Unfinished by Dorothee Lang

It happened years ago, in another city that was captured by a heat wave. The air didn’t cool down, not even in the nights. We were colleagues since a year, her and I, and sat outside in a café, sipping iced drinks, basically to postpone the moment of having to step into the hotel, into solid, sticky spaces, where our alarm clocks were already waiting to be set.

Maybe it was the heat that melted the line between being colleagues and being friends that day, I am still not sure of it. Yet at one point, we were miles beyond small talk. It was the last time we were travelling together, but I didn’t know this yet.

We kept talking, moving from one theme to the next. A man walked by, he played a guitar, and the tunes were like concentric circles, floating through the street, together with our words.

We ordered one more drink. “There’s this concept”, she said, her eyes suddenly all clear and open. “Or more something like a wish for life – to never be finished.”

Two weeks later, seemingly out of the blue for many others, she quit her job. I thought we would meet again, continue the talk we had on that evening – I kept feeling I missed something back then, something important. Unfinished, the word returns to me even now, with its open end, and I still don’t know how to feel about it.

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “Unfinished by Dorothee Lang

  1. wanted to add this note: “the last time” took 3 times to be written. the first story turned out too long, the second didn’t work, and the third, finally, turned into “Unfinished” – based on a real life moment.

  2. And well worth the effort you put into this! Lovely, intriguing, and with such a terrific voice and tone. I love how the story, the title, all reflect that unfinished feeling that asks more of the reader to answer.

  3. very original, very you, a voice apt to transport and transform, which is so hard in a couple hundred words.

  4. This reminds of the vague feeling of unease created by unresolved plotlines in novels and films, and reminds me that it does really happen. A very compelling piece.

  5. Forget to mention how much I like this line: ‘Maybe it was the heat that melted the line between being colleagues and being friends that day.’

  6. This was beautifully executed. Well worth three tries, in my opinion. :)

  7. Only 3 tries? For me to create a story as spare yet full would take many more attempts. I like the feeling of this story, the loneliness and bit of yearning, the ‘what if’. Peace…

  8. That feeling of timelessness, or suspended time, that often strikes while on a journey, hangs this story like a picture hung by clips to a line. You can look at it like a picture and get the whole thing in a static form that’s quite beautiful. ( I hope this makes sense)

  9. stephen

    a series of events hangs together in a single moment.
    a series of events hangs together in a single recurrent memory.
    so a moment is a recurrent memory.

    it’s hard to know what one has to say about such an assemblage if it comes from one’s life.

    it’s easier, i think, to make something like the something that comes from one’s life at a remove. just because it, what is said, is more self-contained that way.
    so it’s easier to remain in the telling as the doing of the piece rather than migrating into the doing of telling about the piece.
    you find an interesting balance between them here.
    that’s hard, i think.

  10. Pingback: Week #19 – The Last Time « 52|250 A Year of Flash

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