People at a supermarket line

In Line

Today was their first anniversary – an year since they had first met – and it was apt that they celebrated by coming to where it had started for them: counter 5 of the local supermarket. Only this time, they had one bill between them; they had started living together last month.

She was cute that day in the line just before him, in her kurti and jeans, and he hot in all denim. But they connected over (after he had racked his brains for an opening line) their mostly similar grocery list. Both were single, lived alone, and liked cooking and eating. They had started with the standard movie-and-dinner, then moved to streaming-and-chill, and now, it was more chill than streaming.

In fact, ‘chill’ best described their relationship. No real pressure to head anywhere, whether on weekends or on some conjugal path. The decision to live together was a practical one too: it saved time getting to work and to each other, and he cooked one day and she the other. This ease perhaps comes from finding love late: both were knocking at 40 and survivors of half as many heartbreaks between them.

But actually finding each other wouldn’t have happened if they had both lived inside their smartphones, like everyone seems to these days. Else, they would have been ordering stuff on a groceries app and swiping like crazy on a matchmaking one. And never gotten into this line at counter 5.

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Interiors of a plush theatre

Flash Fiction | I Do Too

The production studio’s logo appears. The remaining lights come on. The tunnel of light-dust from the projector to the screen fades out. More cleaning staff emerge from the Exit doors, and wait.

I get up, dust the remaining crumbs from my t-shirt and jeans, quickly look around to ensure I haven’t dropped anything, and begin walking to the front of the row.

What do I see? A girl in a deep pink printed tee, faded jeans, silver tote, wavy hair falling gently on her shoulders, too walking to the front of her row, three rows ahead.

Is this possible? Another soaked-to-the-bone movie-lover?

I tentatively look at her, she returns the look, and smiles back pleasantly. I return a wider smile.

If we had been at the same level of rows, we could have for now at least walked down this aisle together.

A bearded man with glasses looking down into something

Flash Fiction | Passed

“Sir, could you check your details please?” The young woman at the counter asked him to look at the applicant monitor facing him.

He squinted at the screen. Putting his hand into his bag, which he had placed on his lap, he pulled out a spectacle case, clicked it open, spread out the temples of the glasses within, and put them on.

It was the woman’s turn to squint. “You have reading glasses…?” She politely inquired, remembering to smile.

He diverted his eyes from the screen, looked at her above his glasses, bobbed his head a couple of times, smiled back, and turned his attention again to confirming the details on the monitor.

From the corner of his eye, he saw her pick up his passport from the table none-too-discreetly (she was a young woman, after all), flip to the inside cover, and on reading his date of birth, widen her eyes and turn up her eyebrows. She couldn’t contain herself. “Sir, you don’t look so old…”

Looking at her again, his validation over, he smiled more than passport and visa snaps allow you to.