Our son, Frank, has run off to live in Chile and we don't know if we'll ever hear from him again. Sometimes a place, a spot of the world, a tiny corner can make it better, he said, shooting me and his father a scowl the night before he left. There was nothing to do about it, so I packed him a peanut butter sandwich.
Frank stopped wishing to be our son after we had facelifts. We used our retirement savings to pay for our youth. We looked thirty years younger. We were happy. We looked lovely. But Frank said he didn't know his parents anymore or maybe he never did.
"You really need to chill, dude," his father said, beaming—younger-looking than Frank.
"I have always believed age does define us," I said. To which Frank replied: “How the fuck would you feel if I changed my name to Leonard Bernstein and moved to Chile?”
To which his father said, “We all need to follow our dreams, Lenny.”
Frank has been gone for years. We hope he's being musical.
We look into each other's faces and we do not see any backstory. We are strangers. We are shy. His hair is soft and thick, my hair is long and crazy. We have never lost our parents, will never become our parents. We have sex at by-the-hour hotels. We remove our glasses, dress our bodies in hard, cheap sheets that scrape our skin.
Meg Pokrass is the author of three flash collections. Her new collection, “Alligators at Night” will be out this summer from Ad Hoc Fiction Press. Her stories appear in two Norton Anthologies of flash fiction, and was selected by Aimee Bender for Best Small Fictions, 2018. Meg is the Founding Editor of New Flash Fiction Review.