I didn’t have an idea for a blog post (nothing particularly sass-tastic came to mind…whoops!), so instead I’ve posted a flash fiction story (1,000 words or less) that I wrote when I was at Minnehaha Falls a few weekends ago. There was a couple sitting behind/beneath the falls, and so I wrote a story, imagining their situation. So. Here ya go.
You sit with him underneath Minnehaha Falls after hopping the fence with the red “DO NOT CROSS” sign. You wanted to turn back but he persisted, saying that things would look clear from there. So far, the steady stream of water is a misty shield that distorts everything before you. You shiver as the mist strokes your bare arms. It’s the first hot day, and all of Minneapolis seems to be at the crowded park, but all you feel is the chill of indecision. You wish you were home in the shade, home where your thoughts are more powerful than your will, but his voice over the phone has coaxed you out, and here you are.
Let’s just talk, he says to you. You have heard these words from him before, and you lean back against the earth, bracing yourself. The rough surface scrapes your bare shoulders, the nape of your neck, but you welcome the strength and rigidity of it because it’s how you feel. How you want to feel. You wish to pull from the rock’s strength, reminding yourself of the strength you need to withstand his attempts at persuasion.
It won’t happen again, he says, well-rehearsed as always. His one hand rests in his lap as the fingers on his other hand reach for you. His words entangle with the strength of the falls, but you don’t budge, securing your own grip on the rocky shelf that supports you. With the mist hitting your face, it wakes you up enough to remember you’ve heard all of this before, and so you laugh. The difference this time is that it’s your last time believing him.
His past lies playback in your head like a silent movie, and his current monologue is now a voice over. Pictures of him and her, of you and him, of him going back and forth time and again. The images fall like the water before you, flowing away downstream, until they cycle back around to fall again. Your silence mistakenly encourages him to continue. He makes promises of fidelity and forever, and you start to feel your heart smoothing out like the rocks of the riverbed. Years of pressure, of repetition, all led to being shaped by the will and power of something much stronger until grooves and scars are no longer discernible.
Say something please, he whispers in your ear. Do you forgive me?
You shrug. I don’t know.
Please. He begs.
You wonder if he just had a similar conversation with her.
The two of you have been here for an hour and are no closer to a resolution. You’ve watched families come and go, toddlers running too close to the river while their parents take selfies, and couples in a better situation than you and him, basking in the glow of the sun and each other. They all leave and you could, too, if you just had the guts to say no.
It’s that easy, so easy that you haven’t been able to say it a dozen times before.
But the word won’t push through, a log suffocating the river. You chastise yourself with each caress that brings him closer to you, when all you want is to push him away, but you want to pull him closer still.
He moves closer and you, with nowhere to go, stay frozen, part of the falls’ foundation. He winds his arm around your back and brushes droplets from your shoulder, while you look at the detached roots above, dangling like lonely nooses. He puts his forehead against your cheek, and you look down now at a boulder covered in moss, gripping the rocky shelf harder when his other hand grazes your fingers.
A few onlookers from behind the siren red “DO NOT CROSS” fence comment on the romantic scene before them, a young couple shrouded by a veil of love and rushing water. Some make comments, others smile, as they see him lean in and gently plant a kiss on your lips. Other pieces aren’t so clear to them, such as the details of your posture. Your spine, rigid against the rocks, your chipped finger nails digging into the rock that does not feel your desperation. They are unaware of him trying to deepen the kiss as you hold your breath, in case you fall from your resolve and drown in the river of bad decisions awaiting you below.