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To this day he despises the smells of cigarettes, gum, and bacon.
A passing school bus brings the Twins to mind. Mocking smirks, daughter-of-TV Guide beehive hairdos, and delight in tormenting a young classmate who was taught never to hit a girl.
Here’s their house.
There they are. Together still, smoking and chewing. No beehives, just nests of tangled gray.
He reaches into his bag. Sees the scars from their lighter. Remembers the whiff of burnt flesh seasoned with bittersweet breath and laughter.
Healing will come only when he stops feeling guilty for hating them.
Or, perhaps, now.
She was just a baby when they diagnosed her with acute leukemia. She did not understand all the words, she feared the pricks given countless times and drawing blood to see if cells stopped multiplying. Her eyes, black holes of dead stars, her head did not sense the absence of black curls needed to be cut. She slept as though she fought death every night between piercing needles. Then it all stopped. She was in remission! Finally she could sleep, I thought, till she brought me a needle and begged me to prick her. The pain made her sleep.
It was essentially a fleet of miscellaneous rowboats that bobbed in the dark water of the harbor, fracturing the reflections of the flames that illuminated the chill night. As the city burned, it was a miracle that only one life would be lost. Later, they would memorialize him, praise him for his sacrifice, trying to grasp at any memory of what had been destroyed. But as I sat in that small boat, the rest of my friends beside me, I was not thinking of the collapsed buildings or shattered homes. My lips barely moved as I whispered, “Goodbye, brother.”
I drove home fast because it was late and I felt like I was being chased. I felt like someone was following me, someone, myself. Finally home, I stood outside the car and paused. It was cold, my hands, the air touching my body. I listened to the hum of cars at the intersection. A windchime on Joe’s porch. I looked up and saw a few stars, tiny dots. Tiny dots that I cannot understand, just like the street and the cars and the lamps and the bells. I smiled, laughed a little, and sighed. There is no god.
It’s hard to believe that today, March 23, 2016, is the first anniversary of The Drabble, and boy, we couldn’t be more proud of the vibrant community of drabblers we’ve become.
53,575 views: By our (admittedly bad) math, that’s about 147 page views per day, 1,029 per week, 4,464 per month, and those numbers keep growing.
Many thanks to all of you who have contributed to this community, both as writers and as readers. Please keep reading, submitting, and commenting. Together let’s make The Drabble’s second year even better than its first. Let’s break the Internet one-hundred words at a time.