Flash Fiction
Dear Mr. Russakoff,

Please excuse Virginia’s tardy entrance. We
were well on our way (though perhaps running a
little late already) when we fell upon the most
remarkable scene: a woman (not many years
younger than I am, though I suppose it would be
more appropriate to call her a girl), a girl
stepped out onto the crosswalk, paying I
imagine little attention to the crossing light, and
upon doing so seemed struck by something,
some sight perhaps, so utterly and profoundly
that she paused right then and there in the
middle of the black and white crosswalk, the
breeze lightly stirring her thin dress, and from
inside our car she seemed an apparition as she
glittered and shimmered and was moved in
place by the rippling heat of the sun (which rose
remarkably early this morning, even if we are
now in the latter days of May). Now I can’t
imagine anyone would blame me for what
happened next, because I was so struck by the
beauty and fragility of it all that I was
transported to another world and forgot for one
second (not more than one second, I assure
you) where I was in actuality, though I was
anchored to our reality by the speed of the car
which closed in upon this girl with such
frightening velocity that that one second of
absence was enough to ruffle the order and
divide of the two universes which in that
moment I inhabited simultaneously, and to
eradicate one just as utterly and instantaneously
as it brought the other into focus, along with the
girl’s face, which displayed such shock and
regret as I have never seen before on the visage
of a human being (though I have known it to
appear occasionally on the faces of cats). There
are occurrences, though generally few and far
between, which seem to remind us in these brief
moments of transportation to other worlds just
what it is about our very own version of reality
that is clever and wonderful enough to prevent
us from floating off to other planes of existence,
which we might be tempted to do if our
experience of living retained the aspect of
uninterrupted banality which floods our daily
lives and threatens to fill our lungs with an
unbearable volume. It was at that moment of
potential impact that such an occurrence tore its
way through the veil of inert inevitability that
cloaked the future that would follow that
imminent disaster I had imagined briefly and, in
that tearing of threads, prevented the snapping
of a different sort of string: the young man who
she had stood alongside at the curb streaked
past my windshield in a desperate attempt to
spin the thread of his beloved’s life out further
(perhaps at the expense of his own), and life, in
one of its precious and endearing triumphs over
those suffocating portents that hang shadowy
and constant over our heads, scooped the young
man and his beloved up in its piteous and
forgiving arms and lay the couple down again
out of the path of my speeding car, the speeding
car whose acceleration had jerked me quickly
down to earth to witness the girl’s extraordinary

I slammed on the brakes of the car and skidded
to a halt; I could see the lovers in my rearview
mirror, entwined in a fragile position that I have
seen formed in but two situations: after the sort
of dulcet lovemaking that produces long,
sonorous tones that ring long after the act itself
has finished, and, as in this situation, one in
which a man, in a sudden electrical bolt of
comprehension and commitment, realizes that
the feeling which he has declared to be love is,
in fact, the love of which he spoke, but which he
did not know until then could bring him to
substitute the fate of another for his own.
Of course, I exited the car; of course, I made
sure that the girl was all right; of course, I
congratulated them on their recent engagement;
but throughout it all, I could not help but retreat
inside myself to examine what I had just
witnessed and what it was that had revealed
itself to me in that instance of reality’s
compassion, for here was a man who loved in a
way that I had never been loved, who loved a
girl who was not me in a manner I had not
experienced. It was revealed to me suddenly,
sitting still and in shock in the driver’s seat of the
car as the heat of the sun distorted my face in
the sideview mirror, that what I had just viewed
was what had been missing for the entirety of
my life, that the hole that this young man had
torn through the veil of inevitable fate had in
many ways revealed the hole whose presence I
had always felt, but never noticed or
understood, and now, having revealed itself to
me, I can think only of where to find the needle
and the thread with which I may finally sew
closed this gaping whole, frayed at the edges
from many years of neglect. Where this man is,
this patch for the tear in my soul, I cannot know,
though I do know he is not the father of my
child, dearest Virginia, who for obvious reasons
had some trouble arriving to class on time, for
which I must apologize.

Chloë Boxer is a writer and costume designer from Brooklyn,
New York, where she is cobbling together her first novel. She
studied English literature, French, and creative writing at
Vassar College. This is her first fiction publication.
by Chloë Boxer