Flash Fiction: "Grief's Crossing" by Rebecca Muñoz



I find myself walking down the stairs to the terminal for the eighth time this year. The rails on

either side are still empty by the time I reach my usual spot on the bench, and I offer a small

smile to the woman occupying the space beside it.


Typically, I sit with my thoughts for some time and inevitably take the same train back home.

However, she cuts right to the chase this time.


“Are you taking the P train again?” she asks, slouching against the back of her seat. Her

expression betrays any sense of actual curiosity behind the question—there is an answer that she

expects, and it is woven with predetermined disappointment along her brow line. “You don’t

only live in the past, you know.”


Trying to hide my sigh is pointless. We knew each other so well.


“Is that so bad?”


“Does it take you wherever it is that you need to go?”


I shake my head. “I’m not sure where that is.”


The whistle-like screeching of the subway cars fades in from the black holes at both ends of the

terminal, and I swallow the usual lump in my throat that comes at equal velocity. I must leave

soon.


“How do you think I’m doing?” I ask, ignoring the crack in my voice.


She smirks a little. “You’re clearly doing worse without me.”


She was always like this. A spark of well-intentioned snark. It’s one of the qualities that I had loved

most about her, and a quality I now hate seeing in anyone else. Yet, I always feel like

I’m looking for her in everyone I meet.


A stray tear manages to escape, and I ball up my hands in my lap as the trains still themselves at

the station, wheels groaning and echoing throughout the chamber.


I force a weak chuckle, for her sake more than mine.


“It’s been two years,” she says, her words soft like her hands as they wrap themselves around my

whitened knuckles. “You haven’t been coming here as much as you used to. Maybe that means

it’s time for you to make a different decision.” She tilts her chin toward the train in front of us,

toward a track that I fear so deeply that it still leaves me choked up most nights when my palms

remind me of the vacant space on the other side of our bed.


“I’m terribly indecisive.”


“This isn’t like our movie nights on the weekend, okay?” Her smile, tender as the memories that

come with it, warms me like it used to. “I can’t make an executive choice for you anymore. You

have to move on.”


It isn’t what I want to hear.


The metal doors of the subway cars creak to life, opening themselves up to me and all of my

conflicted feelings. The F train stares back at me, and anxiety wells up in me at the mere idea of

never being able to see her again. I don’t understand how it could have happened so long ago yet

still feel like last week.


I meet her gaze; it’s as kind as I remember. I always did love the crow’s feet whenever her smile

met her eyes, and even now after all is gone I can’t help but fall a little more as she pulls me into

a hug.


I hate the feeling of finality that surrounds me. Maybe it is time.


“I’ll see you again, right?” I ask, squeezing her tight.


“Of course.” She lets go, nudging me until I stand. “But not too soon, okay?”


I manage a smile and a nod, taking tentative steps toward the F train. The yellow line at the edge

waits for me, reminding me that this is a leap of faith.


I take it.


The doors close, and I look back through the window one last time. She sits there at the bench,

teary-eyed and as beautiful as I last saw her. And then she’s gone.


As much as it pains me to know that it will be done without her, I know that she will be proud of

me for being on the right track toward the future.






Rebecca Muñoz is a hobbyist writer with a love for many mediums of storytelling, be it novels or video games or movies. She hopes to one day build a fictional world that will evoke emotions in others as storybook adventures always did for her. She can be found on Twitter @siniscule