The Janitor - by Candace Meredith (Flash Fiction 2021)

Candace Meredith earned her Bachelor of Science degree in English Creative Writing from Frostburg State University in the spring of 2008. Her works of poetry, photography and fiction have appeared in literary journals Bittersweet, The Backbone Mountain Review, The Broadkill Review, In God’s Hands/ Writers of Grace, A Flash of Dark, Greensilk Journal, Saltfront, Mojave River Press and Review, Scryptic Magazine, Unlikely Stories Mark V and various others. Candace currently resides in Virginia with her son and her daughter, her fiancé and their three dogs and six cats. She has earned her Master of Science degree in Integrated Marketing and Communications (IMC) from West Virginia University.
 

The Janitor

by Candace Meredith

They studied at the library together… from outside he could see a janitor sweeping the walk. 
“I’ve never seen him before,” he said while looking quizzically beyond the glass. 
“Who?” She asked. 
“The janitor. Cleaning the sidewalk. Can’t you see him?” He laughed. 
“Dude, there’s no one there.” 
“What do you mean? He’s right there.”
And when he looked again, she was right – there was no one there. They left the library with a chill in the air. Fall had come early. She relished in the crisp air thinking of the coming holidays. He missed summer and was thinking about his swim meets when he saw him again. He was alone this time, and the janitor was alone as well. They turned to face one another. The janitor was unkempt with disheveled hair, some missing teeth, and he hunched severely. 
“You come here.” He said with the wave of his finger. He stood transfixed but his curiosity pushed him forward. He took two steps closer. 
“I’ll tell you the secrets of the universe.” The Janitor said and he smiled. 
“Who are you?” 
“What do I look like?” 
“Well…”
“But that’s not important. What’s important is that I pass on this secret.” 
And he leaned forward into his left ear and the janitor told him his secret and he gave a nod as if he understood and the janitor patted him on the back and went back to his duties; he swept leaves across the walkway and the students filed outdoors, all around him, with none appearing to take notice. 
“Who were you speaking with?” A professor stopped before him and he turned back… 
“I saw you talking… or it looked like you were talking ….” 
“There was a janitor… he must have worked here…” 
The professor looked perplexed, shrugged, and went on his way. When she returned he showed her the pile of leaves he had swept and when he knelt down he found a stone in the shape of a cross fastened to a piece of wood like a pendant and she took it from him, held it to her palm, “It’s very warm,” she said, looking at it strangely.
“God comes to us in all forms.” He said and took the cross between his fingers.
“What?” She asked. 
“The secrets of the universe.” And he stood in awe as she shrugged and walked away too. 

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