Sitting Ducks

Image of Long Story Short Award - Fall 2020
Image of Short Fiction
We now rest like bugs hanging onto the blades of grasses underneath us, intertwined like we were on our little blanket on the hill. Water soaked through every pore under our backs, seeping into our hair and clothes, a rightful deterrent, but never stopped us. We must have lain for hours just for one feeling, one fleeing feeling falling over us like the early winter breeze we just kept ignoring as we pondered the silence that said all too much about us both. Sitting ducks, all of us, me and you, the bugs in the grass, too scared to move or make the move, each waiting to strike on the first opportunity, out for each other by the bite of an ankle or the swell of a mouth. Maybe we were too scared to say it, even more afraid to hear it, words that spilled out alone on my desk with little spots swollen where I didn’t wipe the drops, you practicing alone in your car before you got here because I just know you. The more inevitable truth is that we already knew, our pretend ignorance not so blissful but preventing the dread of mourning, kidding no one because we already were.

Barely feeling each other, legs crossed and arms woven, hands touching by just the fingerprint, we were unknowing if it was the growing cold or just us driving our touch to numbness. Hours moved on that damp blanket of quiet breathing together, but never in unison, swearing sometimes you’d hear it catch in the throat, swearing when it would catch in your own. Sometimes yours would hitch and I would make mine, too, but your eyes never moved over, and my eyes would fall back to watch the bugs that sometimes stopped breathing, too. Maybe they were grieving for us, or maybe just hungry to jump and bite, but most certainly pensive and scared like we were, a song stuck up inside them like what neither of us were saying. Me, you, the bugs perched all around, paused in wait, a group of little sitting ducks on the hill, all of us killed by every slightest move, perhaps each just as captivated by silence.