Thank you

Cracked sidewalks of unincorporated Wisconsin: a woman yells at her dogs to stop barking. These are outdoor dogs with outdoor homes, ones that can stomach hours of cold. Your own dog’s fur perks up along her spine, a warning that triggers your affection. And you’re alone but burrowed safely inside yourself.
You pass a young man in a window holding a frozen turkey over a sink, and you lock eyes. You make eye contact with anything that moves because everyone’s wearing more masks than usual lately.
200 miles away, there is a person living the life you gave away. They’re finishing what you started, while you feel like you’re moving in a direction that doesn’t seem to exist yet.
You concentrate on your feet a little harder, until you look up to find a woman in a storefront surrounded by the same ceramic houses you take out during the holidays. She yawns, a signal she’s ready to go home.
This year, you relished every decoration. You paid attention to the TO and FROM. You strung out every light you have.
Be grateful, be grateful. Yeah, yeah, you know. You repeat it over and over until finally, it hits you like a gong, like a calming ripple across the Michigan waves you’re happy to lose yourself in.
Flash Fiction by Sarah Cimarusti

Sarah Cimarusti is a writer and editor based in Chicagoland. Her work has been published in Bayou Magazine, Bird’s Thumb Literary Journal, Better Than Starbucks Poetry Journal, and Jersey Devil Press. She lives with her dog, Maya, a beagle on stilts named after Maya Angelou.