KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 11: Spring 2019
Flash Fiction: 991 words


by Soramimi Hanarejima

I quit my job to chase her because, having moved to another city, she commands a significant lead I can’t otherwise close. Free from occupational obligations, with enough savings to permit pure pursuit, I relocate, cutting the majority of the distance between us. Then, unemployed in her metropolis, I have a significant advantage: when she’s at work, I’m not.

After a couple days of getting situated, I go to her office building, to do what I’m here to do. Conveniently, it’s in a plaza that has a fountain with a marble ledge I can sit on as I watch the building’s entrance. About half an hour into my stakeout, I see the revolving door dispense her and launch myself towards her. The moment she notices me rushing in her direction, she takes off down the street. She’s clearly in great shape, her form excellent for someone encumbered by a blazer, briefcase and, worst of all, dressy shoes. In sweat-wicking shorts and running shoes, I catch up to her after only seven blocks, a massive drop from the longstanding twenty-eight.

“Okay, fine,” she concedes, panting, hands on her thighs as she leans over her relinquished briefcase on the sidewalk. “We can have dinner...together...but it has to be...gluten free...and done by 7:30 p.m.”

So we go to a small fruit bar nearby and get açai bowls, which help us cool down after our bout of exertion in the day’s lingering heat. Mine has peanut butter, hers coconut water. They sit between us on the small wooden table across which I steal every glance I can at the deep thoughtfulness held in her eyes.

“So how are things going for you here?” I ask.

“I’m settling in nicely,” she answers with purpled lips.

My gaze drifts to her unoccupied hand resting on the tabletop, its open palm revealing the faint blue glow of cinesqua. If I ask about this, would she still say she can’t see it? I pose a more benign question instead.

“What’s your favorite thing about the city so far?”

“How green it is everywhere.”

“That is nice. Soothing to the eye.”

“And the mind, more importantly.”

About that, I want to say, but we shouldn’t get into those topics now, during our first meeting—if it can be called that—in what feels like too long.

We finish the remainder of our fruity “meals” in silence.

“Well, see you later,” she says afterwards.

It’s only 6:50 p.m., but I know better than to detain her when she’s tired out from work.

After that, she gets strategic about how she leaves work, using other building exits, heading out at different times. After missing her two days in a row, I flex my unemployment upper hand and briskly walk loops around her building, for sometimes hours, until I spot her. Then it’s off to the races as she makes a mad dash for it, down some labyrinthine path she’s no doubt devised in advance for the purposes of eluding me in the convolutions of the city.

On most evenings, after 20-some blocks (the number steadily rising as she leaves work in running shoes, without a briefcase and most recently in disguise), she relents, and our pre-dinner workout is followed by pho, enchiladas (made with almond flour tortillas), or zucchini “noodle” “lasagna” as we talk here and there of big ideas and the little nuances of life. The question of how ethereal art can be arises. We consider the merits of cultivating marvelous earworms to displace criticism ringing in the ear canals of those with sensitive hearing. She points out ephemeral colors in the sunset clouds—purmillion, magenchsia, flaxen copper, violet haze. But we never talk about how things stand between us.

Until, over stuffed peppers on a Friday evening, she tells me, “It’s not like I have anything against you. It’s quite the opposite actually. I just need distance from my past. All of it.”

“Permanently?” I ask, my appetite diminishing.

“For now.”

The indefinite timeframe makes me uncomfortable. I only have two months of savings left.

In the following weeks, she takes up working remotely on an irregular schedule, leaving me no choice but to wait outside her apartment building in the mornings; then follow her to wherever she’s going, whether the office, a co-working venue, coffee shop or library, where I later try to catch her when she heads home; or if she’s working from home, which she deplores, I chase after her when she goes out for fresh air or errands. I want there to be more respectful boundaries that give her more space, but I can’t lose her. She’s the person I need most in my life right now, and I can’t go back to feeling the weight of her absence pressing on my psyche especially in the quiet pre-dawn hours. So every morning, I leave the little room I rent to bide my time behind the stand of aspens on the corner of her block.

This continues until one cool Tuesday morning when she is waiting there for me.

“Okay, you can be part of my life again,” she says. “But you must say nothing of the past. Here, you and my memories are the only link to it, and just seeing you is already a potent reminder of it. I can’t have any more reminders.”

Excited, I am tempted to giddily quip, You mean, by running after you, I was jogging your memory?

Instead I assure her that I won’t mention anything related to the past, then add, “I’ll change my look too.”

“You know, I found this great salon downtown you can try.”

Her suggestion, which is upbeat for a change, seems to dissolve away all the time and distance that’s been between us. It’s as though she’s just said, “Welcome back.”

Now I just need to find a job here, to keep following her towards the future she will brighten.


Soramimi Hanarejima
Issue 11, Spring 2019

writes innovative fiction and is the author of Visits to the Confabulatorium (Montag Press, 2017), a fanciful story collection that “captures moonlight in Ziploc bags” (Jack Cheng, author of See You in the Cosmos, quoted in A Contemplative Collage). Soramimi’s recent work can be found in The Best Asian Speculative Fiction, STORGY Magazine, and The Esthetic Apostle.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Overhead, micro-fiction in Panoply (Issue 7, August 2017)

Hierarchy of Needs, micro-fiction in The Fiction Pool (6 January 2017)

“Short Takes: Interviews with Short Story Writers” with Soramimi Hanarejima by Nancy Christie in her blog Focus on Fiction (21 April 2016)

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