After receiving an Honourable Mention for my story The Journal of the Empire’s Most Beloved and Extraordinary Explorer Reginald P. Smythe last week, I went one better this week and actually won Microcosms 159 with my story Dear John! My winning flash fiction tale was called Dear John and inspired by the three elements of Athlete, Train and Romance. You can see what judge Geoff Le Pard, had to say below:
It had to be romance this week, not sure why. This was the piece I had to go back to. There’s such a lot in it: the comparisons between the snow and the untouched page in the note book; the rhythm of the train and of the words that poured out; the juxtaposition between the Dear John on one side and the arguments on the other. Lovely…
You can find out if you agree with Geoff by checking out my story below the break.
The bitter irony doesn’t escape me. The first two words of my letter stake my thought process, scaring them into immobility. My train doesn’t have the same issue. With the soothing click-clack of metal wheels, it races through the Alpine mountains. Snow stereotypically falls across the peaks. My vision becomes my usual dream: me, with skis on my feet, criss-crossing the fresh layer of nature.
The whiteness of my blank page is less inviting. I want to blame the two dark words ruining its blanket freshness. The truth is much more emotional. Years of wasted love to add to all the others. I’m about getting better, not starting again yet I know it isn’t working. Hasn’t been for years.
Worse, it is getting in the way. Never of competitions but training. Missed sessions to keep him happy. Every one an added second to my time. Making the medals duller.
I shake my head as if it’ll shift the scramble of thoughts into an order which will flow through my pen easily. The pathway remains jammed. The two words still alone on the page.
I flick the page over. Time for a new approach. Onto the white, I scribe words. I don’t care about what they are or how they look, just what I feel about him. The good and the bad. Old arguments and past make ups. The page fills with them all to the rhythm of the train.
I rip the page from my notebook and place it beside my notebook, turned back to my two-word letter. A dozen next lines waiting to be picked. Yet, the two words stay alone on my beloved white. ‘Dear John’.