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Flash Fiction: Holiday Plans

New flash fiction about Amalia and Carina from my recently released blog fiction, Tin Soldier. It's also linked at Three Word Wednesday which is a great place to drop in and read new writers.


"What would you like to do for Christmas?"

Carina gave her sister a blank look. "I'm not interested, and you've never liked all the fuss. Let's skip it."

Amalia understood why her sister might not embrace the holidays with her old enthusiasm this year, but it troubled her that she moped with such persistence. "It doesn't have to be anything fancy, but we need to think of the children."

"They used to be street kids. I doubt they believe in Santa Claus or have had any religious instruction. It's not a special occasion for them; it's just another day."

"Then we should teach them. Not about Santa, of course," she added at Carina's blink of surprise. "But they should know about Jesus and presents and all that. Even if they don't grow up to be Christians, it's part of their culture, and we can't let them go around ignorant."

With a sigh, Carina set her knitting aside and stood up. "Do whatever you want. You usually do, anyway."

"I could say the same of you."

For a moment their eyes met, then Carina looked away. "I would think you, of all people, would understand."

Amalia ducked her head. Of course she understood...kind of. But her husband had been killed early in the war, while she still had clear memories of him. Carina's husband had been gone for a decade, and they had only known each other a few months before he was drafted. How deeply could she grieve over a man who had hardly been part of her life at all?

She was on the point of saying something to put her frivolous sister in her place, when their eyes met again and Amalia understood. It wasn't the loss of Miles that she grieved, but the loss of a youth squandered on waiting for his return. She had put all her hope into a future in which she and her physician husband would transform this poor desert valley. Now it was all a waste.

Amalia stood and took Carina in her arms. "I'm sorry. Christmas can go to hell, for all I care."

Carina pulled away and forced a smile. "You're right, though. It's not fair to the children."

"Maybe just a nice dinner and presents? Presents for the kids, of course; not us."

"Sounds good." Carina smiled again, and this time it was genuine. "We can do presents for us, too."

"I'm sure Donovan intends to pick something up for us when he goes to market, so it would only be fair to have something for him, too."

Carina blushed and turned away. "You figure out that part, okay?"

Amalia watched her walk away and wondered, as she had so many times it made her head hurt, just what had happened between them when he took her to Jonasville to retrieve her husband's body and effects. She had her suspicions, but if she gave in to every little fear or jealousy, she'd have time for nothing else.

Amalia sat down and picked up her knitting. She had a Christmas party to plan.


If you want more, Tin Soldier is free and online.


Old Egg said...

What an emotive piece that picks up several nuances of grieving and the process of coming out of that pit. I especially liked the touch of jealousy at the thought that Carina may have a new relationship.

February 17, 2011 at 12:55 AM
Susan Helene Gottfried said...

They have a very complex relationship. I'm intrigued...

February 17, 2011 at 10:58 AM
Alice Audrey said...

I like the way you look at the subtleties of grief here.

February 18, 2011 at 5:06 PM
trisha said...

it takes a strong heart to give up rational, justified grief.


February 20, 2011 at 4:52 AM
Julia Phillips Smith said...

When you're in the middle of your own grief, it's hard to see that other people grieve, also - I like the realization that comes over Amalia in this piece.

February 20, 2011 at 10:50 AM
Thom Gabrukiewicz said...

Very rich detail here, much different from your other two threads. Powerful stuff here.

February 22, 2011 at 10:13 AM
Anonymous said...

Subtle, but immediately gripping. I enjoyed this segment. I've bookmarked Tim Soldier and will make time to read all.

Thanks for being a part of the Weekend Writers Retreat.

My WWR: Hypochondria

February 22, 2011 at 12:12 PM
Alice Audrey said...

I have an award for you.

February 23, 2011 at 9:40 AM

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