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  • Writer's pictureBrown Sugar Literary Magazine

Fleeting: A Writing Prompt Response

Writing prompt #52: Write the farewell scene between two or more characters. Give us no background, no history, just the goodbye.

One of our Founders took a shot at our writing prompt, and this is what she came up with:


by Shanille Martin

There were things, things she could think of and things she couldn’t, but now it all felt so big when before it felt like small little things. Little things like first kisses and family vacations, things that are big until they are small and forgotten, little fleeting moments. They felt big now, big because they were being pulled from her grasp like a train departing a station with no one there to stop in its tracks. How she wishes she could slow down time, and embrace her daughter with enough love to heal her. But there was no healing or saving, there was just goodbye. She wasn’t ready for the goodbye and the moments that would come after.

And her husband, she wished she could heal him too of his guilt but her own felt like a guillotine clasped around her neck. No one prepares you for this type of pain. She plants a lingering kiss, her final touch. Her daughter's skin is warm, like her own, and for a moment she has hope. Hope that the petite of her eyes will open with wonder but instead she is greeted by the slowing down of a heartbeat, the monitor presenting a deafening pulse.

My sweet girl.

My greatest love.

This would be a moment where she would never forget, it would never be small or big, it would never be something she’d lose, it would be the moment. The moment when her mind shifted, her being, and how she felt and chose to see the world after. This goodbye would shape her.

Her daughter took her thumb into her weakening grasp, and for a moment her heart was so full, she couldn’t remember what occupied it before. How had she loved anything or anyone before this moment. And in the instant that fullness came, it went. The release of the finger, the slowing pulse, the quiet movement of her daughter's chest. Heartbeats she’d never get to hear again.

And she knew that final moment was coming.

She held her husband's hand, as her daughters held hers, as the beeping slowed and slowed. She felt her heart stop too for a moment, and the silence which followed made her sick.

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