Goodnight, Sister

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

A scene in the life of one of our visible invisible and a cold night by the river.

“God bless you and goodnight, sister.” the tall gray haired man said to her as he closed the doors at Loaves and Fishes. She looked up at him through her stringy brown bangs and gave him a smile as she scratched at her head through a knit cap before walking away. She knew where she was headed, though her mind soon drifted to this thought and others as it sometimes did and even more these days. It was cold tonight, even for January in California. She made her way past Goldies and up north 12th street.

A man with a red beard and kind eyes had given her a warm coat a while back but it was stolen along with her cart by a bad lady that screamed at her over at the R.T. station a few days ago. Now she had nothing. Last night she wrapped herself up in an old sheepskin seat cover she found in a dumpster over on Richards boulevard, but that was stolen too. Tonight she was heading down to the river over-cross. She heard there was a blue tarp stashed under a Sharmin box. Darla usually avoided the river and especially at night. She had heard women screaming down there and no one around to help them. But tonight she had no choice.

This evening a really large black lady with a high squeaky voice and bright red lipstick and fingernails gave her a stocking cap at dinner. She then laid hands on her after smearing oil on her already oily forehead and prayed to her everloving god for Darla’s salvation and safety. ‘That was fine.’ Darla thought

There were ice crystals in a ring around the moon tonight, she noticed as she poked her head out from under her thin blue plastic blanket. Darla hadn’t had a cigarette in years but she pretended she was blowing smoke after mimicking a drag on one. She chuckled to herself.

Darla lay there staring alternately at the cloudless star filled sky and the dirty gray underside of the Highway 160 river overcross where she had tucked herself up as far as she could go and dug a shallow nest into the soft dry dirt for warmth. She had drug the Sharmin box up with her and weighted it down with a few medium sized river rocks so that it would act as a wind block when the cold north wind would race by like the Sacramento river below her. Darla’s mind drifted again. She was on a picnic with her little girls and husband Roy. She was running from the surf, jogging around Sutter’s Fort, laughing with Roy when a seal stole her bologna sandwich at Bodega Bay, she was being held down by a fat man with bad breath in a hospital, she was sweating her butt off sitting in traffic on the north 99 in August, burying her precious cocker spaniel in their backyard, restraints dizziness bright lights injections numbness, shopping for King salmon, extended family all dressed in black.

Darla rolled over in place and realized she wasn’t cold anymore. Through the tule fog, that seemed to sleep down on the riverbank, she saw them. Her heart jumped in her chest. ‘They found me!’ she thought. Roy and her twin girls. They came running toward her in their pretty yellow sun dresses. Roy had a great big forgiving smile on his face. Darla was going home. They really found her.

They found her the next morning hugging a blue tarp. Frozen. With a beautiful smile on her face.

Submitted: August 20, 2016

© Copyright 2023 R.Guy Behringer. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:



A heart-wrenching story. Well-written and engaging. Good job.

Sat, August 20th, 2016 5:16pm


Thanks, Hullabaloo22. I thought I might write something with a happy ending for once.

Sat, August 20th, 2016 3:04pm

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