First Hand Knowledge

Copyright - John Nixon
Copyright – John Nixon

It is no sob story. If it’s sad, it’s only because it’s true and shouldn’t be. Everything seemed normal, like the full measure of emptiness rumbling in her stomach. She would like to run out the door as fast as she could. After all, it wasn’t her fault she was there. She didn’t know it was a problem, coming at life like she had, in such a hurry to feel alive. No one ever told her what she was supposed to know. She pretended she was invisible. She became invisible, hollow, floating like soot drafting upward, silently toward the sun.


That is my 100 word story. Thanks to the Friday Fictioneers for teaching me the art of making every word count. Oh, and the joy of editing. I’m still learning, always learning. If you have an extra minute, there’s more to this story. Ready? Here goes:

She was never more herself than when standing still. If she moved, someone else would take her place; take the kindness that would have belonged to her if she’d been worthy. Unworthiness became her shadow, fully formed as the sun sank. Her dreams sank with it. When you lose as many times as she has, it doesn’t become easier. It becomes who you are. When you lose, you take it. You move it inside, where there’s room. When you lose, there is nothing else. Loss keeps you company so you’re never alone. You feel it. Forever.

She misses those dreams of feeling alive. They didn’t last long, but she misses them, their colors floating past her on their way to someplace she always wanted to go.

That’s what happens when you know how to lose.

40 thoughts on “First Hand Knowledge

  1. Dear Honie,

    This is what I’d call walking dead. When your dreams die, there’s nothing left to lose, but nothing more to gain. There’s no worse place to be.

    Note: She would like to run as fast as she could. Seems to be tense confusion. Aside from that, you’ve captured that feeling. Emotional constipation I called it when I was there. (Happily no longer.)



    1. Hey Rochelle,
      I’m unsure how to resolve the would/could. Maybe it’s my vocabulary, but I don’t know how else to say it. I know it’s a small thing, but after re-reading it, I see that it does seem wonky. Hmmm. To me, this is much like my problem with past and passed, which another friend of mine pointed out to me. I think I was trying to convey a shoulda, coulda, woulda, sort of thing. You are right on about the emotional constipation. Once you let go of dreams, checking out completely naturally follows. It happens all around us, doesn’t it?

      Your feedback is very much appreciated, Rochelle. Writing well is important to me.

      Grammatically Yours,

  2. Dear Honie,

    I got lost in your meditation of a spirit destroyed by having lost so many times that it became who she was. Sad and oh, so close to my world. Very good writing in this one, something I what I’ve come to expect from you. Good job.



    1. Doug,
      I always seem to start a reply to your thoughtful comments and then retract it. For some reason I…see what I mean? This time I think it is because you said, “Sad and oh, so close to my world.” Honest. That is very honest, and probably oh so close to many of us. Thank you always for the encouragement.

      Of Temporarily Sound Mind,

    1. Thanks Sandra. You know, it’s nice to get full marks for this as I am in the throws of being graded for everything else I write just now. I don’t know if any of my professors give full marks or style points. So, I like that I got them from you. 😉

    1. it is sad, but only because it’s true and shouldn’t be.

      Thanks Val. I knew this one was a bit of an odd bird. It could have easily gone a lighter route. Something about the figure of a woman in the window of a second hand store combined with my natural slant toward balking tradition and all its trappings plus some lingering road rage from earlier this week made melancholy seem appropriate.

  3. Honie, just really looked at your header photo. Are you in San Francisco or do you just like the photo? We’re going to be there the beginning of next week, so I guess I’m noticing all things SF. 🙂


    1. Janet,
      I recently traveled to SF for a quickie getaway. My Loyal Follower took the masthead shot. Somewhere on the sidebar there are links to my posts about the trip. I think there are three posts. It seems like a long time ago, but only a few weeks. Lots of water under the homework bridge since then. I’d like to ask about your plans, but realize you may not want to share them in this venue. Feel free to email me. I think you have my address. We stayed in the financial district. (don’t stay there) We ate at Cliff House. (definitely dine there) We drove along Hwy 1 to the Point Reyes Lighthouse (highly recommend that scenic drive) I have a ton of great info from my friend and blogger, Allan @ ohmsweetohm if you are interested.

      1. Ugh. I did not care for the group projects when I was getting my master’s. Lots of great people in my classes, but it was easier to work alone on my own time. Say all introverts ever…

        1. Well, you know me, I’m no introvert. But gaaahhh! I have to be “sensitive” and non-critical when people are non-responsive. Yeah, gaaahhhh! It’s all part of it I suppose. My “bring it” attitude needs an adjustment. I think it’s over-torqued. HA!

            1. Laughing hysterically. Yes, I’m engaged in some therapy right now, reading a student’s response to my extremely well planned negotiation strategy. People don’t know how to read. Serenity NOW!! I need chocolate.

              1. One of the classes I took was combined undergrad and grad, which was fine, but it made for some difficult online discussions. One time, we were supposed to discuss a particular subject and support our opinions with research. I would put up my post and do just that only to have other students respond with things like: “I totally agree” or “That study is bogus” or “I know, right?” Was really hard to get the back and forth going with such insightful comments. 😉

              2. I totally agree. HA! It’s a process for sure. The one thing I know for certain is that…I need chocolate. I have R.A.D. tonight, maybe I can work out my frustration there. Poor punching bag, it won’t know what hit it.

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