Flash Fiction Friday

Susan ran her fingers along the edge of her handbag. The brown leather was coarse against her skin. Brushing a strand of brown hair, now almost entirely grey, out of her face, she looked up at the back of the neck of the man sitting in front of her. Little beads of sweat formed and crawled into his collar.

The bus gave a sudden lurch and Susan jerked forward, her head knocking into the back of his. “Sorry! Sorry!” she cried. “I apologize!”

“It’s fine,” the man grunted, rubbing his scalp. He settled back into his seat without even looking at her.

Susan turned to the window and watched the shops and restaurants chug by. Even working at somewhere like that would have been better than nothing, she thought. She rubbed her fingers along the clean sheet of paper on the seat beside her, shaking her head. “Susan Foster. Experience: Green Hospital Receptionist 1975-1977.” It would never be enough.

That had been before she met Greg. Before he gave her everything she needed. Before she decided having kids was more important. How was she to know that he would be so bad at saving? She’d never handled anything like that before. Maybe if there was just a little more in the bank….

Susan shook her head and scolded herself. Greg had been a good husband, God rest his soul. The diamond on her left ring finger smiled up at her, small but well polished. He had always done his best.

The bus shuddered to a stop a block from the hospital. Susan rose, smoothed her dress, and climbed onto the street. When she reached the hospital, she stood by the front doors for a minute before walking inside. Behind the clear doors, people rushed about, hurrying this way and that way at a speed that seemed dizzying to Susan. Looking down at her paper, she shook her head again. Susan licked her lips and looked up at the doors again. People were hustling past, throwing her looks of irritation for standing so in the way. “Sorry,” she muttered, but no one way paying attention. Clutching her handbag to her chest, Susan took a breath and stepped through the doors.

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