Published: Disappointment (Jet Fuel Review)

Disappointment‘ is a piece of flash fiction published in Issue #14 of Jet Fuel Review, a terrific literary journal run out of Lewis University in Illinois.

A man and woman run into each other decades after their college years in Chicago, when they were briefly a couple. With this story, I wanted to explore, within the context of race and gender dynamics, how disappointment is a layered, complex emotion and how, often and without sufficient awareness, we tend to disappoint ourselves a whole lot more than anyone else possibly can. Of course, some of us are also often skilled in externalizing/projecting such disappointment onto others around us, especially our loved ones.

I began writing this one last year as a response to a first line writing prompt contest on a popular writing website. I cannot usually do writing contests — paid or otherwise — because, generally, my motivation to write something has to come from within for me to sustain my interest and energy in it. That said, I also wanted to try responding to an external prompt to see whether, at some point in the writing process, I would be able to internalize the impetus appropriately enough to finish strong. The original story I completed was entirely different from this one — the only thing they share are the closely-similar first couple of lines. I may yet return to that other version in some other form, who knows?

Anyway, I am thrilled that it has found such a lovely home. And this issue is stunning with some terrific contributions, so do make the time to read them all.

An excerpt:

I am going to disappoint you. You probably know it when you spot me in the check-in line. Some part of you knew it even when we first met.

 

#

 

My memory of that meeting, fifteen years ago, stabs sharp as ever. Icy Chicago winds blew you and your friends into the cramped Hyde Park bar where I worked evenings. You pressed in closer over the counter and the wet leather smell of your jacket reminded me of my landlady’s butterscotch lab. Your face, under that snow-wet ginger hair, flushed bright pink as you tried to catch my attention.

~ ‘Disappointment’. Jet Fuel Review. December 2017.

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