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I ran into them at the park. They were sitting on the bench. I was taking a walk, so I had to stop to say hello.

She was reading her book, but he was playing on her phone. I looked down. My game.

Everyone was playing it. I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I wasn’t expecting it.

He knew the app so well. His little hands barely fit around the phone, but he knew every turn, timed every jump, grabbed every coin. Three stars on every level.

“Does he play on the phone a lot?”

“Not as much as other kids, but it keeps him occupied.”

“Isn’t he too young for it?” He must be like four now? Did he turn five? How old did most kids get phones?

She sighed. “You don’t get to ask me that.”

She’s right. She’d said he’s doing alright in preschool. He’s eating fine. He doesn’t get in fights. She’s doing a good job.

“Is the child support coming through okay?”

She nodded. We both knew it was.

The game music cut through the silence as we tried to remember what we used to have in common.

“—He loves Adventure Chase.”

“—I meant to call more.”

We paused, trying not to overlap again.

“I made the character look like him.”

She smiled. “I saw. That was sweet.”

I smiled.

“We should do this more often; he’d like to know you.”

I looked down at him and watched as he moved to the next level. He didn’t look up. At least I gave him something.

Flash Fiction by Paige Lowe
Picture: Tetris by Diego Rivers under CC BY 2.0
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Published in Spring 2017


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