Flash Fiction: “Familyiar”

There was something about the walk. That determined yet effortless gait. The purposeful pace. The figure was still too far off to know for sure, and the tracksuit was something his dad would never normally wear, but Swan’s heart bungee-jumped down into the pit of his stomach all the same. It stayed there dangling as he tried to bring the approaching face into focus. He hadn’t seen or spoken to his dad in a long time. Years. Too many years. They hadn’t fallen out, just lost touch, but he had no idea why or what to say – “oh hello” didn’t seem to cut it – if they were to bump into each other like this, by stupid happenstance, now. The man’s fast advancing pace had brought him too close for Swan to turn around and go back the way he came. There were no doorways or gaps between the parked cars big enough to accommodate his escape. Swan swallowed, tested a smile, then thought better of it, wondered whether he should go for hands in or hands out of his pockets. He straightened his hair, shined his right shoe on the back of his left trouser leg and braced for impact. Fifteen feet. Ten. Five. The stranger glanced up from the imaginary line he was following on the sidewalk and looked into Swan’s face, then sidestepped to the left and continued past. Swan’s chest cavity slowly winched his heart back up into its rightful position and he took out his phone, scrolling through the contacts to D.


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