Friday, February 19, 2016

A short short story

Reader's Digest has an interesting feature these days.  They publish several very short stories which are described as true stories told in 100 words or less.

Something that short presents an interesting challenge.  A story must be pared down to the absolute minimum text necessary to communicate.  Because I have a reputation (quite deservedly, I'm sure) for being verbose, I wondered if I could write one that brief.  After a little thought, I remembered an experience that I thought could be boiled down to that level.  I have submitted it to Reader's Digest, and it may appear on their website version of this feature, or they may decide to publish it (and actually pay me a little bit for my effort).  Since it likely will never see the light of day anywhere else, including RD, I am sharing it here as well.  Let me know what you think, if you wish.


First time up in the church’s visitation rotation.  Last stop is the hospital downtown.
Room number in hand, I follow my directions.  Suddenly, I’m staring at a door I recognize: ICU.  A deep breath, then slap on a smile as I push through.  Familiar faces at the desk smile their greetings.  “Yes, almost 2 years now.”  Another familiar door and I cringe.
Smile in place, I step into the room.  Say all the right words.  Try not to notice every too familiar detail of the room. Stay focused.
Smile.  Wave. Back to the car.
Then I cry.  Again.