Fiction Friday: Bienville

The first rule of writing is that shameless self promotion is next to godliness.
The second rule of writing is that alliteration makes everything more fun. Hence, Fiction Friday.
I can’t guarantee that every Fiction Friday will be an original short story (or book excerpt, wink wink nudge nudge) from me, just because that is a lot of writing, and most of it would end up being subpar. Sometimes it might be me discussing something someone else wrote.
This Fiction Friday post does happen to be something that I wrote, so enjoy. Or, don’t, and write me a strongly worded (e)letter telling me all about how I am a disgrace to the likes of Frank McCourt and every other writer I admire. I like strongly worded letters.


They met once through a glowing rectangle, long ago. They meet again in a crowded airport, with shouts and speed and tears and gasps.
They walk hand in hand, or sometimes with their arms wrapped around each others waists. A slightly taller, slightly older girl with an air of sophistication and calm, and a slightly shorter, younger girl full of enthusiasm and joy, bouncing with every step.
They walk in the warm sun, under balconies and galleries. When it rains, they dive into bars. They take shots and giggle to each other. Others pick up their tabs, invite them places. They’re game, but not stupid, so they decline. They are magnetic, with their brown skin and hair, with eyes dark and bright all at once. People want to know them, badly, but they are unknowable to everyone else.
They are each others best company, at this time and in this place. They absorb history, absorb culture, and pain, and joy. They absorb these things so well because it was already at the core of who they were.
They know each other. There is love and admiration. The taller, sophisticated girl loves to see the smaller girl in backless tops; to see her tattoo, the knobs of her spine and flat raised expanses of her shoulder blades. They move beneath her skin in a way that almost doesn’t seem real, as though she is a dream, or a creature not of earth.
The smaller girl just loves to see the taller girl, for she knows no one like her. She is unique, and important, and perfect. She wears on her hand a ring with a sand hourglass. Sometimes the smaller girl feels panicked looking at that ring, knowing that their time is limited. The older girl calms her, reminds her this time is her own creation, this time is now, the memories a heaven for both forever forward.
They stay out all night. They sleep four hours a day, in the space between the dawn and the start of retail hours. They walk Bourbon St, a haven for people watching enthusiasts. The smaller girl apologizes for the way it smells (“like rotting grilled cheese”), but the older girl reminds her that experiences are holistic. They delight in the sights and sounds and accept the smells. They watch street performers, marveling at their musical ability, and tip generously. They take pictures with a woman that has her nipples painted black to avoid the need for pasties. The only other thing she wears is a pair of neon pink hot shorts. The two companions share these pictures with others not there, a shallow moment that does not betray the depth of their connection, their experience.
They talk as they walk, as they shop, as they share entrees in restaurants, as they get dressed for the day. They talk about their lovers, their jobs, families, values, ideas, and their cities. The younger girl brings the older girl to a bench by the river. She tells her that this is the same river that flows through her own city. She has spent many hours standing on a bridge that spans this river, watching it flow away from her and her city on its way to the spot where they sit right then.
In the space between their birthdays, the minutes between 11:59 and 12:01, they make wishes. They sit at a small table outside in a busy, well known café. They drink coffee and share a small, famous pastry. The smaller girl demonstrates how impossible it is to eat such things without wearing powdered sugar lipstick. The silliness of the moment dulls the sting of knowing this is their last full, real day.
They part in a busy airport. They part with sorrow, of course. But the older girl was right. They part with their own portable Providence.
They will meet again.


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