There seems to be a life cycle to when we say hello to when we say goodbye. Before you can bid farewell, you must greet. How much happens in between? Those were the stories writers sought this week.
From clever to poignant, life is full of hellos and goodbyes. These are such stories
The following are based on the March 30, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a hello or a goodbye.
Adios Mom! by Ruchira Khanna
A stretcher heads towards the door.
My eyes are on the body that lies on it.
As it passes by me, I see a familiar face and memories flash before me.
A warm lap, a protective sheath, a gentle smile, a look of disapproval when being naughty, and a whisper of my name in her most fond of voice.
Today she lay there on the stretcher with a content smile and a body that breathed for 66 years.
I gently stroke her forehead.
I shall keep you alive as I walk the path with your principles in life.
After by Diana Nagai
“Two tickets,” I requested, reaching for my wallet. A hand gently took my arm, I looked up into the eyes of my good friend, his face solemn. Grief slumped my shoulders as I remembered. “Sorry, one ticket.”
It had been four months since my wife passed. I found it difficult being alone. Something I had been a part of, for more than three quarters of my life, was gone. I only needed one ticket wherever I went now.
Swallowing the lump in my throat, I paid.
It seems I was constantly saying goodbye to “before” and hello to “after”.
Ameliorating Media by Geoff Le Pard
‘What’s up mum?’
Mary forced a smile. ‘My old school friend Jean is going abroad. I’ll miss her.’
‘You’re friends on Facebook aren’t you?’
‘Oh yes. I’m old school.’
‘Ha! So you’ll see her posts.’
‘It’s not the same.’
‘You Skype when dad’s away?’
‘It doesn’t always work so well…’
‘DM? Hangouts? Whatsapp?’
‘Are they nightclubs?’
‘Ha ha. You’re really funny today.’
Mary looked back at the email that had caused her gloom. ‘That’s me. A bundle of lols.’
Penny sat next to Mary. ‘Seriously, there are tonnes of ways to keep in touch.’
‘But do they serve coffee?’
Flash Fiction by Pensitivity
The saying goes that as one door closes, another opens. In my case, it’s a single door that hits me in the butt on the way out and any alternatives of windows are shuttered.
I find ‘Goodbye’ so final, and in many cases through my life, painful. Cheerio is much more acceptable, friendly and optimistic because it suggests the possibility of meeting again.
However, sometimes Goodbye is the only word than can possibly apply for things that cannot be undone or replaced.
I wrote a post on saying goodbye early in my blogging days. I still haven’t done it.
Never Goodbye (Jane Doe Flash Fiction) by Deborah Lee
“Impound, $45. Kenneling, $20. No license, $125. No rabies tag, $54. Vet and vaccinations, $50. License, $100 for an unaltered dog. That’s only $35 with proof of surgery,” the animal control worker adds, smiling. As if she’s doing Jane a favor.
“I got him as a stray,” Jane says.
“Then $100. Total $394.”
Jane looks back down the corridor of pens. Troubles looks back through the mesh, that tongue-lolling smile, waiting calmly. Utterly sure of her.
“That’s most of my paycheck.”
“It’s still $394.”
Thirty minutes later, she’s hugging him, face wet with tears and dog kisses. “Hello, boy.”
Hello, Goodbye by Scarelett Sauvage
“Hello.” The woman knelt down in front of Amelia and brushed her hand gently over the four-year-old’s long blonde hair.
Amelia looked up into the woman’s bright blue eyes and flashed her best smile. The young girl was old enough to understand that first impressions mattered in a place like this. She wasn’t the prettiest, the smartest or even the youngest child in the building, and if she wanted to find a new family, she had to catch their eye.
For one brief moment, she almost had the blue-eyed woman’s attention. Almost.
“Goodbye.” Amelia whispered to no-one but herself.
Round and Round by Norah Colvin
He felt tall, grown up, sitting in the saddle, holding the reins, feet in the stirrups.
Mum was watching.
“Hold tight,” she whispered. “Love you.”
He smiled. Then they were off. He turned, letting go quickly to wave one hand.
“Goodbye,” he called. His lip quivered. How soon before he’d see her again? He turned, but she’d disappeared.
Suddenly she was in front of him.
“Hello,” she called.
“Hello,” he smiled.
Again, she was gone. “Goodbye,” he heard; then “Hello again!” He giggled.
“Going around in circles,” she thought. “Life’s like a carousel. You’ve got to enjoy the ride.”
Half Caste by Luccia Gray
She was doing her homework.
They were playing around.
‘She’s not like us,’ they whispered.
‘She’s different,’ he complained.
‘Odd clothes, funny accent,’ she smirked.
‘Let’s say hi to the new girl.’
‘You’re not English,’ they said.
‘I was born here,’ she protested.
‘You’re only half English,’ they replied.
‘Right or left?’ she challenged.
‘You’re colouring’s wrong,’ they complained.
‘My tanned colouring’s fine,’ she replied.
‘You’re half caste,’ they said.
‘Look at me, I’m quite whole,’ she insisted.
‘You’re half caste,’ they chanted.
‘At least I’m not half stupid,’ she sighed,
Said goodbye and turned back to her books.
First Day at a New School by Kerry E.B. Black
When they collided, their books flew to litter the hallway. “Great!” she shouted, bending to retrieve her armful of texts.
He handed her a paper-wrapped volume, smiling shyly. “Sorry. First day rushing.”
She snatched it. “Thanks to you, I’ll be late.”
He nursed his reddening cheek as she flounced ahead. Her skirt and ponytail swayed, an admonishment of his clumsiness.
“Please don’t go into my room,” he thought. But she did, haughty attitude in a seat at the room’s front.
“Great way to start.” He indulged in a deep breath before taking his place. “Hello, class. I’m your teacher.”
Hello… Good-Bye by Roger Shipp
Standing at my door, I greet every one of them.
Most years, by now, they greet me back.
Not this year.
“I glad to see you today. I missed you yesterday.”
Agnes had been absent… again.
Her parents- between homes.
I wish I could do more.
Was that a small smile?
Here comes Aaron, the perpetual fist-bumper.
He always pulls his fist away before contact.
Small moments of coolness are important.
I grin… Then I step forward and bump fists before he can retreat.
He grins and sprints down the stairs.
“You cheated!” he yells in flight.
Hello is the Hardest Word by Joe Owens
Mitch felt his throat tighten, belly flop and the beads of sweat from on his forehead. The raven haired brown eyes beauty stepped into the coffee shop at her regular time 7:33. He knew it was a bit like a stalker to already have her coffee ready, but she always ordered the same kind.
She looked at the name on the cup and flashed the million-dollar smile.
“You are the only one to get my name right!”
“Krystyn is unusual!” he said.
“I think it is time we meet, what is your name?”
“Kevin. It is Kevin.”
Keys, by D. Avery
The artist had stopped his work when Marlie approached. He was shirtless, little droplets of blood magnifying the added details of his phoenix, the blood tipped shard of stone in his hand.
“What are you doing?”
“I think you know. What are you doing down here again?”
“The lieutenant feels the animals are too dangerous, so he let me guard the artists and writers instead.”
The artist smiled. “But we are a danger to society. Aren’t you afraid? Of me?”
“You’re to be in the arena tonight.”
Marlie unlocked the cell.
“Come with me.”
A Midsummer’s Dear John by Liz Husebye Hartmann
Although I swore to renew our vows this Midsummer’s Night, I cannot in good conscience re-marry you. Your cruel joke on Nick Bottom backfired, and I’m still pissed that you snatched my changeling to make him one of your warriors.
Bottom may not be much to look upon, and burns the bulb yet dimly, but his voice is sweet and his nature pure. Amply endowed with primitive gifts, his unschooled rendering of the tragic Pyramus has captured my fairy heart. I take him as my consort, and leave you to your boy.
Thank Puck for me,
You Snooze…You…by Bill Engleson
The moment squeaks by me like a baby mouse skirting the baseboards.
My emotional cat is asleep on the veranda.
You, you are packed and loaded for unbearable loss.
Me. I am the loss leader.
“Bye.” I look up.
You are shaking your head just a noddle.
A noddle. I can’t even think coherently.
I’m not saying a word.
I’m not feeling a thing.
“This is all I’m taking.”
This seems wrong.
“For now,” you add.
Dead on, I think. You were never one to pass on what was yours.
And me, I never quite measured up.
Mesmerizing Melody by Jules Paige
The music box sat on the shelf for years until he walked in.
The replica played Josette’s Theme. I had pretended that any man
who walked in and looked at it was a vampire. Mostly thought it was
just my imagination. That is until he walked in.
I had watched a good many of the Dark Shadow episodes growing
up. But I was really too young to understand much of what was going
on. All the hello’s and goodbyes as scenes flashed back and through
the years at Collinsport. Now this young man who looked eerily like
Telephone Call by Bill Bennett
“Yeah, what do you want?”
“I want the money.”
“If the money isn’t in my account by the time volleyball practice is over, mom –“
“Mom gets the poison.”
“You would kill your mother over a hundred dollar purse?”
“No. It’ll only make her sick. Throw up and stuff.”
“You’re a real bitch, you know?”
“Yeah, I know, but she’ll forgive me like always, right?”
“I can’t believe the monster you’ve become.”
“Well, you raised me to be like you. Oh, and pick me up some cigs on your way home.”
Farewell by Lady Lee Manila
on the horizon I see the sunset
a classic golden flame along the shore
where harmony and tranquillity rest
blinded by the beauty of the landscape
walking along with my bare feet
consoling myself for letting you go
the tumult of your name and memories
exhausting me in my mind and sleep
tired with the steady beating of my heart
what was done was done and so we accept
echoes of the past and half of my life
of broken trust and misunderstanding
of betrayal and inconsideration
with a heavy heart, farewell and goodbye
that’s all we could say
Flash Fiction by Pete Fanning
Judith looked up at the figure in the window.
“Hello, can I help you?”
“I need Doctor Sherman.”
“He’s…sir, do you have an appointment?”
The man sighed. His dark eyes cast tired contempt. He shook his head, as though Judith were incapable of understanding. Or maybe she hadn’t heard him correctly.
“Sir. We have—”
The man touched the glass, reminding Judith that it was only a delicate partition defining their roles. “He told me Linda would be fine. He said not to worry.”
“Sir, I’m sorry. But Dr. Sherman—”
“I never even got to say goodbye.”
A Good “Bye” by FloridaBorne
“Never trust your Aunt June,” Mom used to say. “She took what Mother willed to me and never could say a good thing about our family.”
Shortly after my 19th birthday, I travelled through 2 states to meet my estranged aunt. She jabbered on about her son’s successful career as a fast food manager, then asked, “What do you plan to be?”
“Aunt June. Did you steal…”
“Another genius,” she scoffed, rolling her eyes.
“…with a full scholarship in physics.”
“Mom was correct,” I said, frowning deeply. “You’re self-righteous and not very bright.”
Some goodbyes are so satisfying.
Closure by Reena Saxena
I do not remember the first Hello, or if there was any excitement behind it. Nor did I say Goodbye. The wounds inflicted by you were too deep, to enable a civil conversation. I just walked away, with my head held high, not wanting any emotional outburst, to bring my hurt out in the open.
I will survive. I will succeed, and without associating with multiple-faced people like you. Yet, the lack of a closure rankles at times. Do you even realize the impact of your actions on my life? You will, when you go through a similar situation.
The New Era by Allison Maruska
I hold my hand up to my face, shielding it from the pelting rain. Shouts of protest meet me—I pretend not to hear them. They’ve solely had their voices heard long enough. Now, it’s my turn.
Brushing the moisture from my overcoat, I step into the building. A long table awaits me and thousands of other women who will greet the new era.
The rain’s chill reaches my bones and my hand shakes as I mark my choice. With a lump in my throat, I drop my ballot into the box.
Starting today, we will always be heard.
Pedalled by Michael
She had that look on her face that made you stop and think: There’s bad news coming and there’s nothing you can do about it.
And I was right.
“It’s over,” she said, “time for us to move on. It’s been fun but I don’t love you.”
“Oh,” I said somewhat flummoxed by the announcement.
“We’ve run our course, I want other things than what you offer.”
“It’s my lack of a car isn’t it. You never liked riding on the cross bar.”
“No, it’s not that. It’s just you’ve driven me to drink.”
“What could be worse?”
Ike’s First Hello (from Miracle of Ducks) by Charli Mills
“Them Wranglers, cowgirl?”
She’d been focused on brushing the next layer, irritated someone would enter her grid to comment on her jeans. Without pausing, she said, “Want a broken nose, farm boy?”
“Farm boy? I’m hurt. I’m a fisherman. Can’t you smell me?”
Danni stopped and stood in the square pit. The corners of Ike’s eyes crinkled and he stood with a fly-rod like a staff. His pants were wet like he’d been swimming with the trout. He wheeled around, bent forward and pointed to the leather brand on the butt of his jeans. “You’re right—I got Wranglers, too!”
Hello by Irene Waters
“Well hello.” He undressed her with his eyes so there could be no confusing the deliberate emphasis he had placed on his words.
“Hiya.” She stared back at him, her eyes wide and innocent, a friendly smile on her face. “I’m Hecate.”
“I’m Alastor. I think we’re going to get to know each other veeeery well.”
They talked, they walked. He sidled closer and groped. She twisted and escaped. He grabbed and held fast. She muttered under her breath. “Eye of newt, farewell to cads but welcome toads.”
“Well hello toad. Now, I quite like your type of slime.”
First Hello (from New in Town) by Susan Zutautas
“No, go right ahead, please have a seat,” Morag said as she gazed into his sea blue eyes, thinking what a gorgeous looking guy.
“Can I buy you a beer?”
“Well I was just about to leave. My cousin was supposed to meet me here but she just cancelled. So sure, thanks, I’ll stay for one more.”
“Good then, nice to meet you, my name’s Ian”, extending his hand out to her.
“I’m Morag” she nods.
“What are the odds of me meeting a Scottish lass, and such a pretty one at that … must be my lucky night.”
At the School Reunion by Anne Goodwin
We’ve tangled time by merging now with then
Our wrinkles cannot hide the girls we were
Now screened again on weathered visages
So in your face I meet my younger self
In nylon shirt, white socks and hitched up skirt
With curtained hair that veiled our flawless skin
So much we did not could not know of life
And yet we thought ourselves full formed, complete
And so it seems from infancy to death
Each decade pastes another coat on me
The school reunion peels the layers away.
Hello that girl. Goodbye that girl. Hello.