“Excusez-moi, parlez-vous anglais?” I asked hopefully.
It was pretty much the only thing I could say in French. I stood in the police station and shifted from foot to foot. I was nervous, and my feet were hot.
“Mai-oui, but of course, how can I help you?” He looked me up and down, then looked back to his book where he recorded the time.
“Your name? You are staying where, and for how long? May I see your passport? Now, why are you here?”
“I have lost my wife.”
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A slightly different version of this flash fiction is published as “Flash of Gold” in Oor Ain Voice, by Write Enuff, 2016. (out of print).
I stop for lunch and eat my institutional sandwich at my desk. I look out through grimy leaded panes and see a flash of gold; startling on a grey day. It is a girl in a yellow flamenco dress, doing a twirl outside the college gates. It is January and -4 outside. Her heavy snow boots and sheepskin jacket do not detract from the graceful execution of her dance. But she is dancing to keep warm. She hands out leaflets and from here I can’t see what they are. To save horses in Spain perhaps. She prances after some disappearing students who take her leaflets and laugh. One of them returns, he takes the bundle from her and places them down. He blows on her hands, and rubs them in his. They laugh. Their breath hangs in the cold air. They raise their hands to the cloud. This is our cloud they might be saying, we made it together. They hand out the rest of the leaflets. Her yellow dress swirls. He struts a clumsy dance one hand on his hip, she stamps her feet and circles him. A gold mist envelopes them, is this love blooming on a grey street on a grey day? I check my screen. A Facebook friend posts that it is snowing in Barcelona. Who would have believed it? My lunch is up. I leave them to canter home.