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Photo by Jacky Zeng on Unsplash

Delaney’s sweet face appeared in the window. Her specs magnified the tears pooling in her eyes. Marilyn wheeled over to the window to see if she could find out what was causing Delaney’s distress.

“I miss you, Nonny! I want one of your big bear hugs, but I’m not allowed inside,” called Delaney.

Marilyn understood her anguish. She longed to smother her granddaughter in hugs, but the nursing home wouldn’t allow visitors. They would have to wait and make do with the window visits for now.

“Soon we will be able to see each other in person, and I will make up for all the hugs and kisses we have missed. …

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Photo by Joe Hepburn on Unsplash

It’s just a stepladder, three little steps. I climbed ladders far higher than that when I worked in construction. Francine is such a worrywart. She told me not to climb that little ladder.

“For crying out loud, Greg, you’re not thirty anymore. You’re not even forty. You just had your seventy-second birthday last month.”

“I know, Francine, but it’s only three steps. I’m not dead, yet.”

“That’s because you’re so careful.” Francine rolled her eyes and left the room.

I climbed the steps and reached for the can on the top shelf. As I strained to reach it, I felt myself losing my balance and the floor rising up to meet me. …

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Photo by Rahul Chakraborty on Unsplash
  1. Check your cell.
  2. Read, “I want a divorce.”
  3. Shake your head.
  4. Reply, “That is not funny.”
  5. Read, “It’s not meant to be funny. How did you not know?”
  6. Wipe tears.
  7. Reply, “Why didn’t you talk to me at home?”
  8. Read, “Because I’m a coward.”
  9. Sob.
  10. Call lawyer amid tears but with resolute jaw.

A flash piece from a painting

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Photo by Külli Kittus on Unsplash

The white walls are as blank as my soul, as empty as my life.

I've been in this hospital/prison for six days, and they are continuing to ask my name. My mind answers Josephine. I cannot force my lips to divulge the information.

They call me Marte. It really doesn’t matter to me. What matters most is that they stopped my blood and bandaged my wrists.

I was so close to the blessed relief. I could feel the finality of death on the horizon. I craved that release, but it was denied.

A birthday in less than 100 words

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Photo by Sasha Freemind on Unsplash

One hundred years culminating in a pandemic.

Window visits and a parade of honking cars were thoughtful but not what I expected. I’ll not be given another hundred years to celebrate it right.

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Photo by Vlah Dumitru on Unsplash

“Honey, I’m home!”
It was like being in a 1950s sitcom. Hudson never announced himself when he came home from his job at the firm.

“I come bearing gifts,” he called out.
I had a spring in my step as I hurried into the living room. Hudson gave the best gifts. One year for Christmas he gave me the most beautiful emerald earrings surrounded by diamond chips.
“I think you might like this,” he said, hiding his hand behind his back. I knew I would.
“Let me see!”
He produced his hand with a flourish and stretched it toward me. It contained tickets of some sort. I took them and strained to read the print. They were tickets to the opera. We were going to see Aida.
“I didn’t know you liked opera.”
“I don’t know if I do or not. I do know I like you. That’s what matters tonight,” Hudson said. “It begins at 7, so we can eat out first.”
“I have to decide what to wear,” I fretted.
“I’m certain you’ll find something. You always look fetching.”
As I skipped up the steps, I mentally started looking through my wardrobe. I entered my bedroom, and I flung open the closet door. As the door opened, my eye was caught by the emerald satin creation that was not there when I dressed for work.
I removed the satin gown and saw it was the slinky creation I had admired the week before. I wondered how he had managed to slip it in the closet without me knowing. He must have come home at lunch. I looked at the size and knew it would fit. Hudson had outdone himself.
I sat at my vanity and wondered at my good fortune having found such a man as I put on my make-up. I thought back to meeting Hudson at college and to the seventeen years that have followed.
I put the dress on and marveled at the fit. It fit my figure exactly. I was almost ready, but one thing was missing. What better to compliment this beautiful dress but the emerald earrings?
I was just affixing the second earring when Huson entered wearing a tuxedo. He handed me a beautiful pair of opera glasses. Seeing my quizzical look, he said, “We have a box seat.” …

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Photo by Jeremy Thomas on Unsplash

As Jayne swept the rake through the leaves, she thought about how she had loved autumn before she became older.

After she became an adult, autumn became work. There were back-to-school shopping trips and the endless raking of the leaves. She remembered how she had loved the crackling of the leaves, bonfires, and jumping in the leaves. There could be no jumping in the leaves now. It would just make more work later.

Just as she finished with the mound of leaves, she saw her children’s bus pull up. She made an important and split decision.

“Quick, guys, get your backpacks off and come over here,” called Jayne. …

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Photo by Mat Reding on Unsplash


The sound pierced through Camille’s peaceful slumber. She sat straight up in bed and reached for her husband. It was a moment before her mind cleared enough from fear. That allowed her brain to remember that her husband was out of town for business. He would be of no help. She was on her own.

“I knew we should have gotten a dog,” she thought before realizing it would be up to her to protect the baby from whatever nefarious creature had made that noise.

She left the warmth of her bed and reached for her robe. Wrapping it around her and cinching it with the belt, she stepped into her slippers and tried to decide what she would take as a weapon. …

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Photo by jim gade on Unsplash

“Please, evacuate now in an orderly fashion! The hurricane will make landfall in the next hour. You must leave now!” came the plea from the trucks driving up and down the streets.

Sutton looked out the window and saw very little water for a hurricane, and decided to stay put. He had weathered far worse than the hurricane that was headed his way. The last he had heard it was a category two. Although he knew it was possible for the hurricane to grow in intensity, he felt that it was unlikely.

The next time the trucks drove by the carpets were getting soggy, but Sutton still thought he could weather the storm. …

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Photo by Dustin Humes on Unsplash

“ He loves me. He loves me not. He loves me…” The petals littered the ground as Corrine searched for her answer.

She had harbored a love for Jackson for years. They had been friends for a long time, but he had never even approached the limits of friendship. She found it frustrating, but she had never told him how she felt. She wondered about telling him, but she was not willing to tell him without knowing the outcome.

“He loves me…”

She was in the process of mutilating the tenth daisy, hoping to get the answer she so desperately desired. …


Paula Dotson Frew

I write for the local paper, but I am not a traditional journalist. Actually, I’m not a traditional anything!

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