Sequel Flash Fiction Story
by: Katie Love
They sat together in the theater, arms touching but not around each other; popcorn on his thigh instead of her hand. The chairs had been reupholstered since their last visit on May 25, 1977. It wasn’t lasting. There were stains and tiny, frayed threads that wound around each other in an attempt to create something else. The armrests were bloodied with too many plot lines, too many stabbings, kidnappings, romantic comedies gone awry, spies gone missing. So much death and disappointment. So much striving. All interspersed with a few babies being born into their own greatness or misfortune depending on their zip codes and the prowess of their parents. So much regret. Triumphs. Inspirational tales housed in a gritty documentary. A feast of nudity, because it made sense that through it all, people would still yearn for one another in raw form.
She was afraid to move in her seat. It was untrustworthy and creaked with her every move. Lumpy, like an over-tamed mattress that should have found its way to the dump alone. She crossed her legs and tried to settle in. She glanced over at him and for the first time, noticed the lines from his eyes that creased his cheeks and met at his jawline, gathering in a puddle under his chin.
He was once quite virile. Extremely handsome. She could scarcely catch her breath sitting next to him at the premiere so many years ago.
That day, neither of them had ever seen anything quite like it. It was considered an epic event. Cinematic experts touted it as historical, something that would remain in our collective memory as significant, of great importance. Something that love might hitch a ride on, glide through time, an unapologetic barnacle on a Humpback whale; a tolerated nuisance.
Then, he knew she was nervous; but he also knew she was the one. So he took her hand in his, and cupped it, held it there, safe on his thigh. So that she would know he had made his choice and that he felt certain. So that she wouldn’t worry about the future, but instead, travel with him through galaxies unknown, free to delight in the fantasy of the lives outstretched before them.
Now, as the villain took the hero’s life, and watched, without regret, as the man plunged into the darkness, she leaned over and whispered, “I’m leaving.” The timing of her confession was not pre-meditated; a bold stranger within a plot twist. Death. Gasps buoyed in the air.
Could there be a resurrection?
He took her hand in his and cupped it, held it there, safe on his thigh. He could feel how nervous she was. How many years had pooled around them, savory and bittersweet? How many kisses, how many losses they had tasted. How many laughs they had claimed.
How many lives their love had touched.
As the credits rolled and the lights came up, both squinted, unfamiliar in their new surroundings.