Blowing Out

Still behind…my entry in last week’s Angry Hourglass flash fiction contest wherein you provide 360 words in response to the above photo, courtesy of Ashwin Rao. My entry:

Evan sat cross-legged on the curb as his pointer finger to trailed behind a determined ant. The ant had a leaf by the stem and was carrying it to some unknown destination.

To the ant, Evan was just another embodiment of a cloudy day. To Evan, the ant was the carefree creature he wished for himself. The ant was also a simple distraction.

The happiness Evan felt when he blew out the nine candles for his birthday — they reignited — and he blew again, only to this time get icing on grandpa, seemed a distant memory. Despite only having happened this morning.

Now grandpa also sat cross-legged under the basketball hoop they had been dribbling around only moments before. Grandpa was confused.

“Where’s Loraine, Kevin?” grandpa muttered to his hands, still holding the basketball whose purpose he’d forgotten.

When grandpa was like this, he called him Kevin. Close enough. Loraine was a name he didn’t know.

Last week, grandpa had put Evan’s new iPad in the microwave and tried to plug his cold coffee into the wall outlet.

Evan couldn’t put his finger on what grandpa had, but he knew how it made his stomach lurch and his eyes droop. Deep within him, like finding a penny in a ball pit, was a seed of shame.

He was embarrassed by grandpa and embarrassed that he was embarrassed. But he couldn’t help it; what if Richie saw him? Or god forbid, Margaret? Saw grandpa sitting there, muttering and saw Evan pretending his finger was the rocket ship to the ant, as it sure moved fast.

Then the ant got too far for Evan to reach and scurried under a pile of stones near the sewer.

Over the hill, he heard a familiar noise which sent his cheeks into a blistering shade of burgundy: Margaret was peddling her new bike, the 7-speed one with a sharp, intimidating red. She was the rocket. Inside the wheel, as a throwback, which Evan gushed over, was her Bo Jackson baseball card.

The vroom caused Evan to jump to his feet and race inside, passed muttering Grandpa, with the screen door slamming in his haste.

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