How often…? – by Estrella Azul

A couple crosses the street. Hand in hand, they ignore stop signs and slalom through cars, laughing. Reaching the bus stop where I am waiting, they kiss.
Everyone in the station is watching them.

She, looks at her boyfriend with a kind of adoration one only sees in movies. She radiates happiness.
He, reciprocates. They don’t stop smiling and talking.

As the bus rolls to a stop, they follow me behind my seat.
I make myself comfortable for the long commute, and gaze out the window – listening.

It has been four years to the day since the accident, I overhear. Details aren’t shared; they seem unimportant to the conversation and the silence following his words makes it clear she knows them. I can almost hear them exchange a look, then talk about something else.
Small things, of family and friends, places they like and wish to visit. They want to find out everything there is about one another. They are clearly at the beginning stage of their relationship. Infatuated with each other.

A few stops later, they walk to the door.
As they get off the bus, people stare at him.

His sunglasses keep his eyes from showing, but I can imagine them.
Despite all the wonderful moments I have overheard, they hide a sadness, a question.
The long scars stretching all over his face, the ones that start at his nape and continue down his back, the ones that cover the length of his arms – they do the asking.

And I can’t help but wonder myself – how often does he start relationships, how often does he experience only the infatuation and understanding stage of them in this world where nothing is perfect and looks seem to account for everything?


*** With the above piece of flash fiction I’m participating in Friday Flash Dot Org’s Fourth Anniversary Blog Hop, running thru the end of the month.
Go read the announcement post, and write a flash or comment on one of the entries for a chance to win a prize!

24 Responses to “How often…? – by Estrella Azul”

  1. It’s so wonderful and sad at the same time. You’re very good!

  2. Bittersweet and lovely.

  3. I found this very touching, thoughtful and powerful. Accident, injury, sickness, disability. I lived through and have seen a lot and I know how relationships (of any kind) can be affected.

  4. Really liked this. It was very subtle, yet totally clear.

  5. Oh so sad and yet beautiful too.

  6. I believe Catherine said it best, a bittersweet story, beautifully written Estrella.

  7. What an interesting piece. I liked the fly on the wall/passenger on the bus POV. Made it feel awkwardly intimate.

    • Thanks. I do believe that would be an intimate thing to listen to. I did get the inspiration while riding the bus home from work, people talk about all sorts of things – and so loudly…

  8. Wonderfully voyeuristic. And so bittersweet. Nice one.

  9. I really enjoyed this poignant piece – masterfully written!

  10. Nicely illustrated! How often does anyone start relationships, really.

  11. Such a sad piece. For someone to only sample the easiest, quickest part of being in love – he’s missing the best part.



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