A Whole Lie by Kim Hutchinson

A half-truth is a whole lie.                                                    Yiddish proverb


Just Another Word For

So, I saw a car just like yours, she says, parked behind that nurse’s house. On the corner.

Must be a coincidence, he says, turning away. The car just looked like mine.

Rage and danger bubble under his words.

So did the license plate, she thinks, but she dare not say.

She dare not.

An Everyday Story

A boy rounds a corner on his way to work and stands waiting for a light. Across the street, he sees a pretty girl.

Later that day, she’s in the elevator. He says hello. She smiles.

A few years later, now a harried married man, he leaves for work every day at 8:14.

Today, he leaves at 8:05.

He stops for coffee at the same place as always. He bumps into an old girlfriend; he hasn’t seen her in years. They chat, and he finds out that she’s divorced and lonely.

A decade later, he’s a middle-aged man. His youngest daughter, ten years from her sisters, the apple of his eye, brings home a new friend, a little boy.

He knows the friend’s mother. We dated in high school, he tells the boy.

But he’s startled. The boy looks a lot like he did at that age.

What a coincidence, says his wife, avoiding his eye.


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Filed under Kim Hutchinson

25 responses to “A Whole Lie by Kim Hutchinson

  1. Oh my. Like how you’ve jumped through the years, tied them together through brief encounters.

  2. man, this coincidence theme is bringing out some terrific dark, edgy stories with twists. I love the structure you gave this…all the time distance that’s covered is given the right framing in the division between “stories” and the tension in the life gaps, years at a leap, and then the parsing of minutes 8:05 or 8:14, the difference it makes. The proverb sets it all up perfectly.

  3. Darryl P.

    Nicely played. Where exactly does one put one’s loyalties?

  4. So well done. I want to applaud.

  5. very clever. pulled me right along.

  6. great format!! i first thought these are 2 stories with one theme. then read it again. and like a puzzle, the lines formed the larger picture. all this in 250 words, stunning.

    • Kim Hutchinson

      Funnily enough, I thought of them as two stories with one theme as well. Thanks for the alternate view, and the great comment.

  7. Martin

    Good intelligent use of the theme. The independence of each story works well, yet they so neatly intertwine. Its hard to tell whether they are two episodes of one story or whether this is just coincidental – very neat. The epigraph also adds to the openness to reader interpretation, are we looking at two half stories adding up to a true telling of the tale, or just another fiction? Smart, intelligent and leave the audience with the freedom to interpret and enjoy.

  8. OOOOOoooooh, what a coincidence indeed. Nicely told. I like the way you built up to the surprising – though entirely believable- ending.

  9. Well this is downright creepy, Kim. I sat back and thought, how do I respond to this? So, you worked some magic here!

  10. I liked the wife’s denial through the years – not that denial is a good way to live your life, but it is very true that some women go through life sweeping the half truths under the rug. I didn’t think your piece was creepy; rather, I thought it was pretty true to life as some people live it. Doris

  11. Kim Hutchinson

    Thank you, Doris, for your thoughtful comment. I really appreciate it.

  12. The movement is wonderful, Kim, as has been well noted. And terrific plotting within that. This piece echoes… really lovely, in such an uncomfortable way.

  13. Kim Hutchinson

    Thanks, Catherine. I appreciate your generous comments.

  14. yes. oh yes. great story, great structure, leaves my heart aching. peace…

  15. Kim Hutchinson

    Thanks, Linda! Glad you liked it.

  16. Pingback: Week #41 – Coincidence | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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