The Only Goodbye (Flash Fiction)

You may have noticed that I’ve missed a couple of weeks of posts, and I’m here to say I’m back. Nearly two weeks ago, I suffered a miscarriage and I took a small hiatus from social media. This flash fic is the first thing I’ve written since. It was based on a prompt via Instagram that required the moon and autumn, but it was also a very therapeutic short story. I expect to be back on my regular posting schedule from here on out.

She’s a vision in red, gold, and deep hues of brown. The dress appears to be made out of leaves, draped across her skin in a way that defies logic and gravity. A crown made of twigs is nestled into her wild hair. A bird peers out from the crown-nest and blinks at me.

I’m unsure of what to do. Is she real or something my exhausted brain has conjured up? 

With a movement that is reminiscent of the wind, she turns to look at me. Her skin shimmers in the moonlight, giving her an eerie glow. 

There’s no way she’s real. I’m seeing her because I haven’t been able to sleep. This is all in my mind. 

I only came outside because I thought the cold autumn air would help reset my aching head, but now I’m staring into the face of some fairy-like creature dressed in leaves.

Almost as if she can hear me frantically trying to rationalize her appearance, she walks towards me, her eyes fixed on my face intently. With each step, she grows younger. Her sharp eyes soften, her cheeks become rounded, and her graceful steps become skips. 

The dress too changes before my eyes. The leaves begin to regain color, turning to green, before morphing into flowers and butterflies. The transformation is strangely hypnotic.

By the time she has come to a stop a few feet in front of me, she appears to be about two. Her dress is now made up of apple blossoms and daisies. It strikes me that daisies don’t grow on trees, but this is hardly the time to question botanical logic.

I’m terrified to take a step. If I do, I’m certain she’ll be blown away by the wind. Instead, I crouch down and stare at her, soaking in the curve of her face and the slope of her nose. Her fine hair floats around her face, illuminated from behind by the moonlight. 

A butterfly leaves her flower-dress and comes to rest on my shoulder. It’s the lightest and somehow the most comforting touch I’ve ever felt.

I keep my eyes fixed on her. I can’t look away because if I do, I’ll never see her again. 

Then, she smiles.

Any air that was once in my lungs is gone. Desperately, I reach out for her, and as I do, she takes a step forward. It’ll only be one more moment before I can hold her.

She reaches out her hands to me, and then I’m holding her tiny fingers as they curl against my palm. In the same instance, she’s leaned her forehead into mine, the very briefest of touch. 

On instinct, I tilt my head up and kiss her forehead, my lips just barely brushing her before she’s gone. 

The wind picks up, pulling at me to go back inside, but I can’t move. All that’s left in my palm is a tiny daisy, its delicate petals curled like her chubby fingers had been a moment before. 

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