KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 7: Spring 2017
Micro-Fiction: 445 words


by Sonja Johanson

They would leave the strip mall every day, just a little after twelve, crossing the divided highway together. They might have come out of the package store, or the mattress supercenter, but no, they just seemed to appear in the parking lot, haggard and sweating. For all that she was thin, she walked heavily, and he kept his arm slipped around her back, supporting her. They always had something with wheels that they pushed ahead of them—a cart, a baby carriage, one day even a rolling office chair. It wasn’t for anything they carried; he wore a backpack with fraying straps and busted zippers. And it wasn’t for her to rest on, either, because he held her up with his right arm and steered the cart with his left.

They would come to the edge of the driveway, right in front of the yoga studio, and wait to cross until there were no cars. If a yoga mom in her minivan tried to offer them a ride, he would decline in Spanish and wave her on. They would never start until the lanes on the westbound side of the highway were clear. Then they would run to the median strip, and the woman could run, she could, even though the younger man had to hold her up. She’d run, and he’d push the office chair, and they’d make it to the island of asphalt down the center.

Someone had cut away a section of the hurricane fencing between the east and westbound lanes, and this was what they were aiming for. When they got there, he would help her sit on the guard rail, and he would place the baby carriage on the other side of it. Then he would take her in his arms like a child, and lift her over the guard rail. It was in this moment that you might look at them and wonder—him, young and handsome, with his long black hair and strong shoulders; her, dark and weary, looking much older and smaller. But he would lift her with such gentleness, and look at her with such love, that you noticed her hair was not gray, that her face was tired, but not wrinkled. There was no way of knowing who she was to him, but she was someone.

Then they would be running again, ahead of the turning traffic lights. They would cross the eastbound lane, pushing their carriage, his pack bouncing as they headed for the far wall of the pet store. They never looked back, just held onto one another and disappeared into the jungle of mugwort and pokeweed in the empty lot beyond.


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