Can You Help This Old Man (Small Edits Made)

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A thank you to Khansaa and Aya for the use of their names. A bit slow and short, but an attempt to write a story never tried before.
Can you help this old man find his wife? Can you help this old man..?
I may have rushed it, so I might return to edit, to add more, to take away...

Submitted: December 23, 2018

A A A | A A A

Submitted: December 23, 2018



Can You Help This Old Man?


 “Excuse me,” The woman stopped almost immediately in her tracks and turned to the elderly man a few feet from the closest mall kiosk. He took a step and dragged his cane behind. “Can you help this old man find his wife? She shouldn’t be hard to find.” He added as he tapped his his chin with his free hand before looking over all of the stores lining the mall walls.

 “Do you have an idea of where she is?” The woman asked softly, her kind heart being revealed.

 “I know her favorite stores.” He said before his eyes then quickly lit up. “You can’t miss her, her beauty and radiance is unparalleled.”

 “Well, which store should we check out first.” He led her to the first store of jewelry and walked to the rings.

 “Hm, well this is one. You see, she misplaced her wedding ring just six months ago and we have been looking at getting her a new one.”

 “I’m sorry she must have been devastated. By the way what is her name?”

 “Her name,” He then smiled almost as if no one had even done harm in the world. “It’s Aya, it means miracle. Or verse” He looked over the rings once more before turning to the door. “Perhaps she went to the bookstore, she has been wanting another copy of the Holy Quran.”

 “Holy Quran?” She asked as he led the way.

 “Ah, yes, I should have mentioned my wife is Arabic. It’s a religious book.”

 “Wait, how did you two meet, then?” They wandered the bookshelves, with again no luck at finding his wife.

 “Well, dear, this frail old man was once a strong young soldier.” He tapped his finger against his chin once more. “Maybe she is looking at clothes.”

 “Shall we check?”

 “Yes, thank you, again for helping this old man find his wife.”

 “It is no problem, but may I know more of you meeting your wife?”

 “Of course, if you’ll lend me your ear a bit longer.” As they walked away, he softly continued his story. “I was nineteen, overseas, and naive. Luckily, Aya, was a brave young woman where I was stationed. Sana’a was the city and Yemen was the country. During the Great War, she was part of a group supplying the troops with bread and water, and whatever else they could spare out of kindness. Aya, especially did not want to see anyone hurt, and stayed by my side until a medic could get to me after my platoon had been ambushed.”

 “You were wounded?”

 “Yep, took a bullet to the arm. Afterwards, we wrote to each other, luckily she knew English. Soon after the war, I brought her to America where we later married.” Inside the new store, he softly sighed looking at a dress on display. “She would look lovely in this.”

 “Sir?” The woman asked, getting more curious by the second of his life. “Did the two of you ever have children?”

 “Ah, yes. We had one daughter, Khansaa. We named her after a brilliant Arabic poet who sadly lost her four sons during a war.” He slowly took out his phone. “I should call her to ask if she’s heard from her mother.” She waited patiently as he called his daughter and put it on speaker.

 “Father?” She quickly answered on the other end. “Where are you?” Her voice sounding worried.

 “I’m fine, Khansaa. We were at the mall when I seemed to have lost your mother, has she called you?”

 “Wait there, I’m on my way!” There was a click on the phone before he stared at it.

 “I hope nothing’s wrong.” He softly said before looking back at the woman. “Well, me and Khansaa can search for her; besides, I’ve wasted your time long enough.”

 “I don’t mind waiting with you, besides I would like to say hello to your daughter at least.”



 She waited and listened to his stories. From his time during the war, to his life with the wife she still has yet to meet along with the daughter. Finally, his eyes focused on a woman approaching them.

 “That’s her, now. My baby, Khansaa.” He announced as he adjusted his cane.

 “She’s beautiful.” The woman starts, “Is she-”

 “I am so sorry, miss.” Khansaa quickly tells her before addressing her father. “You know you can’t keep coming here.”

 “We can leave, once we find your mother.”

 “Not this again.” She sighs. “I’m so sorry, miss.” she states again.


 “Because…” She put her hand to her head for a moment before speaking. “My mother passed a few months ago, and my father hasn’t been himself lately.”

 “Khansaa, she’s not gone. She’s…” He hesitated closing his eyes. “Wait…”

 “I’m sorry, miss. He does this several times a week, now. I need to get him home.” She grabbed his hand softly. “Let’s go home, okay.”

 “I never found her ring, Khansaa…”

 “It’s on the nightstand…”

 “I’m sorry…” The woman softy spoke as she placed her hand over her mouth while Khansaa escorted her father to the exit.


 “Excuse me.” A young man slowly turns to the old man with a cane. “Can you help this old man..?”



© Copyright 2020 Raven Leal. All rights reserved.

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