"Candy Apple Red" (Flash fiction piece)
The right side of my face is numb. The wind lashes against my body. Snowflakes lick at my cheeks and escape into the miniscule gap between my coat zipper and my skin.
I can do this. Only ten paces separate me from providence. My knees tremble and my hands sweat inside my pockets, but my eyes are steady. Ten steps. Right foot. Left foot. Repeat. A disembodied forefinger reaches out to trigger the doorbell. Clouds of warm breath balloon in front of my nose. My heart fights to win the battle against my brain.
The porch light turns on. I hold my breath as the candy apple red door opens and he steps out. Tufts of curly copper hair rustle in the harsh wind, but soft amber eyes meet mine in surprise. I bite my lip and fight the urge to turn on my heel. Suddenly the slushy ground beneath my boots becomes fascinating. I nudge aside salt piles with my toe. I shouldn’t have come. I prepare myself to mutter a halfhearted excuse before bolting back down the side walk.
I look up. The breath stops in my lungs and all words dissipate on my tongue. There’s a fluttery feeling like the pluck of a heavy steel string in my chest.