone.

“Time to get the girl,” I think.

So sit up in bed, swing my legs over the side, and put on my shoes.

I see my wife working on her computer as I walk into the living room. I don’t work much these days, but sometimes I still write. No one pays me to write. Probably no one will read most of what I write. No one wants to hear what’s inside of me. 

But there is my wife, working away on her computer. Remote work they call it.

“I’m going to get Maria.”

She doesn’t try to explain to me any more or to convince me not to go. And out of gratitude, I no longer act confused, as though I don’t understand her. I know things are not the same anymore.

She just nods with a subdued yet pleasant, “Thank you.”

On my way out of our building, I notice that a blue iris now blooms next to the yellow one that opened yesterday. Walking down the sidewalk, I take in the dark-red roses proliferating next door. 

These flowering primary colors could combine to make all the colors of the world. And mixing the three with white borrowed from clouds’ sorrow covers the world in gray.

I arrive at the school and sit on the bench next to the parking lot, where Maria would come to find me. I see the children now coming out of the school, quieter than last year. I close my eyes and let the warmth melt my restless mind while I hear classmates talking.

I look for Maria in my memory. She will find me.

But I can’t stop imagining the angry young man with an AR 15 who sprayed her classroom with bullets. What did he make of how his bullets blossomed red on the young bodies? Of the spreading roses on my Maria, as she bled to death on the floor?

Every day, I sit here on this bench. One day, I imagine, Maria will walk up to me with a big smile and say, “hi.”

If that time comes, the sky will be cloudless. We will walk together, looking at flowers, the sun warm. I will point out to her the rainbow that a glass corner of the ice cream shop refracts onto the sidewalk.

The colors of the world will be bright.

Text and photos ©2023 Michael Dickel

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