SOME PEOPLE • by dekhelia

I recognise the young woman causing the holdup at the checkout, from the local paper. Her husband drowned while they were out walking at the coast not long back, something to do with trying to rescue a dog.

Behind me in the queue a mother and daughter cradle their magazines in coral talons, haemorrhaging perfume. “She’s forgotten what, like, four whole numbers? Brilliant.”

Frowning, the young widow stirs the air above the keypad with a finger, like a kid invited to choose just one chocolate from the tray. In the paper it said that she had been married for exactly eight days.

She tucks a crescent of dark hair behind her ear and looks up obliquely, as if she has heard someone call out a name that might be hers.

The man in front of me sighs, turning. He has a net of vegetables slumped in his arms, and a delicate riot of capillaries across his face. Raised eyebrows admit this to be a minor urgency, though one still big enough to share: “Some people. You do wonder what is actually going up there, in their little heads.”

Who knows?

The bite of salt in the air; the rumble of the breakers, like bricks falling in a chimney.

The expression on her husband’s face as he dips from view between swells — that watchful, uncertain look, the same one he has when crossing the road. The way his soaking hair stands up at the back like that, boyish.

Or the first time they met, when her touch made him lose his balance. Then that hot night in the beer garden — before they were even going out together — when he snapped her cigarette and told her “I want you alive.”

The heart in her throat thumping to be let out, like it belongs somewhere else.

A spot of colour high on each cheek, she gives up, slides her card from the machine. Behind me the mother and daughter murmur in unison, “Finally.”

Trembling on the sand, the dog vomits creamy coils of seawater.

And the plump girl on the till smiles at the near horizon, and swallows another yawn.

dekhelia writes in a van. With the engine running and the heater on.

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 average 0 stars • 0 reader(s) rated this
  • Sarah Crysl Akhtar

    Five stars. A really truthful story. Would like to read more of your work.

  • Lorraine

    This is a brilliant piece. I love it. Lots and lots to see here, I could go on looking many times over. It holds a beautiful poise and devastation.. (I pressed one star by mistake – 5 stars ++)

  • Cam C

    V rarely comment but I thought this was a beautifully written piece of fiction – write more please!

  • Apart from the gratuitous anti-smoking preach, this was a fine piece of writing.

  • Randy

    A great read. Thank you

  • Joanne

    So much truth in so little space—-very nice writing. 5 stars.

  • Peter Jump

    Very affecting. Liked it a lot.

  • Pete Wood

    Five stars. Poignant tight little story, full of truth and raw emotion. Very nice.
    And, I think the author’s bio is the best ever.
    Hope to see more from this author.

  • A punch in every word. Contrary to the above comment, I thought the snapped cigarette and “I want you alive.” perfect in the context of the story.
    Stay warm.

  • A few touches and the story would almost be perfect.

  • Nicely done! A gut-punch delivered lyrically–one of my favorite styles of writing.

  • Rob

    A very nice piece. Good job.

  • Loved this 5 star story. The juxtaposition of what happened really, the recollections, the attitudes of those waiting in line, the narrator, all perfectly in balance. Wow!

  • Simone

    I related to this story. Living on the opposite coast from the 9/11 Twin Towers devastation, I didn’t think I was as affected by it as, say, someone in New York. Yet a few days later, I couldn’t remember my four-digit code for the ATM … a code I used once a week for years.

  • SarahT

    I was hoping the speaker would help the poor widow out. Too much to hope for I guess.

    Beautiful job…

  • Mariev Finnegan

    Unique story. Very telling. My dear, I see great things for your writing.

  • Catherine Olaso

    I couldn’t read this story without commenting on how beautifully visceral I found your writing. Every sentence wove me further inside the tragedy, the heartbreak, the cruel indifference of others. You have proven that when you have a gift, it doesn’t really matter where you write. An office, a cafe, a van … the words live and resonate.

  • joannab.

    Elegant story. The check out scenario is used so effectively. And being in the young widow’s head is done so well. Thank you.

  • dekhelia

    Just like to express my gratitude to you all, for such appreciative comments. This story is my first published piece, and your responses encourage me to keep going. Thanks again!

  • Breathtaking and flawless. Please do keep writing. 🙂

  • 5 stars. I love this! How beautiful and poignant.

  • Beautiful and tragic. Like all good stories, leaves a lasting impact. 5 stars