Friday, January 16, 2015

Renee's Dash (Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge)

Sometimes it seems to me as if I was a teenager last week, newly-married yesterday, and woke up this morning suddenly old. That youngster, fresh to the world, lives in me still, but lately is having problems bringing insights and energy to old problems.

Adding to this sense of abrupt senescence is my recent foray into teaching senior drivers safe driving practices. It is far too easy to think of ways the challenges of older drivers apply to me! Although this helps my presentation of the safety techniques ring true for my students, it is dismaying to realize how much my own abilities have changed.

I clearly remember being a 20-something student engineer, looking forward to realize that I would be almost a half-century old at the change of the millennium, and thinking how old I would be then. A decade-plus past that age, I still look forward to signal years and think, "How old I will be then."

Because now is never old, it's always later on. Until life's end, it's always later on.

Well into this retrospective mood, I checked the weekly Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge, and found a prompt that feeds well from that sense of fleeting, yet unchanging, time:

January 14, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a life span. It can [be] a life of a person as if flashing by or the life of a honey bee. What key elements would show a lifetime in brevity? Does it add to a character’s development or create tension? What is the emotion or is it void?

The human life span is so subjective; it seems a moment long and a lifetime long, however short its existence. And so my flash response is a dash, indeed:

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Renee's Dash

Renee rocks; she has discovered her toes. 

She stumbles often; walking with halting steps. 

Renee runs through life. Her boundless energy takes her to school, church, the park where she swings up to the sky.

Renee dances everywhere; her entrechats and battements are perfection, her Argentine Tango passionate.

She runs to lift her child: swings him away from electric cords, into child seats.

Renee walks haltingly toward her husband in the hospital bed, takes his hand one last time.

She stumbles, her tears flowing as she stands beside his headstone.


Renee's coffin rocks as it descends into the grave.