Another week, another flash fiction challenge by the superstar @VinMcCarthy. Check out the prompt card here.
I'll be using the second prompt:
There's something this person has strived their whole life to accomplish, and just as they try to really begin, they are stopped by some other force.
When Niko approached the desk, armed with the blue ink pen his father had given him sixteen years ago, he smiled inside.
"I used this pen to sign off on my first bank account. I used it to buy the house in which we sleep. I used it to buy the car I drive. And I'm giving it to you, Niko. But save it, for its power is limited. Use it well, but sparingly," his father had said. Niko could recite the speech fifteen times over, and he had done in his head for years as he waited for the right time to employ its pale cobalt streaks for the first time.
As he reached the desk, he smiled outside, too. Big and bright, just like the morning had been. Now, it was hot; sticky. August.
For seven months it had been Niko's plan to buy the ticket that would send him home to his family. Serbia is a different place, now, he thought. But his life as an American had not happened as he dreamt it might. He was not ready for school, and he was not ready for work. Home was the only comforting place he could imagine. Home, where the bread is baked fresh; home, where the tangerine oranges and golden yellows of the fields outside his home inspire calm.
He had only ever been on a plane once, to come to Boston. His aunt had bought the ticket. The return trip would cost nearly all of the money Niko had earned sweeping the back of a café in Cambridge, but it didn't matter to Niko. Price was not holding him back; only June could do that. June, with nut-brown hair; June, with delicate hands; June, with a gaze that told Niko what it meant to live.
But his peace with June had been made. It had hurt June, and it had hurt Niko, but it was done. Now, all that was left was to bring pen to paper and sign the check to send Niko spiraling through the skies to Serbia, home.
He uncapped the pen, revealing its stark metal tip. The conversation with the travel agent had been brief, just as he had hoped. And then, his phone - the one June had given him when they had met four months ago, the old Motorola piece of junk that had only one number in its contact list - rang loud, piercing through the quiet room, shattering the silence of business.
Niko hesitated, then set down the pen, keeping one hand covering it. He would not let it be lonely; he was certain that the touch of his calloused hand comforted the aged metal and its warm ink.
Maybe it was the hand that was comforted.
June's name appeared on the dim screen. The only number he had. The only number that could keep him here.