What Might Have Been – A Quick Fiction Story

A tear rolled down her cheek as she was sat there, alone, coffee in front of her.  She had the window seat in the small coffeeshop, and she quickly wiped the tear away, angry with herself for allowing it.  She resolved to keep the rest from flowing, and she took a sip of coffee to relieve her distress.  It didn’t help.

Five years.  It had been five years, and now it had come to this.  Alone, watching the snow drift down on another dreary Pittsburgh winter day.  She loved this city, had stayed here long after many of her friends had gone.  She enjoyed every season, even the winters.  She had dreamed of raising children here, of showing them the–

But no.  This wasn’t a good train of thought right now.

She forced herself onto another track, tried to focus on the book she had brought.  It talked of Italian cooking, had recipes from the southern part of Italy.  She loved Italian food, for some reason.  Thanks to her blonde hair and big blue eyes, she was pretty sure she didn’t have any ancestors from the Mediterranean, but she adored pasta and olives and good crusty bread and all the other wonders of the cuisine.  She had loved learning to cook various recipes, from Tuscany, from Naples, from glorious Roma itself.  She had planned, in her mind, family dinners, where she would surprise her–

No.  Stop.  Again, don’t think of that.  Think of something else.

A man walked in, wearing a Penguins jersey, and she wondered if the Pens would get to the championships this year.  The Steelers hadn’t done too well, and the Pirates seemed like a hopeless cause at this point.  Like most pittsburghers, she was a fan of all the region’s sports teams.  Her blood was probably black and gold.  She knew her children would be fans, raised that—

She choked then, and rose from her seat, fleeing blindly into the night.

The barista came over a little later, found the piece of paper sitting on the floor, picked it up.  Seeing the hospital logo on the top, she scanned it in case somebody might need to come back for it.  Then she closed her eyes and said a grateful prayer she had been able to have children, even as her heart broke for the poor woman who never would.

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The Inspirer – a quick fiction story

I was sitting there on the Boulevard Montparnasse, notebook in front of me, and I was frustrated.  I had been trying for hours to come up with just the right look, the flash of inspiration that would turn into a trend that would justify the pay I earned.  But everything was eluding me.  Beautiful women strolled by, and I was watching them – it’s always been a weakness of mine.  It’s why I went into fashion in the first place – the desire to be surrounded by them.  Unlike many of the designers, I didn’t “bat for the other team.”  I appreciated the female form – my models were a little curvier than most, less of the stick thin little boy figures.

But still, designing the trend for spring, I was having no luck.  I had left New York for Paris, hoping that the inspiration would strike.  All the latest trends paraded by me now…thigh high boots (both done well and with the stripper look), peep toe boots, tweed, sweaterdresses.  All for Fall.  But I was working on spring…and nothing was striking me.  Hemlines were high, shorts were ridiculously short, but I could only tweak trends like that.  I racked my brains.

And then she walked by.

I don’t know who she was, but it seemed as if she went by in slow motion.  This happens to me a lot.  I see a woman and the right look for her jumps out at me, and I know – I know – that this will be the look everyone is wanting to wear.  She was tall, curvy.  Her hair was thick and wavy, her olive skin shining in the wan light of November in Paris.  She wore a beige trenchcoat, grey tights, high heeled boots…but that wasn’t what I saw her in.  No, in my imagination it was spring, and she was casting off the warmth of winter and embracing the sun, and what would she wear underneath?  It would be light, diaphanous, even.  Floating around her torso, it would allow her to feel the warm breeze of the Mediterranean places she called home.

I picked up my pencil, opened my Moleskine, and begin to sketch as she disappeared down the Boulevard.