Reunion, flash fiction by Susan Condon
Susan Condon, a native of Dublin, Ireland is currently working on short stories with a little flash fiction on the side. She was awarded a Certificate in Creative Writing from the National University of Ireland Maynooth. Her short stories have won numerous awards including first prize in the Jonathan Swift Creative Writing Award while others have been long-listed, on four occasions, in the RTÉ Guide/Penguin Short Story Competition. Publications include Ireland’s Own Anthology, My Weekly, Boyne Berries 22, Live Encounters, Flash Flood Journal, Spelk, Flash Fiction Magazine and The Flash Fiction Press. Susan blogs at: www.susancondon.wordpress.com. You can find her on Twitter: @SusanCondon or check out her crime fiction reviews and interviews on www.writing.ie
Around her, commuters beam in the after-glow of a sunny weekend, while the train swishes along the rails bringing her closer.
Soon, after all this time, they’ll be reunited.
The train groans to a stop. Her stomach lurches: only two more stations.
“Breathe,” she mutters.
She shakes her head at the woman beside her.
In through the nose, out through the mouth, her internal voice commands. Obeying, she feels a slow calm creep through her body. She watches the canal ripple gently. Two swans grace the water while a blackbird soars overhead. Only days before she too was flying through the air, from Boston to Dublin, on a one way ticket. Today would determine her return.
She delves inside her purse, retrieving a mirror. Stealing a glance, she appraises her newly highlighted hair.
One more station.
Darkness envelops the carriage as it speeds into a tunnel, then out the other side. Bright pink flowers drape white walls, the sight of them bringing back a flash of memory so vivid that it takes her breath away.
Age seven, holding her mother’s hand, they waited for him to return from the city. He never saw them. When he did, it was too late. Nothing could ever erase that image of her father as he stepped onto the platform. His smile as he turned to take the manicured hand of the woman with the cerise pink lipstick. Their embrace. The meeting of their lips …
Pulling her hand from her mother’s tightening grip, she ran.
Not long after, Boston had beckoned to them. Now, fourteen years later, she had decided to return.
The train stops.
But she remains seated.
A grey haired man stands alone. His eyes, the same chestnut brown as her own, scan the crowd.
She turns away.
© Susan Condon