United States

est. 10/15/20

existing is all i know how to do

Message from Writer

i think i'm a broken umbrella?

"too dizzying to love anywhere
but from a distance
when we meet i hold your face in my hands
you smile like swelling yellow spring and plead
take me with you, finished thing"
-- a growing thing

“We could never have loved the earth so well if we had had no childhood in it, if it were not the earth where the same flowers come up again every spring that we used to gather with our tiny fingers… What novelty is worth that sweet monotony where everything is known and loved because it is known?”
-- George Elliot


November 27, 2020


Sixty years. Sixty miserable, monotonous, terrible years. Years that stretched on and on and on. And now… he’s gone, just like that. After decades and decades of longing. No, not longing. Just… well, stuck. Stuck in my ways. Stuck in his ways. The days and weeks and years, they would go on and on with no end in sight. I fell into the same routine, if you could even call it that. I saw him every day. I tried to avoid it, but like I said-- stuck. I was lost. Drifting through life without feeling a thing. 

I take a breath. In and out. I’m old now. Drained and frail. I’ve accomplished one thing, though. I always keep my promises.
I remember the day I promised to myself that I, the innocent, ignorant, young wife, would outlive him. I was sitting on the garden patio and he just kept yelling and yelling. Words. At first, they’re harsh and slice through your skin, making their way to your heart. But then, over time, you build up a shield and the words just go bouncing back. Over and over. Until it’s just a nuisance and you rise above. The words, flying in all directions. I couldn’t take it anymore. My eyes, burning hot coals and my breath ragged. Somehow, someway, I rose above. I made a vow that one day, even if I’m old and dying, I would outlive him and his hideous words. 

And now here I am. Old and dying, but very much alive. I take another deep breath and close my tired eyes. When I open them, I look around me. There’s the garden, same as it’s always been. The beds of daffodils and sunflowers and dahlias. Milkweed for the butterflies. A potted cactus. The three spruces on the left and the patio on the right. This garden has seen so many things and heard so many words.

“Adira, there you are!” I turn around and see Marianne standing right behind me. Marianne. My only true friend throughout these long and harrowing years. Even she can’t see everything going on in my head. She knows some things, though. I’ve told her stories. 

“Yeah, yeah. I’m here, I guess.” I sigh. Since when do I sound so…. Absent-minded? My voice, once strong, accusing, and bold, is now old and tired. It sounds like I’ve given up. There are so many layers, though. There are so many things he ruined. I just keep adding up the things taken away from me. But then… maybe now that I’ve fulfilled my promise to myself I need to stop with my silent vengeance and wishful thinking.  

I swallow, sour bile building up in my throat. I must look upset because Marianne steps closer to me. “Oh, honey!” She coos, wrapping her feeble arms around my shoulders. I remember how her bright red hair matched her young, twenty-year-old spirit when I first met her. Now her hair has faded and faded, and all that’s left is white. “Adira, it’s going to be okay. Harold--”

“Stop!” I cut in with more force than I intended. I turn to her, my back to the garden. “I-- Marianne, it’s not about him. It’s about… I-- I’m free now, I’ve outlived him and satisfied my promise. I just-- I don’t’ know how to-- how to...” Now I’m crying. You’d think after years of living with an abusive husband I would be out of tears, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. The salty, hot tears streak down my face, some drops getting caught in the deep valleys of shadows that crease my sunken face. Marianne's arms wrap tighter around me, and I bury my face in her neck. "I don't know how to feel," I murmur into her ear. 

Suddenly, Marianne pushes me away from her. Have I done something wrong? Her eyes, searching mine. Intense and confusing. "Adira. Strong, bold, lovely Adira. You-- It doesn't matter if you don't know. You've gone through so much and now look where we are!" She gestures around us. The house in front and the garden right behind. "Look, you've done it! It's okay, though. Not everyone has to have such a clear idea of who or what they're feeling. You can be sad or angry or relived, it is okay! Don't let Har-- sorry, him control you from his grave."

"I-- I know. I know. I'm free now, though. He isn't weighing me down. He's just gone. Gone." I whisper. I'm just now realizing that most of what I saying is for me, not for Marianne, and not for him. Marianne comes closer, grabs my hand, and leads me into the garden. We walk in silence. She's leading me toward the patio. Slow and sure.

"Honey, I couldn't know a stronger women than you even if I tried." Tears brimming at the edge of my eyes, I smile at her. A watery, weak smile, but one none the less. She smiles back, wrinkles crinkling around her eyes and mouth. And in that moment I know it's all going to be okay. I take a deep breathe in as Marianne watches me. 

Then I exhale. Everything. The words and the hate and him. A gust of wind ruffles my gray hair. The leaves go dancing by in a swirl of October wind. Then I breathe in. Marianne and the garden and all the good things in life. I smile like I used to. Strong and sure and bold. I'm truly free now.
“I have hated words, and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right” - Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

hi so wanted to republish this because like no one looked at it the first time it was published (like 2 months ago when I first joined). i'm pretty proud of it and would like suggestions on things to add or improve on and things like that. thank u so much and hope u enjoy!


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  • November 27, 2020 - 2:06pm (Now Viewing)

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  • anemoia by a thread

    I LOVE THIS. what a strong story and a message of hope. strong friendship and an overcoming spirit. you wove lots of great and powerful themes into this piece. (i wouldn't have seen it either last time you posted!)

    7 months ago
  • Lata.B

    I wouldn't have seen this if you hadn't posted this so I'm glad you did! I love it!!

    7 months ago
  • pyrrhic

    i'm glad you republished it!!!

    7 months ago
  • ~madeline~

    I think you already know how much I love this XD... Its just so powerful.

    7 months ago