I watch father through a panel of glass.
I long to remove my mask and give him a hug, but the nursing home will not allow it.
Perhaps tomorrow, I tell myself.
For him, you have all the time in the world.
Marjan Sierhuis loves reading 50-word stories.
He lies in the bubbly bath water, face protruding enough to comfortably breathe.
I gently pour water over the soapy hair on his forehead, the bit that didn’t quite make the dive.
He doesn’t flinch.
He smiles at me and I at him.
Today, my baby is a six-year-old fish.
Deirdre is a stay-at-home mom to three young children. She has a degree in English and a Masters in Counselling Psychology.
The paper cranes are folded from receipts for doctors, buses and climate magazines, from my five year old’s drawings of our family, prescriptions for her meds, sweet wrappers and cigarette packets, and hang now to be counted, over her hospital bed, one more for every day since she didn’t die.
Rosaleen Lynch, an Irish community worker and writer in the East End of London, pursues stories whether conversational, literary or performed and believes in the power of words to make the world a better place.
The crack of bat on ball rings in Danny’s ears. He sprints toward first base but doesn’t watch the ball soar over the fence. His teammates yell; evidence enough for him.
As he rounds third base, he glances at the space in the bleachers where his father used to sit.
Stephen Pisani is an MFA candidate in fiction at Adelphi University. He spends his spare time working at a golf course, where he watches people chase a little ball around a big patch of grass.
First night back, I ditch duffel and boots and fall asleep on the floor by his bed.
A click in the dark wakes me. Beside me he sits, Nerf gun in hand.
“What’s up?” I ask.
“Keeping you safe,” he says. Tilts his head at the darkness under the bed.
Graham Robert Scott’s stories have appeared in Pulp Literature, Nature, Barrelhouse, and others.
My son has a plot—his own little piece of real estate. The grass is sparse, so I tend it: raking topsoil, spreading seed, pouring water. New sprouts emerge, filling the aching gaps.
I remove the weeds, pretending he’s on vacation.
But my heart screams his name and I cry.
Tawnia is an elementary teacher in Ontario who recently started writing. She is revising her first novel, a YA sci-fi, and hopes to start querying agents soon. She recently told a Red Chair story via Zoom for the Graham Norton Show. You can find her on Twitter @TawniaCourage.
Someday, I will kiss your cheek and make you smile. I will wrap my arms around you in a warm embrace.
I will sing your favorite song at the top of my voice. I will stay by your side and vow never to leave. Mother, I will promise you this.
Marjan Sierhuis enjoys reading flash fiction.
At night, her mother put her to bed by telling her stories of cotton candy clouds and a winged unicorn named Percival. She dreamed she was flying on Percival, occasionally trotting along various rainbows. Heaven couldn’t be that far away, she figured. She could sense her father waving to her.
Ran Walker is the author of 21 books, the most recent of which is CAN I KICK IT?: Sneaker Microfiction and Poetry. He lives in Virginia with his wife and daughter.
Today, I kissed some poppy seeds.
Scattered them across my garden. Watered them in.
Gently sprinkled grey ash over them.
One summer, a drunk, who should never have been driving, killed my five-year-old daughter. My only child.
In July, the soil where she lies will be awash with blood-red flowers.
Hugh Cartwright is a scientist living and writing on the Canadian west coast.
Jeffrey searched the florist shop for a unique plant for Mom. Once he spotted the leafy hosta, he asked the clerk to wrap it up with a floral birthday card. He opted to deliver it himself.
Jeffrey died in 2017, but his birthday greeting to his mother continues each spring.
Roberta Beach Jacobson lives in Iowa and can be found on Twitter at @beach_haiku.