Sameera Rachakonda

★ ★ ★ ★

FLASH FICTION

Image by Barthelemy de Mazenod

‘I tried throwing the clock out the window to make time fly’

I have been sitting on the second floor of The Continental Midtown restaurant for approximately 2 years, 11 days, 3 hours, and 22 minutes. The walls are painted a sickly ocean blue that teeters between a beachside motel and hospital waiting room. There’s large circular couches and wooden swinging chairs. It can’t make up its mind about what it wants to be so we get along perfectly. The people haven’t changed much. It’s a varied demographic, some families, some young couples. College students come in flocks, making the 20 minute train ride from their campus to enjoy a nice night out of fine dining. There has been a change in staff though, a few of the servers and hostesses I had grown to know and love have been replaced by new faces. Other than that, everything has remained identical to the day you told me you were leaving.

These days I have a lot of time to think. I think about what to order. I think about the toddler throwing a temper tantrum two tables over. I think about my father. I think about your mother. I think about time. I spend the least time thinking about time. Partly because there’s already enough people thinking about it. Partly because the only time that matters is the time it took for you to decide you had enough and the time it takes for you to come back, although I’ll admit the latter is time I’m betting on, and I’ve never been the best gambler.

Over the past two years, I’ve watched the world change. I’ve watched my friends graduate from master’s programs, earn promotions, publish books. I’ve watched the bodies around me fall in love, bury that love, be reincarnated, and all the cycles in between. They tell you how much it hurts. They also tell you how one day, you get over it. Hurting has become a family friend to me. It makes itself at home, at 2pm work meetings and midnight muffled cries. Healing introduced itself at a party I wasn’t invited to. Too much time has passed. It’d be too awkward to ask for its name now. 

I read somewhere that you can sense a shift in the wind moments before your world is shattered indelibly. I was absent the day we learned about that gene pattern in biology class. If I knew, perhaps I would have ordered the red wine instead. It seems more picturesque than white. You were nervous, I knew that. The way you twisted that one strand of hair, how you kept fidgeting in your seat, the poor napkin you kept crumpling. I assigned your anxiety to everything else. Humility was never my strong suit. 

Looking back on it, I wish I could pinpoint that moment. The moment you decided you were going to end up walking away. I would keep it in a glass jar, one you’d find at a garage sale or stumble upon when thrifting, and I’d watch it. I’d watch it fidget and flutter around its trappings, plotting and scheming an escape plan. I’d watch it wait patiently in the corner, silently anticipating the first moment it could fly out unscathed. 

I picture you leaving me in a million different scenarios. Much more aesthetic than the reality, it makes it easier somehow. The picture changes constantly. Sometimes I’m in your mother’s wedding dress, and as you get up to leave the red wine spills and splashes on the front, creating a stain that oddly resembles a stick figure family.

I have been sitting on the second floor of The Continental for approximately 2 years, 21 days, 3 hours, and 25 minutes. 3 minutes have passed since I started telling this story. In a few seconds, you’ll come to the end of this sentence, the end of this story, the end of the only story I have to tell, and you’ll get up and walk away and I will continue to sit here in quiet observation, until the next passerby shows the slightest hint of curiosity, and I’ll share my story another time, killing time, waiting for the time the only person I care about sharing my story with realizes what I’ve known all this time.

Sameera Rachakonda is a 23 year old Philadelphia based writer. Her work has been featured in Adanna Literary Journal and Ratpie Friends. She enjoys traveling, books written by women, dirty Shirley Temples, and posting excerpts from her diary to her substack for everyone to read thematureage.substack.com.

3 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    This was amazing! I loved it! Beautiful piece.

    Reply

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