Cycle with French bread

This short tale was originally published in our newsletter of 2 May 2013. The above picture was used as a prompt for the story.


Alice replaced the cap on the pen and laid it gently upon the desk. She felt wrung out, hollow. Every emotion, every hurt, had been poured into her letter to Josh.
“When you told me it was over, my heart broke,” she’d written. And even now, she believed she could feel the splinters in her chest, spearing her anew.

“You told me I was ugly; that you didn’t fancy me anymore. Do you have any idea how cruel that was? How much pain that caused me?” Age and illness had slackened her shape and drawn lines on her face. Lines of living. Josh was no oil painting himself. But even if he was, how dare he judge her?

“You said I was weak, because I cried when I needed to. Do you know how cold you seemed to me, because you refused to cry even when your Mum died?”
Writing the letter had been painful; she had imprinted her sadness upon this page, left herself raw and open, and so very vulnerable.

The last line read: “You even finished our relationship by email, Josh. You didn’t have the courage or the strength to tell me face-to-face.”

There was nothing else she needed to say.

Alice read the letter one last time, allowing herself to fully feel the pain, the emotion, the grief. She took the deepest breath she could, then decided that now she would let it all go, let it all flow. A startling rush of energy streamed through her body from crown to toe, and she sensed it washing the past from her.

She breathed again; this time her heart felt lighter, less burdened. She fed the letter through the shredding machine, opened the door to the garden, and stepped into the warming sunlight to face her future.

Copyright Joanna Gawn 2013