Happy Valentine’s Day, loves! I wrote this flash fiction in 2013 (originally titled “One Foggy Morning” and wanted to share it this weekend because you just never know when – or how – that special someone will enter your life. Here’s to loving ourselves, not settling for mediocre love, and above all to loving kindness. xoxo – Malena
BONUS: My short story collection on love and loss, Hope Floats, is FREE on Amazon this weekend. Link below. Come back Monday for a very special Mermaid Mojo feature!
The dense fog hung so low Maddie Swinson saw only knees and feet coming toward her on
the city sidewalk. Just past the morning rush hour, the swell of pedestrians had thinned and slowed, save for one who knocked Maddie backwards, causing her body to slice through the fog that only appeared pillow soft.
The next thing she remembered she heard angels singing, in what she assumed was her entry to the afterlife. Giddiness overcame her, a tingling feeling crawling all the way up her arm. She couldn’t help but laugh aloud – her husband had been wrong! All those times he’d told her to go to hell hadn’t worked. Not that she believed he had any sway with the Big Man Upstairs, but he was a deacon in their church and that fact had gone to his head long before the choir director did, too.
Only wasn’t heaven supposed to be light? No tunnel, no awaiting family members, only a blackness that reminded her of that night the week before when she’d left her husband for good as he lay sleeping on the couch where he pretended to do penance. She knew better. He was still seeing the choir director, whose angelic voice sounded not so different than the one she heard now.
The tingling increased, followed by a muffled voice she hoped was her Grandma Fae who made the best brownies she’d ever eaten. No one could duplicate the recipe, which could mean only one thing: Grandma Fae had taken her secret ingredient with her to the grave.
Her mouth watering, Maddie tried again to see, the blackness clearing to brown soup. The tingling turned to pain, the muffled voice distinctly male, and the angelic voice belonged to Jennifer Hudson, courtesy a stray ear bud dangling in front of Maddie’s face. There was the chest that had shoved her, not to another life, but to the sidewalk, where her skull had bashed into the cement causing the black-out and current gushing of blood covering her eyes.
The headless man, whose neck up was inside the fog, fiddled with his smart phone, likely calling 9-1-1. At least she hoped that’s what he was doing since he hadn’t snatched her bag still clutched in her hand. With his free hand, the man wiped her eyes with a tissue, enabling her to see him better, or at least his bottom half.
He wore grey designer slacks, almost matching the color of the fog. It’s no wonder she hadn’t seen him before they collided. She couldn’t fault him for his wardrobe choice since she, too, had worn gray that day. A grey skirt and grey tights and grey Uggs. The grey overkill had nearly killed her.
Ringing ears aside, she began to make sense of his words, “Stay down, don’t move, help is on the way.” He kept repeating it like lyrics in a bad pop song. Why would she move when she had him to bring her back to conciousness, to the very light of day? His thighs were strong, his pants tight enough to show off his athletic build. They left nothing to the imagination.
Oh, God. He hadn’t wiped her eyes with a tissue at all, but with his white dress shirt. Her blood was covering the poor guy from wrist to elbow!
Squeamish at the sight of blood, especially her own, she nearly passed out again, still strangely longing for Grandma Fae’s brownies.
“Stay down, don’t move, help is on the way.”
Headless Man did something that kept her from switching off the lights. He squeezed her hand. Softly at first, then firmer. Softer again. His thumb caressed the top of her hand, in small circles. God, his hand was warm. Her husband had always said hers were so cold that he hadn’t wanted to be touched at all. At least that was his excuse. And yet when Maddie had gone to visit Choir Director the day after Revelation, she lied and said she wanted to make peace and offered her hand to shake. To her surprise, Choir Director’s hands were cold, too. She would tick off the other possible reasons for his betrayal another day, but “cold hands” wasn’t it.
She tugged at the stranger’s hand, causing him to plead with her not to get up until help arrived, but that wasn’t what she’d meant at all. This time she used both hands and pulled Headless man from the fog, nearly causing him to fall on top of her, but he’d caught himself with his hands.
Catching her breath, Maddie swallowed hard, staring into his blue eyes as he smiled down at her, nose to nose.
“Are you going to hit me? You have every right,” he said.
“Right? What are you, a lawyer?”
“I am who?”
“I am the clumsy jerk lawyer who runs over a pretty girl on the foggiest day of the year.”
She laughed. “I meant, what’s your name, clumsy lawyer?”
“Ordinarily I’d say, ‘pleased to meet you,’ but in this case…”
“I don’t blame you. Do you hear that? Sirens.”
“Wait. Don’t tell me: stay down, don’t move, help is on the way.”
“So you could hear me.”
“Like a broken record. But I think I’m going to live.”
“Thank God for that. But we’re going to get you checked out all the same.” His voice was thick with sincerity, causing her heart to sting in a good way.
“Don’t worry. I won’t sue,” she said with a grin. “What kind of lawyer are you?”
He frowned. “Divorce. Hate me even more?”
She laughed too hard to answer as the legs of the paramedics approached with a gurney seemingly wheeled on its own.
“What’s so funny?” Tony asked.
“I was on my way to meet my friend for coffee so she could give me the name of her divorce attorney. I just never expected I’d run into one on the way.”
He smiled. “This takes ambulance chasing to a whole new level. I don’t typically bloody my clients. But if you’ll have me, I’ll offer my services for free. I feel it’s only fair.”
“A clumsy, fair, very handsome lawyer. Maybe I have gone to heaven. If you’re as tough on my husband as you were on me, you’re hired.”
“Fine. I accept.” The paramedics knelt down and put her in a neck brace and carefully lifted her onto the gurney, back into the gray abyss.
For a moment she thought she’d lost him for good until his warm hand pressed into hers again, this time with a business card. He squeezed her hand and whispered into her ear. “I am truly sorry I hurt you.”
Words her husband had never said.
She overheard Tony asking the paramedics which hospital they were taking her to, that he’d be close behind.
A short ride later, as they wheeled her into the ER, the fog began to lift.
For full works by Malena Lott, visit my Amazon page. My short story collection Hope Floats is FREE this Valentine weekend.