Friday, September 20, 2019
Flash Fiction Friday, Week 38 - Perfection
The prompt this week was as follows: The genre was fantasy, the setting was an antique shop, and the item was a gold fish. Love begins in many ways, and for my character Sarah, it started with a peek into a glass bowl.
“Janice, I’ve enjoyed our lunch, but before you drop me off at home, could we stop in at that antique shop by the mall? I want to see if they have anything new.”
“New? Sarah, everything in there is junk. It’s all cracked, dusty, and…”
“Come on, you know what I meant. I love the knick knacks I’ve found there. Besides, it’s okay if they’re flawed. Something doesn’t have to be perfect to be loved. All it takes…”
Sarah stopped, and turned away to look out the car window. She had been born with deformed legs, and wore braces that enabled her to walk. A childhood disease had left her blind in one eye. She had never dated, and even her own parents had been ashamed to be seen with her in public.
“Sarah, we’ll stop there. You take your time. I don’t need anything, so I’ll wait in the car. There’s no hurry, hon.”
Sarah was surprised to see a young man behind the counter. The elderly lady who ran the stop was very unpleasant and always seemed angry, but Sarah was used to her. She was concerned, and asked about her.
“My grandmother passed away,” he said. “I’m here to close the shop. I have my own business out of state, and there’s no other family to keep this going. Everything is half off, Miss. See anything you like?”
Sarah noticed the goldfish on the counter. It looked pitiful with only one eye, twisted fins, and malformed tail.
“Is the goldfish for sale?” Poor thing, she thought, it needs someone to love it.
“That thing?” The young man handed the bowl to Sarah. “It was behind the counter. I was going to dump it in the river. You can have it. Anything else for you?”
“Not today, but thank you. This is all I need.”
“You bought an ugly fish, Sarah? How much did they cheat you out of for that?”
“He was free, Janice, and he’s not ugly. He’s flawed – like me. I can’t explain it, but he needs me, and I need him too.”
“As long as you’re happy, dear. I’ll drop you off at home now.”
Sarah put fresh water in the fish’s bowl and sprinkled some food on top that the man in the shop had given her. She placed the bowl on the kitchen counter, and cautioned her cat Tangerine.
“Tange, this is our new friend. You leave him alone because he’s not very strong. I’m going to get a book from the living room, and then you and I will go sit in the back yard.”
When she heard the crash, Sarah ran into the kitchen. She saw that her cat had gotten on the counter and knocked the fish bowl on the floor. Tangerine was standing over the fish, nibbling at its tail.
“No! Get away!” Sarah shouted and clapped her hands to get the cat away from the fish. She couldn’t bear the thought of her poor little fish coming to such a brutal end. She opened the back door and Tangerine ran out into the yard. She picked up the fish, and quickly got a bowl from the cupboard and filled it with water. She hoped it wasn’t too late to save her beloved fish.
“Please don’t die,” she said quietly. “I need you to be all right. I love you.”
All of a sudden, the fish disappeared from her hand, and a tall young man appeared in front of her. He was missing one arm, and his back was hunched. She looked up at his face, and thought he had the most beautiful eyes she had ever seen. She felt faint.
“Do not fear me, dear lady. I am Simon, and you have said the words to break my curse. You told me you loved me, and broke the spell. You see, the old woman in the shop was a witch. Ages ago, she wanted us to marry, but I loved another. She had an ugly soul and caused my beloved to fall ill and die. She then approached me again, and I told her I could never marry anyone with a hateful heart. She put a spell on me, and turned me into a deformed goldfish. She said now, no one would ever love me. Then she laughed, and said if some poor soul did, the spell would be broken. She had added that as a cruel joke, knowing in her black heart it would never happen.
“She kept me behind the counter to make sure I’d never find a caring home. When she died, the Heavens blessed me because her grandson brought me out of hiding, and you, my lovely one, took me and saved me.”
“I am not lovely at all. I am crippled, and half blind.”
“Your heart and soul are pure and kind, and you are filled with love. I knew these things the first time I saw you through the glass in the shop. I also knew I loved you then too. Time had stopped for me while cursed, but all is back in order now. You and I will grow old together, my precious, and a perfect future awaits.”