Problems in Life and Friendship

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
In a world where Problems are physical and must be carried around by their owner, how would people survive all the weight life caused? As far as Karen is concerned, the weight is just another thing to deal with, until she meets a stranger on her path and realizes something that just might help lessen her load.

Submitted: November 02, 2015

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Submitted: November 02, 2015



I looked down at the bag full of stones at my side, the beige purse they sat in thumping agaisnt my hip as I walked. I sighed and hefted them into a more comfortable position, my shoulders aching from all their weight. A soft scuffling noise behind me made me flip around with a yelp, my fists raised, ready for a fight.

A boy around my age stood behind me, looking apologetic, “Sorry,” he said sheepishly, “I tripped.”

I rolled my eyes and turned back around, continued along my path and ignoring the hurried footsteps that followed me. A low whistle came from next to me and I glared at the boy, who was peeking into my bag looking impressed, “That’s a lot of Problems,” he mumbled, then looked up at me, “Are they all yours or did family dump them on you?”

“They’re mine,” I snapped, shifting the heavy bag to my other shoulder and away from his prying eyes, “Now, buzz off. I’m trying to forget about these stupid things and I don’t need you admiring them.”

My rude tone didn’t seem to bother him, because he kept talking, “You know, one person’s Problems wouldn’t way anything to someone else,” he gestured to my purse, “If those are all yours, they must be pretty heavy. I could take a few, if you want.”

I sighed and shook my head, “I appreciate the offer, I really do, but I’m fine, so you’re help isn’t needed.”

The boy shrugged, “Alright, fine by me. It was worth a try.”

Silence fell over us and I was starting to think that my blessed peace had returned when the boy spoke again, his voice full of mirth and starting to really annoy me, “My name’s Aren. What’s yours?”

I sighed in resignation and replied, “I’m Karen.”

It seemed that little name exchange made our friendship official and Aren started talking, telling me about his life and how he got some of his Problems and about some of the people he had met on his path.

I stayed silent through his ramblings and watched him, amazing at how chipper he could be even though he had a bag that was at least twice as big as mine that looked like it should be dragging on the ground.

After a little while, Aren noticed my studious observance of him and stopped talking, looking back at me in confusion, “Why are you staring at me? Is there something on my face?”

I chuckled softly and explained, “No, I’m just curious how you can be so happy when you have so many Problems. Aren’t your shoulders killing you?”

He craned his neck to look at the bag on his back and laughed, “Oh, these. Most of them aren’t mine. A little under half of them are other peoples. I know it may be weird, but that’s how I want to live my life. I want to be the kind of person that is willing to take on the burdens of others. I mean, if I can’t even do that, then what’s the point? I couldn’t imagine a life that consisted only of marching along this path until we die.”

Another silence fell and I thought about what he had said. Could that really happen? Could someone just share their Problems with someone else and their load would get lighter? I didn’t think that was how it worked, but glancing back at Aren’s stuffed bag made me wonder if I was just thinking to shallowly.

After a while of thinking, I made a decision and reached up to unzip Aren’s bag, grabbing a handful of the stones at the top and dropping them into my purse. To my surprise, they didn’t add any weight, but Aren looked relieved to have them gone.

I smiled at him and fished in the bottom of my bag, dragging out one of my larger Problems and dropping it into his before zipping it back up, my shoulder almost letting out a sigh of relief at the dropped weight.

I stood up a little straighter and grinned. Maybe this could work. After all, they were only a few little Problems.


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