Finnian Burnett

Author, Educator, Cat Person

This prompt was to take the last line from an Anne Tyler book – Redhead by the Side of the Road and the last line from Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine and make one the first line and the other the last line of a flash fiction piece. We had a few minutes to write and I came up with this mash up.

Dandelions by the Side of the Road

They are walking so close together that they’re stumbling over each other’s feet, and he begins to feel happy. Her hand is warm, not too warm, just enough to take the chill from his and he thinks any moment she’ll pull away and take half a step sideways just to regain her balance. Another step, a corner turned. If her father looks out the store window now, he’ll see only an empty street. One more turn and they’re scrambling down the bank to the creek, emerging on the other side with soaked shoes and then they’re climbing up the opposite embankment.

They’re running on the railroad tracks, putting another mile between their slender young backs and the town where their mothers grow old too quickly, where the girl’s sister will get pregnant in high school and marry before she starts to show, where his father beat beats the children with his belt because he doesn’t know what else to do with his rage.

She stops for a moment to pick a dandelion from the side of the road, rubbing the flower head under his chin. He lifts his head to the sky before kissing her. And they’re hitchhiking on the highway and they’re in a new city with new lives and he kisses her in their new home, and she makes a quilt for their new bed and they curl under it and sleeping put an end to summer 1928.

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