Theodore Jerome Cohen is the Readers’ Choice in this week’s Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Challenge. The winning entry is decided by the popular vote and rewarded with a special feature here today. (In the case of a tie, the writer who submitted an entry first is the winner per our rules.) Without further ado, here’s the winning story:
by Theodore Jerome Cohen
“What made you think of her, Steve?” he asked, staring into the black water of the lake at sunset.
“Molly? I don’t know. Maybe what you said about college triggered something in my mind.”
“Those were great years at Madison, especially in the spring, after those horrific winters! My God, I never knew it could get that cold. Remember how great it was to finally get out and sunbathe at the Union pier on Lake Mendota?”
Steve looked into the distance at nothing in particular. Then, he took a deep breath. “You know, even after all these years, I still can’t figure out what happened. We went steady from the time we were sophomores, we both loved children, and I figured we’d be married after graduation, move to Chicago—I already had a job lined up there with my uncle’s accounting firm—and life would be great. But then, she went home for spring break—”
Neither man said anything for a minute. Again, it was Steve who broke the silence.
“But then, she went home for spring break. When she returned, everything changed. I don’t know if she met someone new, whether her parents had put the kibosh on our relationship—I always got the sense they weren’t that keen on me, my being from the Midwest and all, or what. But it got to the point where we simply agreed to go our separate ways, and I never saw her again after graduation.
“I hope she’s happy somewhere.”