The Embrace (A Short Short Short Story)

The following very short story was written for a short story challenge in the EA forum called “A picture is worth a thousand words” (but in this case we only got 500 .. I brought it in at 494).

She stood in the store, a scowl on her face, staring holes into the lazy clerk behind the counter (something, that in retrospect, she would regret) just waiting.  Suddenly there was a sharp firm tug on the back hem of her shirt.  She swung around a bit too quickly, the scowl not leaving her face (again something she would regret later), to face the rogue.  With a start, she found herself face to face with a pair of twinkling blue eyes that she had not looked into for 20 years.  A loud audible gasp escaped her before she could clamp down on it.  “So I had to speak to you three times to get you to remember me,” his all too familiar voice softly met her ears.

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No words came only a long embrace.  As they remained for a moment, maybe too long for this retail environment, the thoughts rushed in.  OH I HAVE MISSED you was there in heart but again no words came.

Memories came crashing back in an instant. They had been deeply in love but they had never been lovers.  Both married at that time so neither would compromise by doing such a thing. The marriages were bad it was true. She married to what she feared was a monster and he married to one who had already abandoned him for another.

They had spoken longingly of a life together in a faraway place where no one knew them.  How many times over the years had each one of them stopped and daydreamed for just a moment about how that might’ve been if different choices had been made.  That would be impossible to number.  The count would be too high.

Both had wrestled with this love of theirs.  Seeking the right thing to do for both of their families. In the end, she walked away from him and back to the arms of her husband. She did not look back but she never forgot him.  They knew it could not be. There were just too many who counted on them.  Although it was horribly difficult, they had to let it go. She knew he would never understand and true enough he did not.  The look on his face as she told him of her choice has never left her heart.

That one embrace, standing there in the store, spoke volumes.  No, it screamed volumes. The love was still present and the flame burned as brightly at that moment as it had 20 years ago when they last looked into each other’s eyes.  There were no how ya been’s nor family inquiries. There was no need.  They both knew life had gone on.

As they pulled slowly away from the embrace there was only a quiet lingering moment between them.

Could they?

Should they?

Maybe it was not too late.

No, sadly the time for choices had long passed.

Goodbye, although a tiny bit easier this time, was all they got.

***************************** credits and admin **********************************

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11 thoughts on “The Embrace (A Short Short Short Story)

  1. I’ve had a lot of friendships like this… Met up years later, tried to rekindle things, but things just never really could “be the same” and though bittersweet, you kinda realized you’d never get back what you had and had to continue on your separate paths… Such a very real and relatable feeling. Good job!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ty and yes I have had those same experiences and you wonder where it all changed … I even have one old ha friend and we share a lot of the same interests but she can’t let go of the past and move past who she was then … me? I never want to go back to that lol

      Liked by 1 person

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