Elizabeth Lister

Family – Friday Flash Fiction, Nov. 17.


Danny stared at the black and white photo for several moments, reliving those winter days in London before he’d returned to Canada and asked Louis to marry him.

He remembered the weather, which had been unseasonably snowy, and the long lonely days while he sorted through his father’s belongings and helped his mother through the first few weeks of her overwhelming grief. But mostly he remembered the visceral way he missed his boyfriend of three years and that Skype and frequent phone calls were a poor substitute for the intimacy they’d been used to.

Louis had wanted to come with him, but his job simply wouldn’t allow it. Louis was needed in Canada and Danny had to face this life hurdle by himself. He’d loved his father although they’d not been particularly close for the last ten years or so. They didn’t have much in common. But Danny was eternally grateful that his father had supported him in the life choices he’d made, even if he wasn’t his biggest cheerleader. That job belonged to Louis and Danny missed that more than ever while he was in England.

By the time he’d returned home he’d known that he wanted to make his relationship with Louis a permanent one. Those weeks apart had confirmed the importance of what they had, and Danny wanted a life love like his mother, even if that meant eventually experiencing an overwhelming loss.

Love and loss were two sides of the same coin, Danny knew. You couldn’t have one without the other.

So he’d planned an elaborate proposal, because that was what Danny always did. Always made things bigger than they needed to be, perhaps because he always felt things so deeply and powerfully. He needed to make a grand gesture.

But when everything fall apart and the proposal ended up being a stuttered request in the middle of a soggy field, Louis had said yes. And it turned out that was all that the two of them had needed.

It had been five years since that trip to London to bury his father. His mother was sick now and being looked after by extended family overseas. Louis would accompany him in a few days to visit and Danny couldn’t wait to revisit the famed city with his husband.

Because family was blood but family was also what you made it.