The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Flash Fiction winning entry: “Breach” by Lina Batarags

By Lina Batarags

Lessons learned from the tire swing at the lake house: gray is not one color but the lack of all others. Mother liked it that way, cherished the platform over the lake in winter hours, slippery with ice. She painted our house that way. It was the only house gray amongst a sea of houses white. He told her it looked like asphalt. What he said was, I hate asphalt.

From the overpass on Route 17: the wind after a car smells bad but tastes worse. Just because the ground is shaking does not mean the world is going to collapse.

From under a rain slicker: even when you are running, a man will be able to outrun you.

From the bridge over the river: even when you are running, the man with eyes like yours will always be able to catch you. Though he has metal in his hands and metal for a heart he does not have metal for feet. He has something light – feathers? – for feet.

From geography lessons with Ms. Centrella: islands are surrounded on all sides by water. They must be accessed by tunnel or boat or bridge.

I asked her, Ms. Centrella, what about airplanes? She said, don’t ask stupid questions.

Here’s my question: aren’t we all surrounded by water in the end? Are we all islands?

From the big windows of the town library: floods can move faster than I can.

At first there was nothing but bubbles.

I stood breathing in the library window, looking down over the creek. If I had a breath then the wind was a breath, branches tossing to the side, water swirling up, crouching back down. But while mine just clouded up the window, the wind’s breath teased the creek over the bridge, destroyed the road, and killed a man.

Floyd, it was. The wind, not the man. Hurricane Floyd.

Correction from the library windows: floods can move faster than a man can. From the top of the bridge I did some thinking. In between a thought about islands the size of tire swings and the smell of eighteen-wheelers I had a moment of clarity. If floods can move faster than a man can, and the man can move faster than I can, then the floods must be able to move faster than I can.

When I saw the asphalt peeling itself off the bridge like nail polish I stepped off and to the side. It did collapse then, shaking all the while, and the creek was beautiful where it ran past me.

In the end, all there was, was bubbles.

Hopefully in a day or week or two they will rebuild the bridge. Until then I will stay here. The boats have all sunk and the tunnels have all been breached. Airplanes are not allowed and neither are questions.

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