“No,” I said, laughing. “It’s only our first date.”
Since then he’s proposed at home, on holiday, in castles, in parks, but I’ve always said no. It’s become an in-joke.
His note is propped on the mantelpiece. I don’t read it, finally realizing that the joke got old.
Laura Besley writes short fiction and squeezes her writing into the bookends of her day. She has lived in Holland, Germany, and Hong Kong, but now lives in land-locked central England and misses the sea. Her flash fiction collection, The Almost Mothers, was published in March 2020. She tweets at @laurabesley.
Rheigina walks into the familiar coffee shop, sitting across from the boy she’s known for years.
“I’m so sorry.”
Her smile dissolves as he wastes no time explaining. His face fractures into unrecognizable pieces. He is sobbing now, and so is she.
“But… you can’t,” she pleads.
“I love you.”
Leona Alonso is a high school sophomore from Texas who has a passion for STEM. However, in her free time she likes to play the viola, write, be with friends and family, as well as take long naps.
The smoke alarm goes off seconds before the doorbell, but the oven can wait.
Smoke billows behind you while she beams before you. “I brought wi—oh, wow.”
You sigh at the blackened promise of ‘simple and easy’ romantic dinner, but she leans against you, as natural as breathing. “Pizza?”
Rebecca Ruvinsky is a student and emerging writer in Florida. Found at @writeruvinsky, she has work forthcoming in Underland Arcana and Prospectus. In her free time, she writes daily poems and goes to rocket launches.
Her sweet gaze froze me, yet thawed my soul
Like a microwave-refrigerator, if that we’re such a thing
But we both play bass
We both play bass
Two strings, tethered in parallel
Destined never to cross
Because we both play bass
We could never band together
Kit is an ad student from Florida, and he loves a good story. He’s just a zany kid who has a lot of inspiration and is looking for something to do with it.
They have been painstakingly cataloged, each with date stamps remembered vividly, ready to roll up on your shores like muscle memory, like grudge-holding tides that never forget. When you’re willing to let it go—all of it—to make amends, to say your goodbyes, let it not be too late.
Thad DeVassie is a lifelong Ohioan who writes and paints from the outskirts of Columbus. His recent work has appeared in Unbroken, Spelk, Lunate, and Ghost City Review, among others. He is a winner of the 2020 James Tate International Poetry Prize for his manuscript SPLENDID IRRATIONALITIES. His chapbook, THIS SIDE OF UTOPIA, will arrive in 2021 from Cervena Barva Press. Find more of his work @thaddevassie.
I warn her not to over-water the plant in the window, but she insists that more water is needed to reach the roots. This is just like her: to do a little too much, to love a little too hard. Just like that plant, one day I, too, will drown.
Ran Walker is the author of 22 books, including the 50-word story collection THE STRANGE MUSEUM. He teaches creative writing at Hampton University in Virginia.
When her heel snapped, she literally fell into his arms.
Embarrassed laughter, quick smiles, then hasty apologies – she was late. Now hobbled, she’d be even later. Impulse seized him; he called her a taxi, paid for it as she zipped away.
He picked up the broken heel, thinking of Cinderella.
Rebecca Ruvinsky is a student, poet, and emerging writer in Orlando, Florida. She has kept a streak of writing a poem every day since 2016, with her poetry being featured on Poetry on the Move. She loves baking cookies, watching rocket launches, and listening to music too loud. She can be found at @writeruvinsky.
She was torn between two lovers.
One gave her a pink silk negligee and said if she wore it every night, he’d know she was his.
The other gave her his softest old shirt and said if she wore it she’d know he was hers.
She chose the right one.
Marilyn McFarlane is a travel writer and the author of Sacred Stories: Wisdom From World Religions. She also writes poetry, memoir and fiction. She lives in Oregon, where there is a lot of scope for the imagination.
I hurried to the restaurant, my heart full of hope.
Will she smile at me today? I wondered. Ask me how my day was? Comment on my haircut?
She was sitting in the corner, reading. She didn’t look at me.
“You’re late,” she said as she turned a page. “Again.”
Eszter Molnar is a former teacher who lives by the windswept British seaside with her partner and two children. She has been published in one of the UK’s biggest subscription magazines for children. By day, she cleans up after preschoolers, by night she writes picture books and Middle Grade fiction.
They had the kind of love
that camped out in cotton shirts
Damp with perspiration from
Evenings with her back pressed against his chest
As they looked into an endless sky
And pondered how the love they shared
Felt bigger than the entire universe before them
Ran Walker is the author of 21 books, including the 50-Word story collection THE STRANGE MUSEUM. He teaches creative writing at Hampton University in Virginia.