Hi all, I totally understand if you're busy, but if anyone could read my flash fiction story and give me feedback that would be great! Feel free to beat me with sticks via the comment box if you see anything glaring. But please - only paddle-pop sticks - they're tiny and constructive. :/
I'd especially like to hear if the story and themes make sense considering the 500 word limit. I've removed the last line, as I said I might do, and have edited the piece overall.
Thaaanks! I will be submitting this to the 500 word challenge over at Waxings: http://waxings.wordpress.com/500-word-challenge/breath/
*Note: I've done some editing since, and this version is now longer than 500 words.
My lungs inflated right before my knees, chest and mouth hit the pavement. My beautiful ice-blue bicycle mimicked my fall like an adoring pet, only with the instinct to fall on the grassy nature strip. Teeth panging and mouth laced with fine gravel, I rushed my fingers up to my face. The wet on my lips was as red as my mother’s good lipstick - the shade she wears on dates, or to the Parents' Association meetings, where [my aunt Lilly says] they all throw verbal punches at mum. I pressed my lips together to stop it dripping.
Mr Allemand's cream picket fence blocked out the morning sun while I sat and recovered from wheezing. The milk was still on his porch from yesterday, turning into brilliant yellow bottles of cheese in the sun. Just not the kind you can eat, as mum always says. We have cheese of both kinds in our fridge. Mum and I got our refrigerator much later than other families did. I thought fridges kept food safe forever, and I was quite sick that month. My best friend, Martha, missed me terribly in those days I skipped school. How would we cope now?
Counting my grazes, I picked the best, imagining which one mum would say. My left knee - wait - no. Yes, definitely my left. I hauled my bike up theatrically, pretending it was a motorcycle while I grimaced sideways at Eddie Pierce’s house, but he wasn’t in his driveway yet, washing his Harley. I would see him on the way back. Suddenly my chest ached more than my teeth at the thought of returning home.
Martha’s driveway was several houses ahead, in view between the Robinia trees lining her lovely street. From this distance, I could believe her parents were having a garage sale of furniture on their lawn, and if I blurred my eyes - a birthday party for Martha. But the giant truck parked on the street would need to vanish, or turn into a travelling carnival stage. I dangled my feet off my pedals and let the wheels soundlessly carry me, rolling in front of Martha’s house like I was perched on a moving set in a Broadway musical. The familiar chrome glint of my rims would now be sparkling through the lace curtains of her windows. The front door opened.
Martha took a step forward, then the crutches. I dumped my bike among the boxes and furniture, and ran to my friend. Not knowing what to say anymore, we hugged each other hard and soft and hard again. I cried helplessly, and the tears ran down my chin and glued it to her shoulder. Was this the worst I would feel? What about tomorrow? I thought of mum and how Henry went off to war. I never met him. I remembered all the times she told me she missed him so bad her heart ached in her chest, and how my eyes would daze off. My tears doubled and my chest deflated with a long, quivering breath.