A friend of mine recently told me about Flash Fiction Carnival. This month's topic is "cowardice" and below is my flash piece. I really didn't like the topic, and had a hard time coming up with something. I figured that in these cases it would be best to try to work on a particular skill. So, I tried to focus on characterization and voice in this piece.
A Tough Decision
"I am not being a coward." Susanna thought that if she just kept telling herself that, maybe eventually she would come to believe it.
She had known that sleeping with Bobby would be a mistake. But, she loved him and he had told her he loved her too. It was easy to look into those deep brown eyes of his and believe him. It probably didn't hurt that she had wanted to believe him. Had wanted him to love her. And once his hands had started to creep under her skirt, she hadn't wanted him to stop either.
But, once again, her mama was right. Good girls don't go parking with boys, just like good girls don't wear short skirts. But she had gone parking with Bobby, wearing a skirt that was too short. She had proven she was not a good girl. And now, she was paying the price.
Susanna spent the first month in denial, certain that there was some other explanation for her missed period. But, after the second month she knew she had to find out for sure.
She borrowed the car and drove 45 minutes away to go to a Wal-Mart where nobody would recognize her. She bought the test and then snuck into the store's bathroom. She wanted to leave all evidence behind where it could not be traced back to her.
This plan had made complete sense to her until she looked down at her fate in the form of an x on a stick. Then she didn't want to be sitting on the toilet in the Wal-Mart. And she didn't want to be alone. She wanted to be held by her mama or even Bobby. She wanted somebody to tell her it was all going to be okay. But, nobody had done that.
She told Bobby, although now she wished she hadn't. He got mad and angry. He didn't want to believe she was pregnant at first, then didn't want to believe it was his. She finally begged him just not to tell anybody. She didn't want anything from him but for him to not tell anyone.
She thought about telling her parents. But she knew mama would never forgive her and she couldn't stand to think of what daddy's face would look like when he found out she really wasn't his 'perfect little angel'.
So, she was taking the only other option she saw available to her. She was leaving. Susanna looked down at the small duffel bag between her feet. It held everything that mattered to her. Everything that she thought she couldn't live without. It wasn't much. Some clothes, her diary, a few family pictures. She had some money saved up from working last summer at the supermarket.
She had a one way ticket on a Greyhound bus going to Birmingham. She wasn't sure what she'd do when she got there. But, she'd figure out something. She was smart, capable.
She just had to get out of town before she started showing and everybody learned what had happened. Better to disappear than to stick around and face the shame.