King Street Station by Elizabeth Kate Switaj

Despite the newly bright bricks and the working clock, Cassie couldn’t help but take a deep breath before entering King Street Station. She had always tried to hold her breath when her family cut through it on the way to Mariners games but had never succeeded, not even the summer she was disqualified for staying underwater too long at the start of the 50 fly.

This time, she didn’t breathe until she passed the Jehovah’s Witnesses handing out The Watchtower. They had never been there when the station smelled of mildew, feet, and piss. They came with the scent of paint, bleach, and plaster.

When she passed through the mahogany doors into the waiting room, Cassie inhaled again but sharply. The restored ceiling reminded her of Rome, where she and Angie had gone to celebrate leaving the Church of Latter-Day Saints.

—Mormons, she whispered, fuck it.

She was still staring at the ceiling when Angie embraced her from behind.

—You have no idea how glad I am to see you.

—So Salt Lake wasn’t great?

—The lake was fine. My family . . . well, you warned me.

—You won’t be going back then?

—No, I think my conversion’s complete.

The two women held hands as they passed through the Compass Room, discussing where they should have dinner.

—I’m fine as long as they serve booze, said Angie.

Outside, January’s first rain had begun.

—And hot drinks, she added.


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Filed under Elizabeth Kate Switaj

11 responses to “King Street Station by Elizabeth Kate Switaj

  1. I like what you’ve put into this theme, highlighting one of the most important transitions one can make. I like how the conversation tells the story. Nice!

  2. Al McDermid

    “They came with the scent of paint, bleach, and plaster.” That says a lot, though I really like the structure, her observations, followed by revelations found in the conversation.

  3. guy

    The last line is nice. It complements and contrasts with the booze line and adds a lighter finish. Of course, i’m looking into a snowscape right now.

  4. I wish I lived somewhere where rain was the weather in January. I’m in the same landscape as Guy. This story resonated with me, although not Mormon myself, I lived in SLC (worked on the Olympics in 2002) and met many in transition away from that particular religion. This felt like a brave story, not sure though. Maybe just my projection. I really liked it nonetheless.

    • I wouldn’t say it’s brave on my part, but if the sense of authenticity that makes it seem brave is there, it’s probably because my first LTR was with an ex-Mormon.

  5. I like how it’s all in the rear view mirror. Great voice and attitude here.

  6. I really like the way everything’s changed: the station, her relationship, her religion. Wonderful voice, vulnerable yet tough. I’d like to see her again. Peace…

  7. The change throughout this is great, but I really enjoyed the sensory descriptions and how she wouldn’t breathe… Nicely done.

  8. Kelly Grotke

    I liked the not breathing too, control and necessity perhaps as well, a compulsion made sense of by the rear-view perspective that Michael mentioned

  9. grey johnson

    This story begs for more story. Well done.

  10. Pingback: Week # 30 – Urban convert | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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