This story was first published in September 2021 in Flash Fiction North


I stopped at the chemist to buy some mints, hoping they might mask the twin evils of beer and onion. I was in enough trouble as it was. I stood at the lights waiting for the green man when I heard someone yelling. I looked in the direction of the noise and saw a girl in a red dress tearing down the library steps. No one seemed to be chasing her, but then she raised her arms spastically and ran toward me, straight onto the road. I opened my mouth to say NOOO, by which time all the metallic bangs and screeches had occurred. For the space of a sucked in breath, Macquarie Street was silent.


 I had been working in the library, or more truthfully, I’d been flicking pages and doodling as I moped. Suddenly my phone vibrated. The text said ‘I’m staying. I love you’. I sucked in my breath and it stayed there, locked up. And then another text: ‘I’m across the road’.

                    I smashed everything into my handbag and raced for the exit. I shoved my way past the heavy front doors and ran out into the sunlight. He was there, at the lights, signalling to me. Nearly tripping over two people with their heads together at the bottom of the steps, I dashed to the street. I raised my arms above my head, waving like mad as I ran towards him.