A piece I wrote for Fiction Writing. Inspired by Brittany Rebecca, my best friend who committed suicide. It’s supposed to be flash fiction (a stripped short story written under 300 words in this case).
The title was assigned to me by the professor in light of Tim O’Brien’s novel “The Things They Carried”.
She hates airports— the smell, the bustle, everything. The noise makes her light-headed, so she is collapsed in a chair. A box of Girl Scout cookies sits next to her, half-eaten. The box top is mostly torn off.
In her carry-on is a passport, marked twice for England and for home. An eagle’s feather that her students gave her on a nature hunt pokes out. A wad of Euros is tucked away, large bill that roughly equal 500 American dollars, or so she thinks. Math isn’t her strong suit.
She fingers the bracelet on her wrist. The rope is fraying. The beads are faded from the sun. The water stains make it rough on her wrist. She touches underneath it to make sure they’re still there. They are. Strands of brown hair are tucked in between the braids, a reminder that she’s dead.
She was studying abroad when she heard. She snagged the first flight. She sat in the same airport. Except, the friendship bracelet that she wore then now carried a bigger piece of her best friend. She wore it often growing up, but hasn’t taken it off for the last six years.
She breathes a little easier. Her stomach doesn’t feel the same dread as the last time she returned to the States.
A hand squeezes her left one reassuringly. She looks down at their clasped hands, the diamond glinting on her finger. She smiles.
“Ready, love?” he says in a British lilt.
She nods slowly, her hand leaving his. She breathes deeply and reaches down to untie the bracelet. The frayed ends caress her fingertips. She slips her fingers through the braids to touch the strands of hair once more.
When it is free, it falls into her lap. She wraps her hand around the braids and pockets it. She reaches for him and her carry-on and begins to board.
P.S.-The end of this story involves closure that I do not feel. It simply ends this way for story purposes.