sad but strong

It’s difficult to be both, at once.

We greet one another and, like always, check in about the mundane. She asks after me, I mention that I’m recovering, been catching up on sleep.

How are you?

She pauses, and her face drops. Glances away and wipes away a single tear

There’s a moment of quiet discomfort, between.

Last week at this time he was here

and I can’t understand why he’s gone

Now, the tears flow.

She had shared the news of his loss and been away from work, but we’d chatted since then.

Sad, but strong.

Today is hitting her differently.

He was going up to the mountain and jumping off with the big…umbrella?

She searches for the word

He jumped but the wind was…

she swirls the air with her arms

His umbrella got twisted around and didn’t open

and now he’s gone

I’m so sorry

It’s okay to be sad

I’m not sure what to offer, apart from a gentle hug and encouragement for her to head home, to rest, to grieve.

He was always a good boy

His sons were looking in the box and saw him lying there, and asking “why is papa there?” “why is papa there?”.

She wipes another tear away.

I need to go


Let me know if there’s anything I can do.

And, like that

She puts on her mask and helmet, gently wheels her bike outside the gate

and slides it closed.

Published by Radutti

Teaching in Ha Noi, screwing things up daily but surviving to write about it. ...everything's perfectly all right now. We're fine. We're all fine here now, thank you. How are you?

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  1. The movements of each in this writing is what really strikes me as the most powerful from the greeting to the swirling to the departing balancing strength and sadness in each line, the tension in sharing emotion in this relationship. The hesitation of the lines, the spacing, are brilliant and beautiful. Thank you for this.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Such heartache here in your spare lines, all the way through. Brings to mind “omit unnecessary words” – what remains is clear, vivid, full of emotional power. Beautifully done. Strength to all in the terrible sadness… there’s so little space to rest inside such immense grief.

    Liked by 1 person

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