Last Farewell

Are you sure about this?

She stares at me with those sad brown eyes. I take a deep breath, determined to stay strong.

“Yes, I’m sure.”

But why now? Why at all?

“Because I can’t stay stuck here forever. I need to start making things happen for myself.”

Can’t I come with you?

I shake my head. “Not this time. You’ve been wonderful and I couldn’t have gotten this far without you, but now it’s time to move on.”

Aren’t you scared?

“Are you kidding?” I smile in an awkward attempt to keep from crying. “I’ve never been more terrified of anything in my life.”

It’s not too late to turn back, you know.

“Hey, I never said I was too scared.”

Something about her laughter reassures me. Maybe I can do this after all.

So what will you do now?

I shrug. “Keep writing the same way I always have. You’re just the mask. Everything else is already mine.”

And you’ll be okay not having me to hide behind anymore?

I pause and breathe a heavy sigh. “Honestly, I can’t be sure yet. All I know is that I’m tired of hiding.”

You realize there’s no going back from this. Once you let me go, you’ll be on your own. Are you ready to be yourself, your real self?

I smile again. “Who else am I going to be?”

Although she doesn’t respond, I already know what she’s thinking. Five years. That’s nothing to sneeze at.

“I am going to miss you.” This time, I can’t stop the tears. “You know that, right?”

Somehow she manages a smile through her own tears.

You’ll be fine. They’re going to love you.

“How do you know that?”

Like you said, I’m just the mask. You’re right, you don’t need me anymore. Maybe you never did. Everything you need is already yours. So don’t be afraid. Just get out there and be you.

I brush the tears off my face. “I will. Promise.”

We both reach a hand toward each other. Our fingers almost touch across the void, perfectly symmetrical through the glass. Though her face never changes, I can feel her fading away, until at last I’m left looking at nothing but a nameless reflection.

What’s in a name? The face in the mirror has always been mine. Soon everyone else will see it too. No longer a persona, just me.

Goodbye, Ms. Wolfe.

Already Beautiful

Don’t look at me like that.

That look like you hate what you see.

You know there’s more than meets the eye.

So what if there’s a zit here and there? Who cares about a few hairs out of place? Is it the end of the world if a smile isn’t perfectly straight?

Why do you even listen to them? Ugly is a weapon losers use to take down anyone they see as a threat. It’s just a word. Only you can give it power.

Do you realize how much more valuable you are on the inside? You’re one of the kind souls in a world full of jerks. People would kill to be as smart and funny as you! And who was the last person you met with your level of talent?

Maybe the world isn’t ready for you. But that’s their problem, not yours.

Stop looking in the mirror for the wrong answers. There’s nothing of value here in the glass. You already have everything you need.

There you go! There’s that smile. Now go show it off to the world.

And whatever you do, never, ever forget the truth. Remind yourself of it every single day.

You are already beautiful.

In The Mirror

I used to hate the reflection in my bedroom mirror.

I wanted to be loved, but I’d always failed.

Until I learned to see past the face.

From that day on, my life changed.

Other’s opinions no longer meant anything.

I’d found a true love.

And she was beautiful.

Nobody else mattered.

Only her.

Me.


This piece is based on What If? Exercise 93: “Ten to One”. The exercise is to write a 55-word story in which the first sentence has ten words, the second has nine, etc., until the last sentence has only one word. The objective is to show that precision and thrift in writing can produce surprisingly powerful results. I hope you enjoy what I’ve written. Thanks for reading!

Yuletide Eve

My family and I decorate the tree with colored lights.

Outside, the snow falls as carolers sing sweet music.

Come evening, we enjoy a delicious meal together.

Then we all gather around the tree.

We spend the night exchanging gifts.

At midnight, the bells ring.

I grin with joy.

The holiday’s here!

My favorite!

Christmas!


This piece is based on What If? Exercise 93: “Ten to One”. The exercise is to write a 55-word story in which the first sentence has ten words, the second has nine, etc., until the last sentence has only one word. The objective is to show that precision and thrift in writing can produce surprisingly powerful results. I hope you enjoy what I’ve written. Thanks for reading!

First Snow

I had never seen anything like it before.

It was soft and fluffy, like a white blanket that covered the space where the yard used to be. But it was wet and cold to the touch, not like any blanket I’d ever slept on. In the nine months I’d been living here, it was the strangest thing I’d ever seen.

I wasn’t sure if I liked it.

The kids and the dog were the next to come outside. Unlike me, they weren’t afraid to run out into the white stuff. In fact, they seemed to love it, like they’d been waiting all year for it. They all looked better prepared than I was: the kids wore thick clothes that covered them from head to toe, and even the dog had a sort of long blanket around his neck.

Mom and Dad followed the kids out into the yard a few minutes later, also covered in strange thick clothes. How did everyone else know this cold fluff was coming today? I watched as they packed the white stuff into balls and threw them at each other. How strange. I know I would hate that, so why did they look like they enjoyed it so much?

I’m not proud to admit that watching them all play in the yard made me a little curious. What was it about the cold, wet fluff that made it so fun? I was curious to know why the kids loved it, and I was intrigued to see Mom and Dad playing in it like they were children too.

But it was the sight of them all playing with the dog that made me jealous. Why should Buddy get all the attention while I was stuck on the porch like a common house pet? I could have fun outside too! Right?

Cautiously, I took another step off the porch. The cold shot through my paw and up my leg, but I shook it off and took another few steps until I was standing completely in the white stuff. I was already starting to regret my decision; my paws were freezing and my fur was damp. But I couldn’t stop now. Or could I?

I glanced between my family and the porch, wondering what to do next. Just then, I heard a whistling sound coming from the yard. I turned and froze at the sight: a great white ball was flying toward me!

I dove out of the way a split second in time. The ball missed me, crashing into the tree behind me instead. I jumped to my feet and shook the white stuff off my fur, licking my paws clean of their cold touch. That was a close call. Or so I thought.

Another whistling sound over my head made me look up. More of the fluff was falling toward me, dislodged from the branches above. This time I wasn’t so lucky.

What happened next happened so fast that I barely had time to react. I remember I was suddenly very cold and very wet, surrounded by nothing but white. The next thing I knew, I was being scooped out of the pile into Dad’s arms. They rushed me into the house and I sat shivering on the table as Mom warmed me up with blankets and a blowdryer (it was loud and scary, but at least it got my fur warm and dry again). I glared at the dog as he stared at me with those innocent yet mocking eyes. As the kids watched, one of them laughed and made a comment to the other.

“Maybe we shouldn’t let Buttercup out in the snow anymore.”

That was my very first winter, three years ago. Since then, every year when the weather gets cold and the yard turns white, I’ve kept my paws dry and curled up to watch my family from the warmth of the porch. This fluffy white stuff they call “snow” is not for me.

Darkened Heart

I didn’t believe it when they said what I’d become.

But deep down, I knew it must be true.

I no longer felt any warmth inside me.

The taste of blood had become delectable.

And the sunlight burned like fire.

Embrace the darkness, they said.

Accept what you are.

No longer human.

Cursed soul.

Vampire.


This piece is based on What If? Exercise 93: “Ten to One”. The exercise is to write a 55-word story in which the first sentence has ten words, the second has nine, etc., until the last sentence has only one word. The objective is to show that precision and thrift in writing can produce surprisingly powerful results. I hope you enjoy what I’ve written. Thanks for reading!

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