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Author: Wiebo Grobler

The Man With His Head in His Hands

I watch him from my perch. The man with his head in his hands, elbows digging into the top of his legs. People fleetingly look his way as they rush past.

He can’t see me from up here. He might only be resting. Sat there on the wood bench, taking a moment to centre himself, if it wasn’t for the tell-tale shake of his shoulders. A familiar shudder induced by feelings I’ve experienced far too long and far too frequently myself.

When tear ducts are unable to contain the torrent of pent up emotion the whole body weeps to release the pain. Like phantom arms shaking you in an attempt to reset your emotional bearings. It doesn’t always work.

The old tree behind him is gnarled and bent over in mock consolation, its own leaves brown and curled up upon itself, as if it wants to provide comfort, but is unable to get past its own demons.

A girl glances at the man as she passes, but like all the others she keeps going. Her stride falters and she turns, removing her headphones.

She walks over and I see her lips form three words.

Are you ok? I shudder.

The man doesn’t lift his head from his hands.

Emotion flashes across the girl’s face. Rejection. Anger.

She places the headphones back on her head and turns away, she takes a single step before sliding the headphones back down her neck and sitting down next to him.

I can’t see what she’s saying, but I imagine her voice to be soothing, encouraging—kind.

She tentatively places her hand on his shoulder. Perhaps this was the start to his happy ending.

Her fingers move, long and slender, like a pianist. The man responds like a marionette, her fingers pulling at invisible strings, slowly forcing his head from his hands. A beautiful dance, only I was privy to.

They both look up, like a sixth sense, as I step from the ledge. I can see the look on their faces. Disbelief.

They think I’m falling, but I’m finally flying.

Flash Fiction by Wiebo Grobler

Orange Blossom Summer

Orange blossoms fell from the trees, twirling like tiny cocktail umbrellas, slowly descending on air perfumed of summer as we drove underneath.

She shook her head to dislodge the petals. A wisp of hair flew loose and I couldn’t help but stare as she tucked it away behind her ear.

We rode in silence. We knew we liked each other, but speaking of it didn’t seem right. It would spoil the moment. I gripped the reins tighter.

The sun was setting in the distance, a burning mandarin, spreading rays of colour along the clouds in a multitude of tangerine hues and bruised purples.

Golden flecks of pollen, lit up by the diffused dapple rays, floated in the air around her head like a halo.

The staccato beat of the horse hooves and rhythmic creak of the wagon wheels was like a lullaby. I could see her eyes getting heavy. It’s been a long day in the orchard. Most of it spent pretending not to look at one another.

Now. I should say something—now. I also should have paid more attention to the road. The branch struck as if it had been waiting for this moment all its life.

Straight to the forehead, I toppled backwards off the wagon, getting a zero for dismount and landing.

I opened my eyes and stared into her deep pools of blue. In the centre—a dark mischievous universe—waiting to be explored.

She smiled a beautiful, sobering smile. Like ground coffee first thing in the morning, it cleared my head.

I silently thanked the offending tree. I would happily take another tumble and fall to wake up to the beginning of what was going to be my world.

She held out her hand and I gladly took it.

Flash Fiction by Wiebo Grobler
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