Tommy Dean ~ Uncertain

1. We weren’t sup­posed to be home, both of us feign­ing sick, under­wear down around some of our ankles. Senior year. Promises made to love each oth­er forever.

2. Morning announce­ments inter­rupt­ed by the turn­ing on of TVs, the large box­es anchored to the walls, cob­webs sprayed across the backs like tin­sel. September.

3. We had talked about baby names, imag­in­ing their per­son­al­i­ties, a pass­ing game that sound­ed like com­mit­ment. Eighteen years old, the pair of us.

4. Smoke bil­lowed from the hole in the build­ing. Teachers’ faces crum­pled with the immen­si­ty of the unknown. The silence a prowl­ing hesitation.

5. I touched your hip, a new knowl­edge of heat.

6. The voic­es of news per­son­al­i­ties bor­der­ing on hys­ter­i­cal, try­ing to doc­u­ment his­to­ry as it was unfold­ing. Accident, a fath­omable explanation.

7. Promise, you asked, the tilt of your neck, the angle of your eyes an invi­ta­tion, a ques­tion­ing of my sin­cer­i­ty I did­n’t comprehend.

8. The sec­ond plane, a ghost­ly shad­ow of the first. A mis­tak­en replay. Teachers grasp­ing for the remote, but clutch­ing at their chests instead. The intake of breath just before the land­ing of a punch.

9. Jockeying for posi­tion, an awk­ward­ness borne in inex­pe­ri­ence. The mesh­ing of two bod­ies beyond hugs and hand-hold­ing. Anticipation.

10. Moments after, your head on my shoul­der, the sheen of sweat dry­ing, adher­ing body to body, thoughts spi­ral­ing like a fuse­lage toward an uncer­tain tragedy.


Tommy Dean lives in Indiana with his wife and two chil­dren. He is the author of a flash fic­tion chap­book enti­tled Special Like the People on TV from Redbird Chapbooks. He is the Editor at Fractured Lit. He has been pre­vi­ous­ly pub­lished in The BULL Magazine, The MacGuffin, The Lascaux Review, Pithead Chapel, and New Flash Fiction Review. His sto­ry “You’ve Stopped” was cho­sen by Dan Chaon to be includ­ed in Best Microfiction 2019. It will also be includ­ed in Best Small Fiction 2019. Find him @TommyDeanWriter on Twitter.