The laugh which was always there by Michelle Elvy

When Henry Watson’s 1980 Buick LeSabre skidded off the road, he expected to see his life pass before his eyes. They say that happens, the whole birth-to-this-minute flash. Instead, he saw only parts of it, some parts he’d never seen before, like when his daughter found him masturbating in the closet — he’d felt mortified, almost zipped himself. What he saw now, in the moment the LeSabre careened round the corner and dived into the muddy ditch, was not the look of disgust he’d assumed (which had covered his face) but something else entirely – amusement or possibly even understanding. The masturbating turned into blending malts in the kitchen with the lid left off: there was his wife in the corner, long before cancer ravaged her perfect body, her mighty laugh exploding at the eggs on the ceiling and the malt powder on his checkered shirt, her soft hand caressing his unshaven face. There were other moments, too: a sudden and violent slap across the face of his three-year-old son which he’d regretted for thirty years, a blinding sunrise in Athens, a scowling man outside the shop where he purchased his coffee every morning for thirteen years, the whitetail of a buck gamboling away yesterday as he lowered his Browning and didn’t fire, a waterfall somewhere in upstate New York – roaring like his wife’s mighty laugh which was here again, too. The laugh which was always there, even as he lost sight of everything and the world went black.


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11 responses to “The laugh which was always there by Michelle Elvy

  1. Remarkable…Love it! I’m going to have to find a new hiding place though. Thank you for the gift of prose on this rainy Friday morning; so full of possibilities.

  2. K

    These ARE the moments that make up a life, the seemingly insignificant ones that leave an indelible mark on our memory. I loved your take on “life flashing before our eyes,” it was very original.
    – Karla

  3. Ooooh…. this one really got to me. Just gorgeous. I love the masturbation and the exploding malt, there seems to be a tie-in here, and the way you tumbled out his life in little chips…
    Very good story!

  4. I echo Susan here, just gorgeous. The selection of moments is just remarkable.

  5. aw, thanks, guys. this was a good one for me, came at the last minute in flashes much like I imagine they might have come for ol’ Henry…. thanks for reading, as always. I really appreciate it!

  6. lush and voluptuous this one is fat with imagery and laughter

  7. Superb, densely detailed, a wonderful whoosh of a life.

  8. guy

    I agree with everyone about the selection of flashbacks. That’s what keeps the reader moving along. Well done.

  9. len kuntz

    i really loved this. it felt a lot longer that it was. very evocative. a zinger.

  10. Pingback: Week # 47 – Blind Spot | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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