Hand, she says. We walk, our long winter coats touching. Before we reach the corner, her hand searches for mine. Gloveless, it’s in my pocket trying to keep warm. Don’t always make me ask for your hand, she says, through clenched teeth.
Hand, I say, and she ignores me, instead stands holding her four-pronged cane, her black shoes resting on the curb. Hand, I say again, and she ignores me still, showing her stubbornness, waiting for me to lift her gloved hand from her side and hold it while crossing the street. Once we’re across, Mom rubs her hand on my sleeve and squeezes my arm, and then sets off, heading into the wind, her coat pressed against her, anxious to end our weekly lunch and get to her apartment for her weekly bridge game.
Paul Beckman’s story “Healing Time” was one of the winners in the 2016 The Best Small Fictions and his 100 word story “Mom’s Goodbye” was chosen as the winner of the 2016 Fiction Southeast Editor’s Prize. His stories are widely published in print and online in the following magazines amongst others: Connecticut Review, Raleigh Review, Litro, Playboy, Pank, Blue Fifth Review, Flash Frontier, Matter Press, Metazen, Pure Slush, Jellyfish Magazine, Thrice Fiction, and Literary Orphans. His latest collection, Peek, weighed in at 65 stories and 120 pages. Paul lives in Connecticut and earned his MFA from Bennington College. His published story website is www.paulbeckmanstories.com and blog is www.pincusb.com. He also runs the FBomb flash fiction reading series at the KGB Red Room in NY.