Friday, March 4, 2011


Mother always told me to stay out of other people’s business, but I was never really good at listening.  I was however good at disappointing.  I disappointed her the day I took the job at the local mental hospital instead of finishing medical school.

“Miss,” his voice bounced off the bare tables in the empty room, “may I have a glass of water.”

Turning I saw no other nurses, so I assumed he was speaking with me.

“I’m not crazy,” he proclaimed as I placed the glass of water on his table.  “I’m not crazy.”

“Alright sir,” I replied.  In training they taught us to affirm and appease, and never upset a patient.  I moved to leave, but my feet seemed rooted in their spot.

“I don’t belong here,” his voice dropped to a whisper.  “You have to believe me.  Believe me that I’m not crazy.  Believe me and set me free.  Come with me.”  His dark eyes pried into my soul.

“I have to get back to work,” I mumbled into the floor.

“Wait,” he called out.  “You’re beautiful, you know.  Bring me a glass of water tomorrow.”

Beautiful. I dwelled over that word as I hurried down the hall to my station.  Beautiful.  No, I wasn’t beautiful.  Mother always called me homely; ‘a homely child and a bit of an odd bird,’ I’d hear her giggle with her friends.  But this man, with the dark eyes and sharp chin had called me beautiful.

Day after day, I brought him a glass of water.  Day after day, he told me of a new place we could journey.  Day after day, he slowly convinced me he wasn’t crazy or maybe it was the nights that convinced me of such.

At night in the darkness of my flat, I saw him often.  I imagined making dinner for two instead of one.  He would watch my favorite shows with me and we would fall asleep in the bed, him reading a book, me a magazine.  In sleep he invaded my dreams.  I drowned time and time again in his steel grey eyes. 

One day I realized his love had given me a new life, and thus I vowed to do the same.  I knew all the backdoors, even had a key to unlock each one.  I deserved more than this place.  He deserved a life with me.

Now, here I sit, telling my story to the gentle breeze and the passing cloud.  Dropped off in a foreign land; forgotten by the man who would love me forever.  Perhaps I was the crazy one after all.

My sandals lie on the beach discarded from my feet.  The water laps at my ankles.  The breeze tickles my chin.

I stare at the moon and finish my story to the audience of stars.  In my hand I conceal a heart, a discarded piece of candy he gave me one day.  I twisted it and yearned to believe it was his love he had given to me.

Tonight, I cry out to the moon.  The water rests upon my knees.  Death holds more promise than living life with a broken heart.

This fictional post is written in response to the Red Writing Hood prompt "Water gives life. Water takes it away."


  1. Ooooh that was good.. I would have never let a mental patient out.. braver then me she was

  2. This was so good!
    I wanted her to be okay with being left by realize that he had given her a gift already.
    My heart hurt that she felt abandoned.
    Great job.
    ( might rework this bit: "I stare at the moon and finish my story the audience of stars." Did you mean "to" the audience?

  3. This was really good. I hoped she would find happiness with her steely-eyed stranger...

    Visiting from RDC

  4. Amazing. You took that prompt in a unique, creative direction. I love it!

  5. What an interesting take on the prompt. I loved how the glass of water gave birth to her love and her dreams. And then, in the end, water will take them as well.

  6. This was so nicely written, and a refreshing change of pace for the prompt. Good job!

  7. I have to start looking for pictures to include with my posts. They add so much and yours was perfect.

  8. I loved this! I really loved this.

    The writing was spare but also, brim full. Nice work.

  9. Poor poor girl. Love has no explanations. I enjoyed reading this. There was yearning and there was this hope that you find in the most uncommon of places... but truth is always more strange.

    Coming from TRDC.

  10. Great unique take on the prompt! Really enjoyed the progression from the glass of water to the water lapping at her ankles. :>

  11. Ugh, I'm so sad for her. I am fascinated by mental illness. It runs in my family. This was really good!

  12. seriously girl you should write a book you are talented!!!

  13. Holy smokes! You had me captivated with this post. Awesome. If I could give one tiny critique because your writing was so fluid and mesmerizing until I read "and thus I vowed to do the same" ... The word "thus" just didn't seem to fit ... almost too clinical ... and I stumbled over this word until I made my brain replace it with "and so...". I'm crazy, I know. But this short fiction is crazy amazing!

  14. That was fantastic. I absolutely loved it. I was moved, emotional and holding my breath. I love the life he gave her, despite his leaving her. I want her to stay strong. I want her to be sad, but fight the sadness and stay true to her whim and run free!

    I will add that I'm one who does like pictures, but I got an off feeling with this one. I preferred the feel at the end where I was thinking, well, maybe she only THOUGHT that death was the better way, and didn't do anything. Didn't move, just sat there. Then I see the picture and I'm like, aw, man, did she or didn't she? But I lost some of the mystery. I think a picture of JUST water would have wrapped it up more in an open sort of way.

    But overall I loved it. minus my input on the picture. ;) Great writing. I love her!

  15. I really liked your writing here. Really sparse and raw. And a very interesting story - love the part of wondering who the crazy one was. It made me sad, how a compliment, no matter the source, is enough to move someone to act in a way they shouldn't.

  16. Loved the opening paragraph. Hooked me right away. The romantic in me wishes they would have ended up together, but I think it makes a better story that they didn't. You wrote it just the right way.


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