Short Story: Shards

The look in Timothy’s eyes said it all. Grace saw him as he rounded the corner of the aisle as she stocked the shelves of the toy department. She had dreaded seeing in him for some time, dreaded the look he was now giving her. Her hands instinctively went to her belly, protecting her baby from his anger, though he was never prone to fits of outrage. His reaction was all the worse for it.

With one glance at her pregnant form, she could see waves of shock and surprise fighting with jealously and anger. She thought there was revulsion in there where, but she wondered if she was reading her own feelings in his eyes as they stared silently at one another. Her customers walked by them, oblivious to the awkwardness of the reunion.

“His?” Timothy muttered at last, once he found his voice.

She nodded. “Yeah, sorry I didn’t tell you. Me and Ken are, well…”

“I can see that,” Timothy said as he grappled with the unexpected feeling of betrayal. “You and him, huh?”

Grace nodded again, rubbing her belly absently, regretting the chain of events that led her to this moment, and not for the first time. “It was an accident, you see. Didn’t mean for it to happen.”

“Didn’t mean for it to happen,” he sighed quietly, closing his eyes as he tried to make sense of everything. “I thought he was only a bit of fun after your divorce. Wasn’t that why you and me didn’t happen?”

“I know,” she whined. “I know. He was only supposed to be someone to  play with before I settled down with someone a little more stable. I’m sorry. I know we were supposed to, but,” she shrugged helplessly. “You disappeared, and I know we kept in touch, but I thought I would never see you again.”

“I moved an hour away,” he retorted angrily, losing control of his emotions. “Promoted and moved one fucking hour away. I tried to call you, but you never answered. I text you, and the same. Oh, and you blocked me on everything. I guess you didn’t want me to know what was going on.”

“That was Ken’s doing,” she protested weakly. “Didn’t want me to get any ideas. He’s kind of controlling, and he’s always been jealous of you. You know how he’s like.”

“Oh, I remember Ken. Spent his whole marriage, or all three of them, controlling them, cheating on them, and just plain treating his wives like crap.”

“I know, but he promised it would be different this time.”

“Different? This time?” He said inquiringly as he pieced it all together. “You and Ken are married?”

“Well, no,” she shook her head, “but we’re supposed to get married in a month, once his divorce is finalized. “I don’t want to raise this baby without his father.”

“But you had no problem raising your other ones without their father,” Timothy argued heatedly. “What makes him so special.”

“I don’t know really,” she furrowed her brow in concentration, trying to explain the unexplainable. “It just is, you know. We’re together now. We’re going to have a family.”

Timothy scoffed, shaking his head in disbelief. “I must be the biggest fucking idiot.”

“No you’re not! Why would you even think that?”

“Because, I was hoping that maybe me and you could, but now this,” he pointed at her pregnancy. “I mean, holy fuck woman! You’re having Ken’s baby. And you’re marrying him? How fucking stupid can you be? How fucking stupid am I to hold on to the hope that maybe you’d finally decide to give me a chance. I mean, you said you loved me. You said you were in love with me.”

“I was,” she cried. “I still am, but it’s complicated.”

“No,” Timothy shook his head. “It’s simple, or at least it was. You chose him over me,” he said, tears streaming down his face. “Funny how everyone says I’m a nice guy, but it’s always the asshole that ends up with the girl. Either no one wants the nice guy, or maybe I’m really not as nice as everyone pretends I am.”

“You are, and I’m sorry,” Grace pleaded, sobbing into her hands, longing to fall into Timothy’s arms once more. “I fucked up. I should have picked you, but now I’m having his kid. I’m sorry.”

“No,” he shook his head. “Don’t be. I’m the one who should be sorry. I wasted all this time hoping that you’d give me a chance, but of course it was just that. I colossal waste of time. I – I have to go. Um, see you around, but probably not.”

He turned to walk away but Grace grabbed his arm and turned him around, pulling him towards her and kissing him. His resolve melted as he kissed her back, his need pulling him towards her in spite of himself. He ached for her and now there was nothing for him to do but walk away, but he couldn’t tear himself away.

Finally he wrenched himself from her grasp, unable to control the sobs tearing down his pride. “I love you, but I can’t do this. Not again. I’m sorry, but – goodbye.”

Without giving her a chance, he raced away. Grace stood there, rooted to the spot as he disappeared back around the corner, watching the man she was in love with get away, and she died a little.

***

A little over a year later, Timothy walked around his store, making sure the workers were busy with their tasks when he got a text. “It’s Grace. I need to see you. Can we meet?”

He stared at his phone the rest of the day, not knowing how to respond. Once he was home, he picked up the phone and replied. “I guess. I’m off tomorrow.”

“Okay.”

They agreed to meet at the city park. He waited on the bench by the pond as Grace walked up pushing a stroller and followed by her two other children, a boy and a girl.

“Thank you for meeting me,” she said timidly. “Can you guys go and play? I need to talk to Timothy for a minute.”

Her children ran towards the playground, not bothering to wonder why they had driven more than an hour to meet the strange man. She watched them for a moment before turning around and taking a seat next to Timothy who sat impassively watching the ducks waddle by.

“You wanted to meet?” He said in a cold voice.

“Yeah, I did,” she replied timidly.

“Ken know you’re here?”

“Me and Ken are getting a divorce,” Grace replied, picking up her baby from the stroller.

“That him?” Timothy pointed.

“Little Dexter,” she said lovingly. “He’s turning one next month.”

“Time flies doesn’t it?”

“Yeah.”

“So why are you here?” Timothy asked at last. “I mean, I don’t mean to be rude, but why bother driving all the way up here just to tell me you’re divorcing that sack of shit. I suppose you caught him?”

“Three times, the last time in my bed, while the kids were sleeping,” she whimpered. “That was the last straw. I kicked him out. That was last month. He doesn’t care enough to call to see how Dexter is doing.”

“Okay, but why are you here?”

“I fucked up, okay?” Grace choked. “I choose the wrong guy and let the right one walk away. I should never have decided to play with him and lose you in turn. That was not what I wanted.”

“But it’s what you did, and what you got. You can say sorry all you want, but it’ll never change the fact that you picked him over me. He was the one you wanted, not me. Why should I give a shit that you’re here apologizing?”

“Because,” she begged, “I was hoping you’d maybe give me another chance? Please?”

Timothy laughed. “You’re fucking unbelievable. You expect me to take you in after what you did?”

“I expect you to tell me to get lost,” she shook her head wearily, resigned at the idea of losing him for good. “I had to try anyways. I have to see if you’d give me another chance.”

“I don’t know,” Timothy shook his head slowly. “I’m tired of always coming in last. I’m never anyone’s first choice.”

“You’re my first choice now.”

“No, I’ll never be your first choice. You made sure of that the moment you went with him. I’ll always come in after that asshole, no matter what you try to say on the contrary. He married you, and you had his baby. No matter what, you’re linked forever. I can’t compete with him.”

“You don’t have to,” she cried. “He gone. Out of the picture. He moved in with that whore of a homewrecker.”

“As I recall, you broke up his last marriage. Don’t get mad that he treated you like he treated everyone else. You knew what he was like, and you choose him over me anyways.”

“You made your point. I guess I drove out here for nothing then?” She looked at Timothy, and he could feel his resolve slip away. She had a way of doing that when no one else could.

She stood and he joined her, looking deep into each other’s eyes. He had forgotten the striking blue of her eyes, or the dimple on the corners of her smile, or the way she’d squint when she smiled, as she did right now.

He had to have her, but he knew it would end in heartbreak. He also knew his heart would fail if he allowed her to walk away. Either way he’d end up hurt. It was a no-win situation, and he hated no-win situations.

They fell into each other’s arms before their lips met. She fit perfectly in his arms, and she felt it too. They were perfect for each other. They held on for a minute or two before they broke their embrace. He had to answer her. Yay or nay? Either way he would end up broken, and he wondered if he should bother. He looked at her, ready to give her the answer, wondering to himself as he spoke if there would be enough shards of his broken heart to put back together again.


Short Stories

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Previous story – Noticing James Smith

What I’m up to

I think I’ve spent more time writing my short stories than I have anything else lately. I haven’t even been reading much this year, considering I’ve ended doing book reviews. I feel as though I did a poor job with my reviews, but the time it took to read and consider how to write what I thought of the book wasn’t worth what I got out of it.

I’ve picked up a story again, but I can’t help but wonder what’s the use? As much as I’ve said I want to publish, will I ever do it? Will I get to the point where my stories are good enough? Will I get to the point where I feel as though I’m brave enough to put it all out there?

I don’t know, but considering I’ve been at it since 2011, and saying that I’m going to publish my story this year, every year since 2012, I have to say that I’ve made myself into a liar. What’s stopping me?  My ability to finish whatever book I’m writing satisfactorily. Then there’s the cost of finding an editor/proofreader, a cover designer, and if need be, someone to help format the damned thing.

Maybe I should have picked an easier hobby, one that I’m capable of actually doing, or maybe I should buckle down and see it through. I’ll never be happy unless I follow through. I need a mentor, I think. Now where to find one.

Short Story: Noticing James Smith

He was invisible, or at least as invisible as a man can get and still be solid and alive. It wasn’t as though no one ever saw him, but they didn’t notice him. They’d greet him absently and immediately proceeded to forget him. That’s what he was, forgettable.

He was common and average, from his name James Smith, to his height, build, and weight, to the color of his skin. His eyes were a common brown, as was his hair. His clothes, while immaculately pressed, were somehow neither dated nor fashionable. He didn’t stick out, which was both a blessing and a curse. It was, as he thought, the way it was, and that was that.

From a young age, he learned that he didn’t matter. His parents only tolerated him, lavishing their attention to their eldest son, and their youngest daughter respectively. He had middling grades, no athletic abilities, and barely any artistic talents. He wrote poetry under a pseudonym, which was published by some obscure online magazine, but was never paid for the honor.

It didn’t matter to him much. He didn’t have many friends, and the few girlfriends he ever had almost immediately forgot about him, moving on to their next boyfriends, most often without bothering to tell him about it. He shut that part down, repressing his need to engage with anyone, especially with people of the opposite sex. He saw no use in putting himself through that torture ever again.

The only thing that might be considered remarkable was his uncanny ability to play the markets. He bought stocks from every job he worked for, that being one of the benefits he took advantage of. Soon he’d sell and trade, looking for patterns, listening to the prognosticators on the business channels. His worth reached $100K by the time he was twenty-three, $1 million by twenty-seven, and he was nearing $10 million, hoping to hit it before his thirty-first in less than a month.

He didn’t need to work, so he didn’t. He passed his time idling away in one non-adventure after another, visiting art museums around the world. He took pictures of European cathedrals, castles, and monuments. He heard the best symphonies played by the greatest musicians in the grandest auditoriums, and met the most talented singers. What he didn’t do was go off the beaten path. He never had an adventure.

James Smith sat in a coffee shop across from Central Park, having gone to the Big Apple to see an off-Broadway production solely because he read a favorable review. He sipped his Irish cream latte while scrolling down the page on his phone, wondering where to go next. He didn’t notice the woman in front of him until she interrupted his research. “Do you mind if I seat here?”

James took his eyes off his phone and looked up and almost gasped. In front of him was his exact opposite. She was tall and thin, her perfect skin almost translucent, with only a few freckles dotting her otherwise flawless face. Her head was aflame with a mane of red hair, curls framing her heart-shaped face. She wore a short dress which showed off her toned legs, and she wore impossibly tall red stilettos.

“Oh,” he stammered as soon as he found his voice. “Please. I was about to leave anyways.”

“I wish you wouldn’t,” she sighed before taking the seat next to him and breaking into a nervous laugh. “I’ve been hit on by one creep after another, and I just need some peace for a moment. I’m hoping they’ll leave me alone if they see me sitting with someone. My name’s Vesper, by the way. Vesper Deering.”

“Oh,” he stammered again, not know what else to say. “Smith. James Smith, and that makes sense. I can stay a little longer.”

“So I’m not keeping you from anything important? A job or a wife?”

“Nothing at all,” he states wistfully. “I’m enjoying an extended vacation and I’m not married.”

“Not even a girlfriend?”

“Not even a hope for one,” he confesses, embarrassed by his admission.

“I find that hard to believe. You’re a good looking man,” she says before blushing. “Or are you gay?”

He shakes his head, amused by her question. “No, I’m straight. I’m just not the kind of guy people, and especially women, notice.”

“I noticed you,” she says, flushing scarlet again.

“You’re the only one.” He looks around, and everyone in the coffee shop steals glances at her, men and women, and even he’s being eyed enviously by just about everybody. “I see that everyone can’t keep their eyes off of you, and I don’t blame them. You’re beautiful.”

“I know,” she sighs sadly, before looking at James and seeing his reaction. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m not conceited or vain, but I’m being told constantly that I’m pretty and that I’m beautiful, and men can’t stop hitting on me. Sometimes women can’t as well.”

“That must be exhausting,” James says astonished, the very idea sounding foreign to his ears.

“And I can’t imagine what’d it be like not to be noticed, but sometimes it would be a welcome change.”

“It’s not so bad, but it does get a little lonely at times.” James sits in shock, having never thought about his situation.

“So what is it you do?” Vesper inquires, trying to get the conversation started once more.

“Nothing really. I play the stock market full-time, and I make just enough to indulge my love of art, theater, and traveling.”

“Sounds amazing.”

“It was,” he sighs. “It’s grown stale but I don’t know what else to do.”

“You could always go off on an adventure,” Vesper says wistfully. “If it were me, I’d try something new and exciting. For instance, I’ve always wanted to climb Kilimanjaro.”

“So why don’t you?”

“Because I don’t have the funds to do so,” she states. “Oh, there’s always somebody willing to give me what I want in exchange for favors.”

“I can’t imagine being bold enough to try something like that.”

“I’ve dealt with it my entire life,” Vesper says wearily. “For once, I’d like someone to like me for my mind, and not for this,” she motions at her body.

“And I’d like some one to like me.”

“For what?”

“Not anything in particular, just like me. Like I said, I’m usually not ever noticed.”

“That’s a shame. I think everyone needs someone, a friend, a companion, a lover.”

“I’ve never had any real friends, and the few I have now are more interested in my bank account than my company. The last lover I had was, well, so long ago that I’m embarrassed to tell you.”

“Then mine was so recent that I’m equally embarrassed to admit. Finding lovers has never been difficult for me,” she shakes her head sadly. “I just can’t find someone to love me, truly and really love me for me. I think I’ve taken up enough of your time,” she says suddenly, looking at the watch dangling on her wrist. “The guys that were harassing me are gone. I think it’s safe for me to go.”

“Oh,” he says, feeling suddenly disappointed. “You sure?”

“I think so. You can walk me out, if you want. I could use an escort. I’d appreciate being able to walk the street without the cat calls.”

“I won’t promise that you won’t be whistled at, but I’ll do what I can.”

James stands up, offers Vesper his arm, which she happily accepts. “You’re quite the gentleman, aren’t you?”

“I can be, when given the opportunity.”

“Then I’m glad I gave it to you,” Vesper smiles.

The pair walk  out in silence, James allowing his mind to wander, thinking about what it would be like to have an adventure. “Kilimanjaro,” he says quietly after walking almost an entire block. “It’s in Tanzania, isn’t it?”

“It is,” Vesper nods.

“Never been there,” he says, his wanderlust kindled. “I don’t suppose you’d go with me? I’m not sure I’ve ever had a real adventure before.”

“I hope you don’t expect me to sleep with you in return,” she jokes.

“I don’t, but you don’t know what you’re missing. My lovemaking prowess has often been described as ‘just what the hell do you think you’re doing?’ I think my aforementioned lover fell asleep once. It was quite the fiasco.”

Vesper begins to laugh, and not a polite chuckle, but a loud laugh, ending with a snort and another wave of laughter. “Well see, Romeo,” she grins before kissing his cheek. “We’ll see. How about something a little nearer to home before we start traveling the world.”

“Technically I live in Ohio, but in actuality I’m a bit of a vagabond. I’m staying at the Plaza at the moment, and you know, I’ve never actually been to Niagara Falls. Is that close enough.”

“Better, but how about Gray’s Papaya for a hot dog? It’s only a couple of blocks away, and I’m famished. Haven’t had a bite to eat yet.”

“I’d like that,” he says. “I’ve always meant to go there but never quite made it.

“Today’s your lucky day then, James.”

Later that evening, after he walked Vesper to her apartment, he walked a little straighter, his eyes focused on the road ahead. He witnessed a subtle change in how people regarded him, noticed by passers-by, and he smiled, glowing from the small kiss goodnight that Vesper had given him on his cheek. Somehow, he didn’t feel so ordinary anymore.


Short Stories

Next story – Shards
Previous story – My Curse

Short Story: My curse

There’s a certain inevitability to the whole endeavor. Writing it down, it appears as though I may have given up, which I wish I could say wasn’t the case, but for honesty’s sake, I have. I don’t mean to make my plight sound more grand than it is, though for me it comes as a bittersweet epiphany, that in spite of my heart’s desire, despite what other’s may say in contrary to my own belief, I am destined to be alone.

I know. Maybe I’m not qualified to speak in matters of the heart. I admit that I’m too close to see my situation clearly. All I have to speak from is my own experience. So, after searching and hoping for someone, of fighting for and losing countless times, of having my heart pulled out and my emotions drawn out on public display so that the world could see me at my most vulnerable, I have decided to retire. I cannot stomach another heartbreak.

Love. We call most profanities four-letter words. So many are and I’ve come to regard love as another profanity. Many see it as a blessing, but I’ve grown bitter as each subsequent betrayal and rejection tore me down that all I see is a curse. Love is my curse. I am accursed. My heart has been damned.

My issue is that I’m not free to love. My love comes with conditions, though ironically I fall in love freely. I fall in love too easily, and the pain of not having that love reciprocated haunts me. Once I tried in vain to forestall that misery by only becoming involved with only the facile and the shallow, and it worked at first. I gave in to companionship of the body, but my mind and soul desired more.

I wanted someone complex, subtle of mind and spirit. I needed someone to compliment my own desire for knowledge, and perhaps someone who surpassed me in order to force me to grow. But the price is that those who I desire need someone who compliments them, and those types have demands of their own. Most don’t subscribe to keeping secrets, at least the kinds of secrets I have in my closet, but to open myself to them has only ended in being rejected, no matter how delicately they try to do so.

I am not my own man. I don’t know how others like me have found love and kept it. I try, and when I fall in love and desire that sort of intimate connection, the type that compels me to give myself completely, I have no choice but to tell. I’m met with the same response, so often that I’ve come to believe myself defective in some way, unworthy of love and companionship.

I look into the mirror and it has become an abyss. I no longer see the man the world sees. I see a hollow man, a vacuous shadow. I have become more and more of the other sort, the one who believes to his core that he should have been born a girl. I don’t care what people say about gender and sexuality, that women don’t subscribe to needing a man. My experience is that they do expect their men to be men. I seem to be neither, though I wear my mask well enough to fool most.

The last rejection was the final blow, my last hope. I fell in love despite my precautions. I gave in to her when I knew well that allow her to see me would doom us before we had a chance. I told her and before I knew it, she gave me the tired excuse that she wasn’t’ ready to date.

So I give up, ready for a change. I think I see a curtain fall in the future, though I hope to delay it as long as possible. I had hoped to live long enough to maybe find someone who could tolerate me, even revel in my absurdity, but hope can only go so far.

I’m exhausted, and the hour has grown late. Love is fickle and I suppose it has passed me by. I’ll go quietly into oblivion’s outstretched arms. Perhaps in the nothing I will find a measure of peace. At least there, there will be no need for pretense any longer.


Short Stories

Next story – Noticing James Smith
Previous story – The Storyteller

Short Story: The Storyteller

Glenda listened as her great-granddaughter Emily spoke excitedly about her latest accomplishment, securing the movie rights to a book she never heard of before. That was her thing, the reason she woke up in the morning, the reason she went to work as a lawyer for a movie studio. She loved the thrill of competition, thrived in it, excelled in an industry more concerned for making money than for its workers. She reveled in making obscure writers famous, at having that immediate financial impact to make their lives that much better.

Glenda’s granddaughter rolled her eyes, and Glenda struggled not to do the same. At almost a hundred years old, she had lived a long life, though not necessarily a fulfilling one. There wasn’t anything she felt particularly excited about. She did what needed to be done, what she had to do in order to keep her family alive. There was no joy in it, no reward other than a meager meal most nights, and sometimes having to go without in order to feed her children.

She felt a twinge of jealousy whenever her great-granddaughter came over to visit, regaling her with tales of the celebrities she met, the places she visited, the life she led. It wasn’t for the fact that she rubbed elbows with the rich and famous that Glenda felt jealous. No, she envied that feeling of purpose and excitement, the feeling most people never felt in their entire lives. She envied her great-granddaughter, though she didn’t want to dampen that excitement by being bitter like her granddaughter, Emily’s mother was.

On that particular trip, Emily invited her to go to the bookstore with her. “I hear there’s another book people are buzzing about,” Emily confided in Glenda. “I need to read it and see if it’s worth pursuing.”

Glenda agreed and listened as Emily went on about another book, another movie being made, and another author becoming a little better off than they had been before. When they arrived at the bookstore, they saw a group of kids in the children’s section, looking sad that their reader hadn’t showed up, again. “Kind of sad, don’t you think?” Emily said, glancing in their direction. “I remember you bringing me here as a kid to listen to Storytime during the summer. It’s what got me interested in books in the first place. It’s why I do what I do now, help bring stories to life for another audience.”

Emily walked away, lost in the aisles of books, searching for who knew what, when a child caught Glenda’s attention. A boy, or maybe it was a girl, emaciated and bald, crumpled in a wheelchair, tears falling down their face. Glenda didn’t know why she did it, the compulsion to step forward beyond her conscious thought, but Glenda put her hand on the employee’s arm and asked, “Is there not a reader for the children?”

“No,” the employee replied sadly. “Third time this month. It’s difficult to find someone to read. If we can’t find anyone soon, we’ll have to shut down Storytime for good.”

“I could do it,” Glenda volunteered, surprised at having put herself forward.

“Could you?” The employee looked hopeful. “You would be a godsend, especially for Sarah,” she pointed at the young girl in the wheelchair. “Cancer,” she informed Glenda, “final stages. Probably only has a few weeks left.”

“I’d love to,” Glenda said, her eyes trained on the young girl, her own heart bursting with emotion for the moribund child.

“It’s strictly voluntary,” the employee said. “I wish we could pay someone, but we don’t have the funds for it. Used to be that the library hired someone to read, but they stopped funding it years ago. That’s why we have difficulty finding anyone to read.”

“That’s okay, deary,” Glenda said, taking the book from the employee’s hand. “I could do with getting out of the house every now and again.

Glenda sat in an armchair under the paper tree on the wall. The children that had begun to drift away noticed the new reader sitting down and opening the book and ran back with gleeful shouts and laughs, excited to have someone read to them. Sarah, looking sick and frail, looked up with an intensity that shook Glenda, seeing a life in her that yearned to escape the prison of her body, even if only through the stories told to her by a stranger.

Emily was shocked to see her great-grandmother sitting in the middle of a semi-circle, with children listening with rapt attention as she brought a story to life. Emily listened as well, the images coming to life in her mind’s eye, amazed that so old a woman could inject a mere child’s book with such life as to almost make it real.

That was the first time Glenda sat in the reader’s chair at the bookstore, and she fell in love with it. For the first time in her nearly one century of living, she had found something truly her own, something that excited her. She began planning her next Storytime, reading the next book the store gave her to read, learning the nuances, practicing until she could act out the story for her readers.

No one appreciated it more than young Sarah. She came to life during the weekly readings. Emily made it a point to join Glenda as often as she could, transfixed by the magic the simple act of reading could conjure. Storytime grew until a new sponsor came forward to fund the it, though the sponsor refused to be named. Glenda suspected it was Emily, but she would evade the question when asked with a sly smile.

Always in front, sat Sarah, and Glenda read to her, her hand usually on her knee or Sarah’s hand clasped in her own. Glenda could not let the children down, especially Sarah, whose cancer had gone into remission, and who had grown stronger with each successive week.

And then she was gone. Glenda noticed and learned that Sarah had taken a turn for the worse. Glenda found out where Sarah was at, and began volunteering to read at the Children’s Hospital as well. Even after Sarah had passed away, after listening to one final story, Glenda pressed on, reading at both the hospital and the bookstore, knowing that this was what she was meant to do, grateful at having found her place in the world.

And she continued for years, celebrating her 1ooth birthday with the children who would never even make it to their next, their joy infectious. She read stories of knights and princesses, dragons and aliens, of good and evil, life and love. She poured herself into each book, even as her own life began to fail. “They deserve an escape,” she protested whenever someone would suggest she give up her volunteer work. Even as her body faltered, her voice was strong, bringing life to new stories and new characters.

One day, after her 101st, Glenda sat in the middle of the room, surrounded by her children, “mine,” she thought with pride. They all came, sensing perhaps that this was the last time she would grace them with her presence, though she didn’t know it at the time. She began to read, and she looked up to see a child, healthy and happy at the back of the room.

Glenda continued to read, wondering why the girl looked so familiar, or why the other kids beside her looked familiar as well. It was only after she was done reading, after the hugs and the kisses from her children that she realized who they were. Standing out in front stood Sarah, the glow from her soul palpable. “We’ve come to bring you home, Nanna” Sarah said, offering Glenda her hand.

Glenda reached up and felt the aches and the pains fall off of her. She turned to see herself sleeping peacefully in the chair, the book resting on her lap. Then she felt Sarah tug on hand and knew it was time to go. Without a backwards glance, Glenda walked with Sarah, and the other children she saw pass away. They led her home.


Short Stories

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Previous story – My count