Age: 16, Grade: 11
School Name: Horace Mann School, Bronx, NY
Educator: Daisy Vazquez
Category: Flash Fiction
Once he hit his thirties, Susan’s son declared he hated summer in New York. “Hell town’s even more disgusting when it’s hot out,” Jason would say. “There’s no way we’re spending our weekends here.”
Susan never minded the summers. Thought they were easy, simple. Wake up late, buy a goat cheese & grilled pepper sandwich and iced tea from Eli’s, and spend the whole day indoors playing Crazy Eights with the A.C. on high blast. It was one of only two topics on which they’d ever disagree; the two constantly joked that Jason had been born with a perfect replica of Susan’s brain.
Now, Susan always spent her summers in the city, but only because Eliza’s Nursing Home sat right smack in the middle of 110th Street, and she hadn’t left there in—oh, God only knows how long.
She probably wouldn’t be there for much longer, though. If you asked her nurse, she’d estimate Susan had a year left, maybe two, maybe half. She didn’t care to dwell on specifics. If you asked Susan herself, she’d shrug, and possibly even release a soft, carefree smile, so that a few more wrinkles would worm their way from the edges of her pinkish-white lips.
And this was their second difference, for Jason desperately feared the disappearance of his own consciousness.
Maybe that explained why he no longer visited, Susan once thought. Maybe when he looked at her sad, shaky hands, her fine, silver hair, and her pale, saggy skin, all he saw was the poised strike of death itself, and all he felt was helpless.
No, Susan decided, he probably stopped visiting because summers in the city were just too damn hot.