Projects / TWO BY TWO

#47 – Flash Fiction

Our writer-in-residence Emily DeDakis is developing an imaginative text piece that draws from the time she spent in Sailortown and her curiosity for the neighbourhood.

To represent this ongoing process on our digital platforms, Emily has created pieces of ‘flash’ fiction that use a sentence from her main story as a departure point for a new short text to take us somewhere completely different. This process represents the fractured experience of Sailortown – a neighbourhood made up of the fragments of current residents’, workers’, dwellers’, visitors’ and wanderers’ stories.

Below is Emily’s second instalment of flash fiction:

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#47

BUT IT MUST HAVE BEEN ENOUGH.

Being close.

House lights down. Suddenly he fills the empty seat beside me. One glance is enough to know. (Once I saw a movie star at a restaurant in L.A. You don’t know how well you know those faces. I thought she was a school friend. A cousin. That close.) His thumb fiddles with the cuff of his button-down all through the first act. I blink. I watched him play when I was a kid. I watch his thumb so long it’s mine now, it’s the play now.

Just enough. All he wanted to be. Enough to get us past this and back on the right track. Enough. “I’m a baseball player, not a politician,” he said. That’s how he ran. He said the things he had to say to make the thing happen. “I’m just a guy from that town.” A guy. A town. A team player. It’s enough. “I will not seek a second term,” he said. One’s enough. Clean things up, bring us together. I tore one of his campaign posters down after the election to keep: THE ANCHOR WE NEED. Halfway in now. It’s already enough. It must be ‘cause we were all president too. We can remember that time we all took the oath together. “That time I was the 46th president,” we can all say. We all were, just for a minute. One’s enough. “You have the power. Remember that.” He said things like that.

I do solemnly affirm

that I will faithfully execute

Cheering was enough. Fuck fighting. We good-cried. We waited out the minute of our shared presidency – and then he took the oath himself and became #47, again. It was on the shirt he wore when he played baseball. Good enough. One term. A safe harbour. The anchor we need.

and will to the best of my ability,

preserve, protect and defend

Lights up. Halfway point. Seventh-inning stretch. The agents move closer. I wasn’t the only one watching his thumb. A button-down guy and his regular sleeve.

I can’t stop smiling. I look at the line for the bathroom. I look at his face on the mugs in the gift shop. Thus always. Coffee in his face is enough. Now I’m in a theatre in my nation’s capital – a former president climbing the stairs to my balcony seat beside the sitting president. And the interval is my favourite part of a play. You don’t know what’s coming next.