Jacky listened to the radio every day. He listened to it as a boy, hiding his transistor under his pillow so he could hear the rock music they played after ten. He listened to it as a teenager, sitting in his room and smoking cigarettes with his friends, and they would strum the air and yell at his parents whenever they tried to offer snacks and soda. He listened to it in college and grad school, often tuning to the classical stations because the sway of the music helped him concentrate. He listened to it as an adult and heard about the Berlin Wall coming down on the night that he met his future wife.
Twenty-two years later, he was still called ‘Jacky’ by everyone he knew, even though his state ID card and licence said ‘John.’ And he still listened to the radio. At this moment, he is listening to NPR and the familiar voices which have been around for half his life. He is lying in bed, alone at the moment, listening to the nurses pattering back and forth in the hallways. He tries to speak but can’t muster up the energy. He tries to move his arm and reach the call-button, but he fails at this as well. It has frustrated him in the past days, and he has felt, for the first time in his life, the urgent need to jump out of his skin.
But he has found a way to deal with it. The trapped feeling, he knows, will drive him mad if he allows it to take over. So he doesn’t. Instead, he listens to the radio that his daughters and his wife insist on leaving on by his bedside at all times. They know how much the radio has always meant to him, and he is thankful.
6 thoughts on “Radio [Flash Fiction]”
Aw, I like it! It’s really “flash”, as in short – ha, but it’s wonderful quality, and per usual, I love your writing, Ems.
Thanks, Kenz ^_^.
The first thing this reminded me of was “Starman” by Bowie and Queen’s “Radio Ga Ga,” but at the end it reminded me of my grandpa. He was nearly deaf, so he always used to sit in his kitchen and listen to the radio on special earphones.
Aw, Erin, I’m glad I reminded you of your grandpa ^_^. I was thinking very much of a kindly grandpa type when I wrote this.
Is there a photograph that inspired each piece of Flash Fiction? I think they’re brilliant, and I hope you’re planning to publish them as a collection someday.
I think there might have been a couple pieces of flash fiction that have been inspired by photographs, but I can’t remember which. This one wasn’t though.
Thank you SO much for the compliment! The fact that you think that these pieces are publishable makes me really happy. To be honest, though, while I love writing short pieces, I don’t really believe in any of them as anything other than templates for ideas and, more importantly, practice. But maybe I’ll think about doing something with them one day :).