Every synapse in me stretched outwards hoping to catch her. But it was hopeless. Too many scents and sounds crowded my ability to find her, her braided hair becoming another pattern in the fabrics along the stalls. I could barely hear the sizzling and shouts of the vendors above my pounding heart, yet I could not seem to persuade my feet to move forward. I was frozen in a space that never stopped moving.
And I continued to break my own heart.
How could I let her get away like that? How could I take her answer at such face value and not try to negotiate for better? Wasn’t this the perfect place for such business?
I was a failure; yet again.
I couldn’t hold onto her, I never could.
She was as free as the smoke that rose from endless pans of curried meats and veggies.
Tantalizing desires, yet she was a flavor that couldn’t ever be contained.
My insides ached with desire.
I do not know how long I stood there, a complete inconvenience to all those who tried to pass through in a hurry or excitement (or both). Yet I was neither. And it took all the strength I seemed to have harbored somewhere in me to return to my body.
Endless mountains of perfectly still spices lined my vision yet somehow seemed muted. I couldn’t tell if I was losing my vision or just the motivation to go on.
Yet it seemed that when my focus ceased to blur for mere moments that I had started to put one foot in front of the other. I wasn’t sure where I was heading, but I allowed myself to disassociate forward, praying that I’d somehow be led towards peace.
I let myself lead the way, which you’d think would be obvious- but when in a state of despair, it’s often hard to trust. Somewhere inside I must have had some trust in myself left. But I led the way through the bustling street market that never seemed to stop moving. I had become another cog in the machine moving time along for the trying merchant. I didn’t know if what moved me anymore was trust or just a helpless sense of wandering.
I allowed myself to wonder what life could have been like if she had stayed; if I had acted differently. I entertained the idea of life prior to even meeting her, and if I would have turned out happier or worse off. And lastly, as I arrived at the edge of the market, I let myself ponder if life was even worth living without her now.
If only things could have turned out differently.
If only we would have tried just a little bit longer, a little bit harder.
If only we heard each other just a little better.
But now all that could be heard was the traffic of another day, the shuffle of humanity, and the scream that pierced through in the aftermath of a trigger pulled by the broken hearted.
This short story was written as a prompt exercise to try to get myself back into flash fiction. I wasn't sure where I wanted to lead with this story to be honest. The character sort of took the reins on this one and seemed to have led in a dark direction. Some stories just don't have happy endings. Sometimes we give into the sadness and ache.
It was quite a dark experience, writing this. Not sure what more to say, but it was definitely interesting writing such dark inner monologue.
The prompt: Start or end your story in a bustling street food market courtesy of Reedsy.com