Ronald searched the jumbled shelves of the used book store. The owner told him the copy was here and even described the binding so he knew what he was looking for: off white with shiny red lettering. Shouldn’t be too hard to spot.
Ever since he met Liz he’d been infatuated with her. They spent so many hours discussing films, books, and everything else they both loved, and she’d recommended Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close the other night over tea at her place. He couldn’t get over how optimistic she was, her fun, artistic apartment, and even her quiet son who’d spent the night playing with his Transformers.
“I found it!” the owner called from behind a bookcase somewhere in the back of the store. She hobbled out and handed him the paperback that he took with care as if it were a newborn. He couldn’t wait to read this.
He paid her in cash as he always did, and she asked him how classes were since she always confused him with one of her other customers, a college professor, and reminded her that he was a chef. She smiled and apologized, fixed her small, crooked glasses and gave him change.
He walked out and continued down the alley that led to the main street where he made a left at a clump of mainstream stores, including a bookstore big enough to be considered a warehouse. He always went to Barbara’s store first for books since he liked to support independently owned stores that were quickly disappearing.
He stopped to flip through the book as he noticed some of the pages had photographs, some drawings, and even a few pages with color. He almost bumped into someone and without looking up walked around them. “Excuse me,” he said. When the person didn’t respond he turned to look at them and realized it was Liz’s son and he had a small, green handled shovel.
He’d have to bring that up to her next time they hung out. But that wouldn’t be until he’d read this book at least twice and was ready to tell her how wonderful it was.
If you enjoyed this and want to know more about the other characters, click on the Stories of Connections category on the right.
Posted in flash fiction, Stories of Connections
Tagged books, childhood, children, couples, dating, entertainment, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, family, fiction, flash fiction, friends, friendship, independent owners, independent stores, kids, life, love, people, reading, relationships, romance, writing
Bradley stopped to peer into the weird store with all of the rats. He always stopped by here to watch them run by the windows in the huge maze of clear plastic pipes. One jumped at him, starling him into dropping his little shovel.
He picked it up and looked at the small clumps of dirt clinging to his mom’s garden tool. The green handle looked so new and his mom would certainly notice that it had been used. She was a neat freak, a word he overheard someone call her when they learned of her many cleaning rules imposed on him. He’d laughed at the term and called her that sometimes when she wasn’t around.
The same conversation was what led him here. He’d heard them talking about movies, then books, tuning out the conversation as best he could since it was interrupting his Transformers war. He tuned back into what they were saying once he heard the term “father” uttered, which always grabbed him since he didn’t know his dad.
“And his father spends time with him by burying items in the park and then leaving clues so he can find them.”
“Wow, sounds interesting.”
“Yes, and he goes on a quest to find his father’s final clue by searching the whole city.”
Were they talking about Bradley’s father? He was furious at first with his mother. She had known about these hidden treasures all along and not told him, not let him start the search? Maybe, if he started digging in the park he would find one of these treasures and somehow finally meet his dad. All of his friends had dads. Not all of them had one living with them, but they still had them, and Bradley always wanted to know his missing parent. Maybe this was his chance.
But he’d been digging for days now and only found a few squirrel bones (which were cool, he had to admit) and a few creepy bums tried to talk to him. Plus he’d saved that little dog from the bigger one. But still no treasure.
Maybe he should ask his mom. But she’d kept it a secret from him for a reason. He was on his own.
As Bradley realized he was probably late, he turned and started walking home. A car drove by and he saw a girl he knew from school, but he ignored her. He had bigger things on his mind.
If you would like to know more about the people in these stories, click on the “Stories of Connections” categories and read about some of the other people he’s bumped into or connecting events. Bradley pops up in other stories here and there. Tomorrow, learn more about what Bradley’s mom was talking about in “Ronald”.
Posted in flash fiction, Stories of Connections
Tagged childhood, children, couples, dating, digging, divorce, dogs, entertainment, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, family, fatherless child, fiction, flash fiction, friends, friendship, life, love, people, relationships, sad, writing
You: the type of girl who reads the missed connections in the adorable hope that someone, somewhere noticed how amazing you are but in the brief moment he first saw you, it was too late and you were gone, possibly because you’d been waiting for a bus and it came, or maybe because he couldn’t go in the coffee shop you sat in drinking your tea because he had his dog and there was a clear sign that said “No Dogs Allowed” so he rushed his poor little pup home and ran back only to find you gone. Maybe this post is about the pretty red sundress you had, or your copy of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, or perhaps it was your backpack shaped like Kermit or your hair in pigtails held in place with little vintage barrettes or your big sad eyes, or maybe it was just the low-cut shirt or your painstakingly perfect face. Maybe it was that sad, distant look on your face that spoke to him; there’s a pretty good chance it’s that. He saw you and in that moment he saw it all, his awkward first approach, your walk in the park that lead to the inevitable first kiss, the initial lovemaking that wasn’t exactly his A-game but he knows he will do better the second time, the second time where you clearly enjoy it more, all the way up to the wedding day, the honeymoon, the kids and the white picket fence.
Me: The kind of guy who believes in missed connections, and thinks that any girl who reads them as often as I must be a keeper, regardless of what it was that made you first talk to me.
This is a fictional missed connection I made up.
Posted in flash fiction
Tagged couples, Craigslist, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, fiction, flash fiction, Jonathan Safran Foer, love, missed connections, online dating, relationships, romance, searching