This is the part
where I believe that it was the goddamn fault of the night willow, that if it hadn’t been so blacked out like it was, bowed so brushy and low, you could have seen your way around it. Could have driven a clean road home like you do every night, except this one.
This is the part where I say it’s okay, it’s okay. That everyone blows themselves up now and then. You were driving at night, your eyes like cat diamonds, only even then you didn’t see how the tree branches seemed to dip out of nowhere, almost as if the sky let go and you were glided like an alligator oozing into a swamp. No one around to hear you calling for help.
This is not the part where you finally say okay, you fell in love with someone else and that’s where you were all night.
This is still the part where I shake my head at how fleeting everything is. How lucky you are because anything can happen. How someone can be right there in front of another someone and you blink and one of you is suddenly gone.
Later will be the part where I tell you I’m good, I’m good. You go ahead and take the silver. The children you make with your new love will need to eat with authenticity. You will bring them up to spot a fake. You will bring them up to avoid bad lovers who tell them that they didn’t come home that night because they drove into a willow tree, or the willow tree drove into them, or they had no control of the whole situation, and that falling in love with someone else can happen even when you are in love with someone already and you were oozed like an alligator into a swamp or quicksand with no way to stop it. How you wouldn’t believe it if you hadn’t seen it with your own goddamned eyes.
FRANCINE WITTE’s flash fiction has appeared in SmokeLong Quarterly, Wigleaf, Mid-American Review, and Passages North. She has stories upcoming in Best Small Fictions 2022, and Flash Fiction America (W.W. Norton.) Her recent books are Dressed All Wrong for This (Blue Light Press,) The Way of the Wind (AdHoc fiction,) and The Cake, The Smoke, The Moon (ELJ Editions,) Her latest book is Just Outside the Tunnel of Love (Blue Light Press.) She is flash fiction editor for Flash Boulevard and The South Florida Poetry Journal. She lives in NYC.
CLAUDEA discovered art through music in her teenage years, which led her to study Design at the National University of Arts in Bucharest, Romania. After graduating, she went on exploring and lived in Italy experimenting with art and jewelry making, before moving to the United Kingdom. She currently lives in London, where she works full-time and spends her free time painting.