The Etch-A-Sketch #flashfiction

Elizabeth is an Etch-A-Sketch artist. She discovered the Etch-A-Sketch at a boutique toy store called Retro Fun. She used to walk her neighborhood street in search of places to sketch. One day, she drew the New Orleans style house on the corner. The next, she drew the abandoned cottage that took in three feet of water during the hurricane.

In college, she started a YouTube channel. It shows her in time-lapse, drawing intricate landscapes and architecture. At the end of every video, she shakes the Etch-A-Sketch, permanently erasing what she just created.

The summer before her senior year, Elizabeth’s class took a trip to Spain. Elizabeth planned to drink beer and take selfies with her friends. She also brought her Etch-A-Sketch for her YouTube channel.

One morning while her friends slept in, Elizabeth stopped in front of the Cathedral of Malaga. She walked it. She studied it. She learned all its details and secrets. It wasn’t until she loved it that she attempted to draw it.

The morning was magic. She wanted to keep it forever. On the steps, with her tripod and her phone, Elizabeth fixed her eyes on the magnets inside the screen. She watched the little black line render an exacting image of the Cathedral. Tiny bones in her hands ached with each micro-movement as she turned the Etch-A-Sketch knobs.

She ended her YouTube recording early. She did not want to shake the Etch-A-Sketch. Her friends soon showed up in their shorts and giant sunglasses. Elizabeth put her drawing in her bag. The beach in Malaga was pure magic.

“We’ll remember this place forever,” her friend said.

Then the trip was over, and the senior year began. Then Thanksgiving. Then Christmas. Finals. More memories were made. Then Spring break. At graduation, she laughed and cried and hugged her friends.

“We’ll remember each other forever,” her friend had said.

And when Elizabeth packed up her room for good, she remembered her Etch-A-Sketch and pulled it out of a storage box. The cathedral had faded. The details were gone. And she looked outside at her friends loading cars with boxes and bags.

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