One Breath

by Andrew Stancek

When it was over I moved on, wounds heal, they say, and I wasn’t thinking of her any more than five-six times a day and every night, and then I am crossing Queen Street, rush hour traffic, light flashing and she runs towards me, dazzling smile, Dorothy Hamill hair and I stop in the middle of the intersection and she’s past, cars rush at me and through the honking I turn and she’s still running and I yell, “Portia.” Head swivels, eyes register but she doesn’t stop and calls, “We must get together.” The earth should open but it doesn’t. Must get together? Does that mean, “You may call,” or “You must call,” or “I miss you,” or “Drop dead,” or “I am married and have not given you a thought ever?” She’s gone, through the subway entrance, and her lavender coat is only a wisp of a memory and I lean against a store window and will catch a breath again sometime, tomorrow or next week.


Andrew Stancek describes his vocation as dreaming – clutching onto hope, even in turbulent times. He has been published widely, in SmokeLong Quarterly, FRIGG, Green Mountains Review, New World Writing, New Flash Fiction Review, Jellyfish Review and Peacock Journal, among others. He has won the Reflex Fiction contest, the New Rivers Press American Fiction contest and been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He continues to be astonished.