“Live a Little”

This is the second story in this summer’s online Flash Fiction series. You can read the entire series, and our Flash Fiction stories from previous years, here.

His wife, Ariadne, rinses egg dregs from yet another dish, but the sticky residue chooses to stick to her fingers!—and she may be a touch dismayed by the sensation.

Her husband has to frown because he notices his wife frown and because all the members of his family, it seems to him, are acting sad or are actually sad.

But the back door of the house has been opening and shutting often—and for the husband, the father, that sound hints at his idea of a happy summertime. That is the significance of that sound for him.

He is at that door as he follows Ariadne to where she is stretched out on a garden chaise longue, and a child or two of theirs is out there also, in the sandbox.

But, these days, his getting too close to Ariadne might result in a variety of symptoms for either one of them, ranging from moderate to severe to fatal—he must realize.

He puts his hands on Ariadne’s throat when she speaks to him, pinching it just enough to snap a stem, say, but not enough to kill a whole plant.

Then he returns to the house to escape her, but she finds him rather quickly to exhibit her spilling eyes and her tightened mouth.

But don’t ardor and rage amount to—usually appear—nearly the same? For the husband, at any rate, they do.

And when he takes into account their children—he thinks that perhaps they are not so sad, for what do they lack?

Today, the family’s sandbox is abundantly moist, wet enough for the children to be busy making cakes and digging gritty holes.

It is for the best that the twins enjoy stabbing at the sand. They are strengthening their finger and hand muscles with their toy shovels, and they absolutely relish listening to the grains of sand hiss.

The natural enthusiasm of this sand is so influential, so persuasive, as it is poked and sprayed and even knuckled under—or just played with a bit. ♦

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