Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Lillian Ward-Packard, Flash Fiction Online, 2018

Not to fawn too much over this piece, but holy shit! This piece just ticks every box I could ever want in terms of flash fiction. It literally gave me goosebumps; the ending was that good, the writing was so clean and perfect.

It’s about two high school girls (I think they’re in high school) in the early 60s’. Sputnik 1 has been launched the previous day and they are sitting around in the attic of one of their houses talking and eating candy. The prospect of nuclear war suddenly hangs over them just like the satellite, but so much more is at stake as well. The friend of the narrator has grown up. She likes to talk about fashion and movie stars and, most of all, boys. The narrator, on the other hand, doesn’t connect–or perhaps she is too shy to admit the attraction. It does feel like this a bit. What the narrator really wants is for everything to stay how it is at that moment. She doesn’t want to grow up and she certainly doesn’t want anything to change.

I can remember feeling this way in 7th grade. I went to Italy with my parents for three weeks and when I came back my best friend had started putting gel in his hair and dressing hip (or what seemed hip) and I couldn’t understand why he was doing this. It just didn’t seem like him. Of course, he was the same person–just older. And he’s still the same person–just older. We worry about different things now than we did then. And that’s what this piece is about. How people’s concerns change with the passing of years. How we look back and think of the ‘good ol’ days’ and how we grew up and how things felt at that moment of change.

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