This week’s flash fiction challenge reminds me how I’m often slightly out of step with the majority. As I puzzled over the prompt the colour of hope, I realised that many people consider hope a virtue that you can have more or less of, whereas, for me, it only makes sense as a transitive verb. Although I do quote readers who describe my fiction as hopeful, I don’t think of myself in such terms. It’s not that I’m hopeless (in either sense of the word), but I direct my hope to specific things.
- in the long term, a sunnier accommodation to my chronic health condition
- over the next few months, that my planned activities to bolster my mental health don’t impact negatively on my physical well-being
- in the next couple of weeks, that my snazzy print copies of my new novel arrive in time for a book fair the weekend before publication day.
Every day refreshing the weather app. Every day a parade of yellow suns. Eight hours on the moors tomorrow without even a tree for shade. Tugging her shirt sleeves down to her fingertips. Sandwiches tasting of sunscreen. Her wide-brimmed hat blinkering her view.
“I suppose you’re not likely to be pregnant,” said the pharmacist. “But be careful. Skin cancer’s a serious risk.”
It’s late when she wakes, her inner clock confused by the sallow light. She takes her tablets, skips her blood pressure, runs to the shower. Locking her door, she looks skyward, smiles at the glorious ashen hue.