Creative Writings Flash Fiction



April 24, 2023. 12 p.m.

“Be back before 8 p.m.,” her dad said with the I’ll-kill-you-if-you-don’t tone without giving me a look in the eyes.

“Okay, Sir,” I agreed in acquiescence.

I rolled my eyes as soon as I turned to the front door. It had been a year since I last met her. How could he expect ten hours to be enough to redeem all the dates we had missed?

We walked out, and I gave her the helmet. She put them on with a frown and silence spoken all over her lips. I was going to ask her if there was something wrong until I saw her dad still staring from afar. That was when I knew the answer: we should escape as soon as possible.

4.15 p.m.

“Are you okay?” that was the third time I asked her.

“I’m fine,” and that was the third time she gave me the same answer. ‘I’m fine’, but her fingers keep peeling the too-short-nails. Ten minutes ago, I said ‘STOP’ as she went too far, opening a tissue on her frontline skin, and triggering a little blood out, yet it now seemed like she forgot that the scars were even there in the first place.

I could give you some of my guesses: a) Immature parents issue, so she had to be the one keeping the family together again, b) Money issues and her family were doing the best job at wasting them, c) She was overthinking her future plans and losing her memory about how strong and amazing she could be.

Four years of relationship made me notice the patterns. Of course, there were other possibilities, which was the reason why I did not want to assume. Pushing her to talk would possibly push her to push me away, too.

I kept staring at her in concern instead for the next few seconds, hoping the stars I blinked would send her enough bravery to speak. Instead, she looked away. She lifted her head and searched for the stars above, then realized that even the sky refused to give her enlightenment. 

I lifted my head and stared at the darkness as well. There used to be two stars shining bright a year ago at this hour, I remembered. That night we said “See you soon” to each other.

7.30 p.m.

I couldn’t do this anymore. This whole day, our only day of the encounter before she would go back to college in Jakarta tomorrow was filled with me waiting for answers that never came. I had told her my stories, which she once said she always wanted to hear directly, but she kept repelling them with worries. I was pretty sure she did not even remember the names of friends I mentioned.

For the last attempt, I asked, “Are you okay?” 

… silence.

“I wish we had more time to talk.” She smiled weakly, looking down. 

“Okay,” I agreed in acquiescence. 

“I am feeling anxious, but I’m not sure why,” she confessed.

7.58 p.m.

I thought she was going to elaborate more, but that was it. 

I was willing to stay, negotiate with time, and not care about dying for a bit, yet her uneasy hands said no. She was full of new contradictions I couldn’t recognize, and we already ran out of time to decode them.

“You are worried about the curfew, aren’t you?” I stated the obvious least she could answer.

She nodded in acquiescence, seemingly exhausted and lost in her hidden questions.

“Alright, let’s get you home.” I grabbed the motorbike key on the table.

8.27 p.m.

“Are you okay?” 

It was not me who asked that. 

We were a kilometer away from her house. The night air was getting colder as the motorbike rode uphill. We entered the dark and long village road. I couldn’t do this anymore. 

I confessed, “You know what?! I don’t care. I am tired of pleasing everyone’s feelings. I am pissed. I am pissed at your dad. I mean, we used to go out until ten, and it was totally fine! I bet he did not know that because he was always away from you, at work, always busy.

Meanwhile, he only gives us one day to spend together before you return to Jakarta tomorrow. He did not even look me in the eyes earlier! It annoyed me so bad.”

I adjusted the rearview mirror so I could see her reaction. Stunned, but I had not finished yet.

“If we just have more time, maybe we can figure out what is happening and discuss this together, but you have been silent for the whole day! Our only day. I can guess that it is probably a family issue, a big one. And it pissed me off. So much! That you have to go through all this hassle while I can’t even do much to help you.”

My heartbeat rushed. I exhaled as if I had just run a thousand miles of a marathon, panting. I did not realize that I had been gripping the gas pedal like I wanted to crush it.

The rearview mirror shook violently after the last speed bump, and then it suddenly went steady. Her home was a hundred meters away now, and I could see her face more clearly under the street light.

The stars were lit in her eyes. Her smile now pictured an exhaling relief as if she had been waiting for the words to be spoken for her. 

The answer was my acquiescence all along.


Author: Agnes Seraphine

Editor: Sitti Aminah Intan Utami, Vonna Meisya Saputra (QC)

Illustrator: Angelita Dayang Diva

Leave a Reply