FLASH FICTION – Lizzie Holden

Photo by Erik Dungan on Unsplash


Her straw hat bobs and bobs in the tender waves, the feathers of its brim dip in the water as she rises and falls with surrendered stillness. The water is so clear, the sunlight snakes across the rocks on the seabed, I can see the relaxed mottled skin of her arms below the ripples of surface, her arms leisurely open and close like silky breath.

Am I intruding? Her village, her beach, is a bikini ok here? She waves, mimes swimming, shows me with her thumb and forefinger how sweet the water feels. I smile. She mimes swimming again. I mime back, swimming, point to the white molar-shaped rock, – mime swimming again (I’ve already swum). Smiling, she wades out of the water towards me. Despite her age, her gait is easy, practised on these difficult stones.

I think her first question is about tomorrow – her hand rolls forward, points at the beach, will I come? I shake my head, No  – Tomorrow – my hand rolls forward  –  Methana. Your house? I point to the white cube peering at us over the cliff and to her. She shakes her head, points up the hill.  I catch the name of that village that always sounds like pizza though I am in Greece. She mimes sleep. Question. Points at me. Agios Georgios, then I add the magic invocation Eleni! My landlady. Beating her heart, she looks up to the skies, Eleni! I’ve noticed “Eleni” always produces rapture round here. She steps forward awkwardly on the pebbles, holds out her hand, a Covid moment of uncertainty –  I take it.  
Now we are introduced she dives in – Padremeno?  shows me two fingers close together or Mono? Just one finger. Mono. I’m Mona – It means cute in Spanish, alone here.

Lizzie’s pamphlet “ From the Bottom of the Wishing Well” won second prize in Paper Swans Press Pamphlet Prize and will be published this Year. Her pamphlet “Amber” was also shortlisted. Her collection “Amber” was shortlisted in The Hedgehog Poetry Press full collection competition.

Lizzie’s poems are also published by Sable Books, The Emma Press, Medusa’s Laugh Press, Dempsey and Windle, Dream Catcher, The Frogmore Papers, Live Canon and  Smith/Door Books. 

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