Before we are 100

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“You have beautiful blue eyes”, he complimented her. “My eyes are brown”, she said sharply. He has been drinking again. “I know you think I am drunk.”

He had a way of reading people, and she made it easy for her every thought showed on her face. Before she could say anything, he continued, “I am actually colour-blind, but I can still recognise beauty”. He said it with a wink in his eyes. Why mention colour of my eyes if he is colourblind. She wasn’t impressed but she also wasn’t able to take in a compliment. Her mind was preoccupied with the news she got last night.

He noticed that she got even more tense, so he said, “I am sorry”. She looked with amazement. Why is he apologising now? “I am sorry that your best friend is not well.” “Who are you?!” These three words cut to the core of his soul, as if they asked for the reason of his existence. His heart split in hundreds of pieces as he tried to find the suitable answer.

Should he tell her? He knew how she would react. “I am your husband. We used to joke about the colours and that I was colourblind. You used to laugh when I said these obvious mistakes.” It made no sense to her. “You are not my husband!” She ran towards him. His heart broke into thousands more pieces. He held her tightly. She wept. And he did too.

© Iva Beranek (Dublin, 24th June 2015)
Photo by © Iva Beranek

This post was inspired by Sonyca’s 100 words story “The Girl Who Lived“. While I didn’t decide to write this in only 100 words, I realised you can say a lot in just a few words.

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5 thoughts on “Before we are 100

  1. I liked your writing, Iva. But some of my questions remained unanswered. For example, what did the lady discover the previous night? Did she have a memory problem? Why is the couple having this conversation?

    • Thanks Arpita. A short story like this does not have to have all questions answered. They sometimes tell you that when you write to use ‘show not tell’ approach, and that’s what I did here. Yes, she does have a memory problem but in this kind of a story I don’t think it’s necessary to ‘say that’. Makes sense?

  2. Yes, I do believe that short pieces need not answer every question. In this case, however, in the beginning the woman thinks that the man has been drinking again, which shows she remembers his drinking habit. But she does not remember who he is. At the same time, she remembers something that happened last night. I just had a tiny bit of trouble making sense of her memory. I am not sure if I am making myself clear here, though 😦

  3. Yes, you are making sense. Have you ever read Samuel Beckett? He represents something called “Theatre of the Absurd”. This is a snippet, like a photo shot of a moment in a life of a couple. The woman thinking, ‘he has been drinking again’ is not necessarily that she remembers – she cannot make sense of what he is saying and therefore a thought comes. Don’t we all do that? We fill in the gaps in our head when we don’t understand something. She may have thought it already before, therefore her husband can say “I know you think I am drunk”. He knows, loves and understand her even with loss of her ability. When I read your questions again I realised that the one about what she discovered the previous night was answered – she got news that her friend was not well. I understand that you had trouble making sense of her memory, but that is the whole point. People with Alzheimer’s (or dementia) sometimes don’t make sense, and perhaps what is happening around them does not make sense to them. And we still love them. I guess that is what I tried to illustrate here. I leave it for the reader to connect the dots, I don’t do it for them. Not everyone will like this style, and that’s ok 😉

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