The following was published on Short Fiction Break’s Spring Writing Contest. Read the whole piece here.
I sat outside on the curb staring at the tip of my cigarette burning. I watched the tip glow in the reflection of the sewer water before I put it out.
I hadn’t wanted to come home for the holidays; I knew what to expect from my family. But I’d thought, Maybe, just maybe, this time we’d connect.
I looked up the road, at the palm trees haphazardly wrapped in Christmas lights, like a toddler had played dress-up with the neighborhood; I looked back at the house, at the front door glowing, a pretty wreath perched perfectly in the center.
The palm trees and their artificial lighting enticed me, but I knew the wreath had been hung on the door for my arrival. Everything looked as it should, but still, I felt out of place.