The Edge of the Park
As soon as the coin slipped into her pocket, she made a quick and pointed pivot with her heel and continued down the street. She took an unhurried drag from her cigarette, putting the pocketed hand into reverse and fixing her hair with the flat of her hand, just as she imagined it to look were someone strolling alongside her with a large mirror.
The park ahead presented itself like a mirage behind a hill, though under her feet she knew it to be completely flat. She felt the sudden impulse to duck, to shrug into her jacket and disappear, to bolt; she stuffed this down as securely as the coin, but it turned in her pocket nervously.
"Hey!” A whistle from the car parked some spaces behind made her straighten and at once the smile returned to her face. She walked towards the playground. It was early in the evening for this but the day was bright, still; traceless of the town’s frequent overcast.
The boy on the swing set grew larger and the dirt sucked her heels square into the sod. Not that one. Her feet noted the resistance of the earth; her hands swung coolly and indifferently. A girl skipping rope was called away to supper and in the corner on the perimeter of the blacktop, two boys poked a dead frog with a stick.
She spotted a smaller one with a single piece of chalk by the bushes and walked over.
"What's your name?" She knelt and dropped her shoulders to his level.
"John." He dragged his chalk in directionless lines.
Her hair was dyed the color of baby powder, of communion linens, of textbook pages, of all things innocent and weightless. But her eyes were a hard black.
"Myra." She smiled and took her fingers away from her hair.
John took the outstretched hand and walked out to the car's open door. At the edge of the park the chalk fell earthward and broke.
- ▼ September (15)
- I write short stories and essays. I have published over one hundred stories, essays, and flash fictions or nonfictions in magazines or anthologies, as well as a novel, Jack's Universe, and a collection of stories, Private Acts. I grew up in a military family, so I'm not from anywhere in particular except probably Akron, where I've lived for forty years. Before I came here, I never lived anywhere longer than three years.