Thursday, May 23, 2024

Look What I Found by Victoria Chatham


Occasionally, I get busy tidying up old files, deleting many that have served their purpose, or, more often these days, forgetting why I saved documents or articles in the first place. One file was titled 'Shorts.' When I opened it, expecting to see short stories, I found a series of writing exercises, some as far back as 1997, from various workshops or classes. There were one-line prompts and then my effort to write something about it. 

Now, I've never enjoyed a situation where you are given a topic or prompt and asked to write about it for the next twenty minutes. My mind doesn't work that quickly. But, amongst the clutter were several 'postcard' stories. Postcard stories are usually no more than two hundred and fifty words long, often less, so maybe I had that in mind when I named the file. This is one of those postcard stories.


 Zach is fifteen, too old to be picking strawberries. His sister, three years younger, tugs his arm.

“Bet I can pick more than you,” she says.

“Can’t,” Zach mutters under his breath and strides away between the arrow-straight rows, kicking up sun-scorched dust with the toes of his runners.

“Zach!” His mother’s voice reminds him of why they are here.

He drops to his knees and parts the green canopy of protective leaves to reveal the bright fruit beneath. His fingers close around a plump, glistening berry, but before he can separate it from its stem, other fingers close around his. He looks up into a pair of blue eyes twinkling with mischief. A blue and white bandana holds back the girl’s dark hair. They stare at each other across the green spine of glossy leaves.

“I got it first,” he says.

She pouts and releases his fingers. Zach thinks of how many berries might be in his sister’s basket as he plucks the fruit and then hands it to the girl. As she takes it, her fingers again brush his. She sinks her perfect teeth into the succulent, pale pink flesh. Seduced by her moist tongue caressing the berry between her fingers, he catches his breath.

Time stands still as he imagines the texture and flavour of the berry in his mouth and tongue.

“Thank you,” she whispers, giving him a full, knowing smile.

Then she is gone, and Zach continues picking strawberries.


Victoria Chatham




Image from author's collection.

1 comment:

  1. How deliciously fresh and innocent. I felt included in the experience. Thanks for sharing.


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