Flash Fiction by Raquel Swann
I had a barrel full of love once and it was heavy and overflowing with joy and happiness. It was sealed with understanding, compromise, and faith. The love tucked away inside did not spill nor evaporate nor get tainted. It was a fine wine that could have improved as the years rolled on.
One day, in the height of summer, something peculiar happened. A tiny hole made by doubt, the size of a pin, pierced through the barrel of love. Droplets of love bled out onto to the floor. The leak was so minuscule, I decided to place a piece of tape over it. I assumed the love was so abundant that there was no way it would ever run out.
When understanding started to diminish the inside of the barrel began to rot. There was no way to know this was happening. There was no warning. One day I went outside to check on my store of love and found a puddle on the floor. The hole was now the size of a quarter. I took some nails and a hammer and drove a flimsy piece of wood into the barrel to cover the hole. Sure, there was a tiny stream of love secreting from the corner of the wood – but there was plenty in there! I placed a thin cloth on over the wood and stopped the leak.
Compromise soon dissipated and I heard a creak coming from the barrel. The wood popped off and and hole had grown to the size of a fist. The love leaked like a running faucet! I looked around the room and found a piece of plastic. I stuck it in the gap hoping it would stop. Sure there was still a little bit running off, but there was plenty in there. Plenty! I thought.
I ignored the barrel for some time. I was so tired of constantly checking on it every day! Besides the plastic held and some duct tape always does the trick. Right? Ome day I decided to check on the barrel and the plastic wrapped in tape was on the floor in a tiny puddle of love. I picked the barrel up and shook it. It was empty. The liquid that had run out had evaporated into nothing. Faith was diminished and so it was – nothing left besides an empty barrel and an empty heart.
Ah – all the things I could have done. All the things I would have done. All the things I should have done were nothing but a faded dream.