You are at your uncle’s house and your parents said you could get a pet for your birthday. His dog had pups a few weeks ago and now you are surrounded in tan and white fur, cold noses and small paws pressing against you.
You are at your first concert and the bass from the opener is vibrating in your sternum. The air smells of sweat and smoke and tomorrow you will, too, ears ringing and head buzzing.
You are in class when a new kid walks in the door and introduces themselves with a stutter. Their speech is formal, stilted, stiff, and you join in the laughter breaking and cracking off the walls.
Seven. There are birthday candles. Twenty-two. There is an accident. Seventeen. There is a tentative kiss. Five. There is a swing set. Fifty-five. There is a new house. Nineteen. There is a voicemail. Twelve. There is a ferris wheel. Thirty-six. There is a bubble gum ice cream cone. Forty-two. There is a sapphire ring. Twenty-three. There is a wake. Eight. There is a school building. Twenty-nine. There is a hospital. Two, seventy-nine, forty-one, sixteen. There is, there is, there is, there is,
There is a sunset and ocean spray on your cheeks and waves like a heartbeat. You are six, you are thirteen, you are thirty-seven, you are eighty-two. The sky is red and pink and gold. The air is salty on your lips. The sand is soft beneath your feet.
Rachel Abbey McCafferty has been writing since she first learned that was a thing people could do. She’s a newspaper reporter in Ohio whose favorite questions are ‘what if’ and ‘why.’ Her flash fiction has appeared in journals like formercactus, The Ginger Collect and The Cabinet of Heed.