Better or Worse? by Anne Summerfield

Let us suppose that we do go to Venice. Let us imagine that child care can be arranged, that one of the people we’ve tentatively asked – ‘just an idea, nothing booked’ – actually says yes. We are on our way, on a plane, booked into a hotel near St. Mark’s Square, somewhere that was Bargain of the Day on Expedia. And then we are really there, sitting in a quiet but pleasant restaurant, outside on a terrace with terracotta pots of scarlet geraniums, bottle of prosecco half drunk, plates of perfect pasta and seafood before us. The evening stretches out, more wine, a walk beside the canal as daylight fades and coloured lights string out beside the water. Suppose we find ourselves making a decision about whether to give up or go on, whether to turn back to the past or move ahead. Let us have that necessary conversation, put the lens of each possible future over each eye, blank out disappointments seen through the other. Raise the lens, then lower. The Grand Canal blurs and shimmers, on Rialto Bridge we could kiss or say goodbye. Let us ask ourselves, ‘is that better or worse?’


Anne Summerfield’s recent publications include stories in Sleep is a Beautiful Colour (NFFD Anthology 2017) and Flash Fiction Festival One. She has work online and forthcoming in various places including Spelk, New Flash Fiction Review and Jellyfish Review and was nominated for Best Small Fictions 2018. She tweets as @summerwriter.

Image: Stéphane Delval