GONE by Linda Simoni-Wastila

You pause at the subway entrance. By the blind woman. Every evening she shows up for the commuter rush, rattling her cup, hustling for coins. Tonight you press your bagged lunch, uneaten, into her hands, then pull out the crumpled twenty you found wedged in your pencil drawer. She mumbles thanks, so you stuff your hat and leather gloves and the Ray-Ban’s your ex gave you last Christmas into her waiting lap. So many riches, all at once, and for the smallest instant you wish you were her, you wish you were anyone but yourself. She leans closer, she smells of grease and raw onion and the street, and peers into the Xerox box hugged tight against the curve of your hip. When you question the veracity of her condition, she laughs, a smoke-smoothed cackle, and you think, what does it matter?

The escalator whisks you silent into the dim bowels of the station. At the bottom, the box thuds at your feet: mug, wedding photo, the 25-year pen. You think you should feel lighter, somehow unencumbered, but you don’t. The platform trembles. The cold rush of air precedes the oncoming train.

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15 Comments

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15 responses to “GONE by Linda Simoni-Wastila

  1. Eerie and effective use of second person focal point. “You wish you were her, anyone but yourself.”

  2. Really gets to the heart of the current situation for so many people. The leaving, the change, the realizations. Nice.

  3. Alexandra Pereira

    So much is said in this story. Strong images… Stimulated my senses! Nicely done. :-)

  4. A really good one! “…you wish you were anyone but yourself. ” Loved how the ‘blind’ seer helps to relieve the narrator of her past!

  5. Ah thanks for reading all you lovely folks! I love how everyone brings their own interpretation of the story — my intent was less benign. Peace…

  6. Michael

    This is another excellent piece; another gripping revelation of the human spirit struggling with the ghosts and guilt and regret and the of life’s harsh experiences that take us to the brink. Linda, I love how the reader experiences this piece: you describe it so we can sense the touch, smells, visuals, and sounds that the narrator experiences. This plants us squarely right there with him/her. Brilliantly written!

  7. Maude Larke

    And yet so spare and subtle. Fine, fine-tuned writing.

  8. Kim Hutchinson

    There’s a lot going on under the surface in this taught, eerie piece. Well done.

  9. sharp. it starts off in a rush and ends that way. great job.

  10. The rattling cup, the raw onions and the cackle in the street do not leave us feeling lighter because if we give, we feel we’ve been taken and if we don’t give, we feel guilty. Holding The Big Issue close to our chest and donating our 10 percent to charity does no make us feel better. The situation (whether we give or not) exhausts us. Wonderful story. Doris

  11. guy

    I like the last couple sentences where the attention is on the setting. I felt the air move and the train coming.

    I thought “you” was going to jump in front of the train, hence the giveaway.

  12. You do the “you” (second person POV) so damn well, really effectively with this piece. I am a fan!

  13. Sharp and eerie, yes, both at once. And haunting. The detail is so alive. Mmm… wonderful piece, Linda.

  14. Pingback: Week #40 – The money’s gone | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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