Show of hands, how many of you know what flash fiction is? I’m guessing maybe some of you but probably not a majority. Flash fiction is simply a complete story told in under 1,000 words. That’s usually less than 2 pages guys. Kinda crazy, right? While I haven’t written any flash fiction in a long time, there was a period when that was pretty much all I would write because it’s all I had time for. When my youngest was still a baby, the only time I could carve out for any type of creative fiction writing was when I was nursing her in the rocking chair in the little corner of our bedroom. I’d pull out my phone and open the Notes app. One arm cradling my baby and the other hand cradling my phone, I’d type out flash fiction stories with my on the smart phone’s keyboard.
I’ve decided to revisit that time and share with you one of those stories. It’s called HOMECOMING and I wrote it even before we were a military family, way back in 2015.
Nine months, two weeks, five days.
But no more counting. No more red Xs on the calendar. No more marking time.
My heart fluttered and a smile–a real smile–pulled at the corners of my mouth as anticipation zinged through my veins.
I surveyed the clothes hanging in the closet with a critical eye. Yoga pants and a sweatshirt wouldn’t cut it today. I needed breathless. Memorable. I ran a hand down a slinky red number. Would it still fit? My eyes flitted to the mirror above the dresser. He’d last seen me with a flat stomach and perky body. Now a poochy middle sagged over the top of flannel pajamas. My bottom lip worried between my teeth before pushing back joy-sucking thoughts of body image. Eyes back to the closet, I lifted a black A-line dress and paired it with a thin red belt and matching peep-toe pumps.
The soft cries of a newborn beckoned me to the nursery. I scooped up the baby, my Amanda Grace, and held her close, swaying and bouncing. “Shhh baby girl, Mama’s got you.” Even at three weeks old she looked like her daddy. Same cleft chin, same wide-set eyes.
I placed Amanda Grace in her car seat and hooked the diaper bag over my shoulder. The sun shone bright in the sky as I shut the front door behind me. It was as if the celestial orb smiled down on the day. What wasn’t there to smile about? My own cheeks pleasantly ached from the grin that split my face whenever my mind repeated the mantra today is the day, today is the day.
I pulled the minivan into a parking spot and took a deep breath. My heart beat wildly and my hands trembled. I’d thought about this moment a million times.
Baby girl snoozed in her car seat so I left her buckled in and hefted the thing in the crook of my arm. Men and women, boys and girls flooded into the large auditorium. The air buzzed with excitement, and I set the car seat on the concrete floor. The back door burst open and the sound of hundreds of synchronized boots stomping swelled the space.
Up on tiptoes, I tried to peek around the bald head of the man in front of me. A glimpse, I searched in desperation. A sea of fatigues, a body of one. But one was all I looked for.
The order “fall out” rang from the sergeant’s mouth, and all who’d been standing as statues came to life. Shouts. Laughter. My eyes scanned the crowd. Where was he? I clutched my hand over my heart.
Dear God, please.
Chocolate brown eyes caught mine.
Time stood at attention, unmoving.
He wove in and out of bodies, his eyes sparkling and his face creased in a wide smile. Moisture collected in the corner of my eye, and I blinked it back. I didn’t want anything to distort this perfect moment. In front of me he paused, and then wrapped strong arms around my waist and twirled me in a circle. Homecoming…for the both of us. I buried my face in his neck, my hands raked through his buzzed hair. He set me back on my feet, but didn’t let go. Eyes roamed over my face—I was soaked in.
Blankets rustled and a small whimper pulled my focus down. I bent, gathered up baby girl, and cradled her in my arms. Turning, I met his glossy gaze, his hand cupped over an open mouth.
Emotion clogged my throat. “Meet your daughter.”
This is a picture that was taken on our own Homecoming Day when my husband came back for his first deployment. We’re gearing up for round two so would covet your prayers.
So, what do you think of flash fiction? Was this your first flash fiction story or had you read others before?
That was so good! You got all the emotions just right! I was thinking that an author must have excellent pen craftsmanship to write such a short story and you certainly nailed it.
Aww thanks. :)
Milla Holt says
I love it! You did such a great job.
I’m actually taking part in a flash fiction challenge right now that’s stretching my abilities. We’re trying to produce stories with different word counts: 100, 50, even 35 and just 6. It’s really hard to do with romance.
The story is told of Ernest Hemingway, when challenged to write a story in 6 words, replied with “For sale: Baby shoes, Never used.” Along that pattern: “Wanted: one ballet slipper and hope.”
Milla Holt says
That’s wonderful, Lincoln!
Laurie Larsen says
Beautiful Sarah. Just beautiful!
Beth Westcott says
Beautiful story. Thank you for sharing.
Hi Sarah, that was great! I’ve never heard of flash fiction before, it sounds really interesting though and I’d love to read more. It must be so challenging to get enough into that short word count to capture mood, emotion and plot but you manage it really well. Thanks very much for sharing today.
It’s definitely a different type of writing
Kathleen Mattingly says
Loved the story. I have read flash fiction. Short and sweet! I’m amazed at how people can just put words together to make a story. Pretty creative !!
Our brains are weird. ;) just kidding…sort of. Heehee
Alicia Haney says
Good morning Sarah, I had never heard of flash fiction! I love your story, different emotions were felt by me! What a beautiful story you wrote I loved it, Thank you so much for sharing it. Have a great day and a great weekend. Please Thank your husband for his service and for keeping us all safe. God Bless you and your family. I will keep you all in my prayers.
Thank you so much!
Though I had heard of flash fiction, I had never heard it properly defined nor seen an example. That was beautiful, Sarah, just beautiful.
Bonnie Heringer says
That was a beautiful story. I have never heard of flash fiction. Thank you for this one. And Happy Veteran’s Day to your husband (and you, too).
Thanks for reading!
This is awesome! I write flash fiction too! I have almost 40 stories.
Oh wow! That’s a lot!
Debra Pruss says
Thank you so much for sharing. This is my first flash fiction story. It is wonderful. God bless you.
Flash fiction can be fun!
Debra Pruss says
This is the first time I read flash fiction. It was marvelous. Thank you so much for sharing. God bless you.
Thanks for stopping by and reading!