The Purse

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

My entry for the 500 word 2020 Flash Fiction contest

He was her grandson. Much older than the days gone by of diapers and formula. But still her grandson. His mom, her daughter, was a distant heartache and memory. He was her boy now as if she had born him herself. Now he was off to war. The early train to take him to basic waited, huffing like a malevolent beast, eager to consume her darling boy. Still there was time. 

His suitcase carried all the baggage he would need. She didn’t even know if he would need that much. The Army usually took care of such things or at least she assumed. All she knew was her boy was going to leave. She would be alone, without him, for the first time in years. He looked a man to all but her, tall and strong in his best clothes.  He hovered over her, protective, while unsure himself of what was to come.

Her Arthur had passed a couple of years ago. It had just been her and him. No one else. His father, unknown. He had taken many an odd job to help her out. Even grew into that little teller job at the bank. But, his country called. He had to go.

She had gotten up early. Put on her best outfit, pearls and high heels. If he was going to go, she was going to send him off right. No tears. At least as best she could. Fresh bacon and eggs for breakfast, he wouldn’t go hungry. She was going to miss making his meals. They had shared the apple pie he liked the night before. She made sure the cinnamon was on just right and the apples sliced just so.

They had walked to the train station. He chatted along the way. She could tell he was nervous and excited. It was a new adventure for him. For her, her heart was breaking as she took each step. It seemed as if each foot was encased in lead and didn’t want to move. She forced herself along, tried to remain cheery, keep his spirits up. She didn’t want him going to war worrying about his old grandma.

But there was one more thing to do. It weighed heavier in her purse than the weight on her heart. It was a simple thing. No real weight at all. Barely a few ounces. It fit tidily in her purse just as it had set inside her nightstand at home for so many, many years.

Simple pages of paper with gentle words written in a blue ink. A note written in a hand she had known so well. She knew every letter, every word. She had read them time and again, over and over. Her tears stained the few pages there were. Now it was time to pass it along. There might not be any other. War was such an evil thing. Her hand graced her daughter’s handwriting one more time as she lifted it out of the purse.  


Submitted: May 05, 2020

© Copyright 2021 Dr. Douglas Courtney. All rights reserved.

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