250-Word Flash Fiction Competition: Third place – Colin Garrett, ‘Miracles and Make-up’

When you’re as shy as I am, you don’t win, you wait. You wait for miracles. In my waiting, I’ve learned that miracles come anywhere from two to five times a year. And that’s where I find myself now, trying to decide if this is one of those times.

I’m on a plane bound for the Dominican Republic as part of a school trip, and one of the most popular (and most attractive) girls in school just sat next to me. I feel my heart light up with possibility.

She talks first. It doesn’t take long for me to see that she’s a decided extrovert, and I’m relieved. All I have to do is listen and keep her talking about herself.

And I do. I can’t do much, but I can listen. And I listen even more intently when she starts talking about the glasses she’s wearing. They have large frames and cover up most of her face—she tells me that’s on purpose. She tells me she wears them on days when she doesn’t wear make-up because she’s insecure about how she looks.

I suddenly realize that she must be insecure about how she looks right now—I can hear it in her voice. Then I realize that there’s no way for me to say, and no way for her to know, that make-up or not, she’s one of my miracles this year.

She’s how I mark time.

Colin Garrett

Colin is a 22-year-old writer based in the United States.

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