A Tearful Goodbye

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


A Tearful Goodbye

Six months after the start of World War II, an elderly woman and a young man shared a tearful goodbye on the concourse of St. Louis’ Union Station. As if invisible to passersby, they faced each other, lost in their own conversation. “Mom, Shakespeare said it best when he penned the words, ‘Parting is such sweet sorrow.’ Please don’t cry. I wish my trip wasn’t open ended, but our contract with the Brooklyn Navy Yard requires we work until the job is done. I promise you, I’ll try to sweeten every day I’m gone with a letter.”

“I know you will, Son, and I’ll count the minutes of every day until your letter arrives. It’s just that, with your father’s passing a month ago, there’s been so much to take care of and you’ve been such a good son, helping me and all…”

“Hush Mother, everything’s gonna be all right. If something urgent comes up, you can reach me by telephone at the hotel, and Mrs. Jacobs, next door, said she’d look in on you from time to time.”

A large public address speaker mounted on the nearby wall blared its announcement and interrupted their private moment. “New York bound Spirit of St. Louis now boarding, track five–ALL ABOARD!” He glanced at his wristwatch and with a heavy heart said, “My train leaves in ten minutes. I better get on board.”

His mother nodded and, withdrawing a lace hankie from her handbag, wiped a tear from the corner of her eye. “All right Son, you go on now. I’ll be all right. Just feeling sorry for myself. When this war’s over we’ll be a family again.”

He smiled, pressed his palm against her cheek and gave his mother a gentle kiss on her other cheek. She grasped the back of his hand with her thin fingers, turned her head and placed a tender kiss on the palm of his hand. With a gentle tug, he pulled his hand away, smiled and whispered, “I love you.” As she raised her hand in a final goodbye gesture, she whispered back, “I love you more.” He turned and joined the throng of people making their way to track five.


Submitted: April 30, 2020

© Copyright 2021 J. E. Holling. All rights reserved.

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