My wife makes fun of me because when I look at a picture I don't just use my eyes for 10 seconds and move on. I critique it, dissect it, and make observations others may not. I'll spend a good 5 minutes with my eyes locked in on the cover of a magazine before I even crack it open. I take it all in, and then some. I do this even more so with Google maps, in particular the street view. I love to visit other states and cities or even just "cruise around" my own town looking at different houses, landscapes, people walking down the street, etc. There's something about Google maps that triggers my imagination. To see these endless panoramic still images filled with places I've been and places I'd love to be.
Several weeks ago I toyed around with what is known as "flash fiction." I'd written some years ago but didn't know it had a name until most recently. The pieces I had written were either small events based on real life experiences or quickly made up stories. All the pieces were under 100 words. I suppose that could even be considered "micro fiction."
While on Google maps I came across a person sitting on their apartment balcony that overlooked a small wooded area and bike trail across their street. I couldn't make out much detail in the person or exactly what they were doing but that was the fun part; giving life to something otherwise inanimate and taken for granted. The imagination is a beautiful blessing.
Getting Calm Before a Storm
She sat on her third-floor apartment porch waiting for the storm to roll in. As she sipped on her stiff screwdriver, she watched the bicyclist ride the trail across the street. A familiar envy filled her as she watched. She knew her lungs couldn’t take that kind of activity anymore. Though only 40 years had passed since her birth, she had the skin, hair, and liver of a 70 year old; working overtime against the pollutants she fed it. She felt peace in the middle of a storm. Perhaps it was the way there was still a beauty in all the chaos; much like herself. A neighbor in the apartment next to her stepped out on their balcony. The woman tipped her alcohol at the neighbor with a genuine grin that said “I have love to share.”