– Fierce Fiction by Jennifer Zeller –
Honourable Mention in the 2021 Dreamers Flash Fiction & Nonfiction Contest.
Standing in lush, knee-high grass, staring at the seventy-year-old brown paint flaking off of the south side of the barn, my heart ached.
Covering my eyes to block out the flare of the sun, I noticed how the thorny raspberry bushes reached the undersides of the six-pane windows that were held up by horizontal weathered boards. Years of pelting rain, and frost, and snowfall, and more rain, had beaten the wood into a beautiful gradation of chocolate, chestnut, and ginger.
The echo of young voices in distress hammered in my head. I mulled over what I could have done differently. A crack in one of the hazy panes caught my eye. A fissure.
Sorrow rose up through my feet, filling my body, a familiar sludge that I had come to know well. I wanted to run and hide in the barn. Let it be the strong one.
In my mind, I peered out of the barn window and looked at the person in the grassy field. Judging decisions made. Judging decorum. Judging the behaviour of the young ones. Remembering the eyes of the public watching and judging.
For seventy years the barn had stood. Stoic. Alone.
Young voices filled my head again, and I yearned for relief. I wondered if I pushed the noise into the barn, and pulled the massive doors closed, would the disorder stop?
The wind carried the scent of lavender across my cheeks and caressed my skin. I breathed deeply, calming my mind.
The wild raspberries called out to me. I wanted a taste. Sweetness for a moment. Challenging the barn to share, I flattened the towering grass with my onyx boots as I walked over to pick the fruit.
I placed my left hand on the barn to steady myself as I reached for a berry with my right. The aged plank gave me a splinter, but the berry was delicious. So I had another.
In the quiet, I heard the faint buzz of a furry bumblebee on the bush next to me. I watched as it moved along the top of a branch, and then it flew to the underside and stood upside-down for a few moments.
Overturned. Life is like that sometimes.
About the Author – Jennifer Zeller
Jennifer Zeller is a Canadian Writer who covers topics of meaning that focus on compassion, empathy, and the nuances and challenges of relationships, parenting, personal sovereignty, etc. She wants to bring people together so they know they are not alone in their struggles. We live in a complex world of polarity, and Jennifer aims to emphasize to people that they can be there for each other…creating a Global Village. Her purpose is to remind people of their inner strength and humanity, and to help them remember that love is the center of life. jennyzeller.ca
Contact Jennifer at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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