Welcome to the April 2021 Storytime Blog Hop!
This April, I am delighted to share with you the next story in the Tarot flash fiction series. For the last blog hop, in February, I shared III – The Empress. I have been less neglectful of my blog than in the past, so IV – The Emperor and V – The Hierophant have already been posted. I am leaving them up in case you missed them.
VI – The Lovers
It’s always a pleasure to come to Heritage Park in the springtime, when the birds are singing, and the flowers are blooming. All kinds of flowers pop out as soon as the rains in April have finished, and the air is fragrant with dew and lilac. I have come in my best suit, to avoid the decisions waiting for me at home. Life seems to be just an infinite string of endless possibility, and yet I need to decide. Three large envelopes came in the mail today. I was hoping to talk it over with Valerie, but she was gone, visiting her aunt in another state. What do I choose? Music at Saint Olaf? Russian at the University of Illinois? Or pre-law, like my dad wants, in Madison, WI. I shake my head, adjust the guitar on my shoulder, and head up the path that leads to the pond.
A group of kids is there, playing tag. I sit down on a bench overlooking the water, and pick up a smooth stone. It’s a great skipper. I raise my right arm, and let it fly, watching as it jumps out of the water once, twice, three times . . .
Time. I haven’t been paying attention to the time, but the sun is setting. I hear boots behind me and turn to see Karen. I haven’t seen Karen in some time, not since Val and I started going out. I fling another stone. Karen sits down next to me, her dark hair whipping in front of her face. I hadn’t realized it was windy.
“Haven’t seen you, Adam,” she said.
We sit in silence. I toss another stone. She tosses one, too, but she doesn’t know how. It just goes plop in the middle of the lake.
“I, um, I’m staying here. Going to Heritage University.”
“Heritage?” Why couldn’t I make a decision as easily as she has? Just go with what’s here? Just follow the mainstream? Do what my dad wants?
“Yeah, they have a great early education program.”
I nod. She’d make a great elementary teacher. I toss another rock. One, two, three, four.
“I don’t know, Karen,” I say. “I want so much. I want to make my dad proud, want to keep learning Russian, want to make something of my singing. I want it all. I know I can’t have it all.
“Come here,” she said getting up off the bench. “I want to show you something.”
I follow her back to the main entrance of the park. “Look.”
Two old men are playing chess, swearing in Russian. A woman in a red dress is playing a polka on an accordion. And two college students are debating health care.
“No matter where you go, you will find what you need.”
Then she is gone. I go back to the pond and take out the guitar. I know what I will do.
Want to read more? Check out the next story in the blog hop!
- Grit Nearly Succeeds by Bill Bush
- Love’s Sweet Prick by Sabrina Rosen
- For a Breath of Air by Nic Steven
- Pitch by Sandra Llyn
- Bees by Barbara Lund
- Unknown Title by Juneta Key
- Bullied by Elizabeth McCleary
- A Day to Remember by Katharina Gerlach
- Were’s the Rabid Rabbit Jemma Weir
Or, if you want to read the first five stories of this collection, you can find them here: