All Stories, General Fiction, Short Fiction

Minimal Loss by James Freeze

While thumbing through a magazine in my doctor’s office waiting room I came across a picture of a unique contemporary structure, sitting on a hillside by the sea. It was like nothing I had ever seen before, but it sparked memories of my past. At eighty years of age, I must have many? I hope I do—I think—I’m not sure anymore.

Yeah, it does happen. Live long enough and that ever – so – familiar road isn’t quite as familiar anymore. That curve was not there last week. That hill, also: it used to be a keepsake in a bag of memories. Now, it’s a challenge too.

Getting older has hampered my moving on in life, creating its own set of new challenges. But there came a point in my life when there were no reasons left to hold back. Except for the memories, some were the last to go and some memories never did. I just had to bag’em up the best I knew how and go forward.

I’ve retained a few memories from years past, like front porch swings, double metal gliders and the adventures created with just a stick. And those fond memories, spending summer evenings with family and friends just talking, and how good that felt. There was something special about that simple interaction.  Many times I sat at a large kitchen table breaking green beans, shucking corn, talking and laughing while eating homemade buttermilk biscuits and washing them down with a big glass of sweet tea.

Morals and ethics were not necessarily a religion but simple common sense during those times. They were the logical, sensible common principles of good conduct between people.

Before my sweet wife passed, we were at a point in our relationship where it took us thirty minutes to complete a five-minute conversation. Oh, how much I miss her and those great aromas that came dancing from her kitchen. She had the gift of insight which laid in the dark like a seed waiting for the right season. She played all of the right parts at the right time and better than I could ever have hoped. There was always a warm kind of feeling whenever she was near. Her smile was natural and her brown eyes were bright and brave above a resolutely lifted chin. The attractive curve of her lips allowed her to smile no matter her disposition. She felt things deeply from being so sensitive and yet had a great deal of poise and self-control. Those many moments gathered in my mind like snapshots, reminding me that when we were young we had choices but as we grew older, not so much.

I remember spending summers on my Grand Father’s farm. His name was Mason and together we worked hard out in the fields. Around 10 o’clock in the morning, grandma would bring us hot homemade buttermilk biscuits and ice cold milk. I can’t remember anything that would have tasted better. Family closeness was a gift we enjoyed and was never more displayed than before we ate. That is when granddad would bow his head and mumble some jumbled words, but it didn’t matter because we all knew what he was saying anyway.

The greatest use of my life, I believed, was to spend it doing something that would outlast me. But it seems difficult for some today to find any comfort in their own life’s storms. Unfortunately, to them, happiness is more remembered than experienced.

We should not have to struggle to remember breathtaking sunsets, star- filled heavens on a clear night, and the vibrant colors of the flowers and trees. Also the sweet scent of spring after a refreshing rain. The fragrance of fresh cut grass in the summer, the thunderous sounds of waterfalls, the birds singing, or the voices of those close and most dear to us.

I longed for that simple elegance where simplicity bordered closely upon plainness. I believed profoundly in the inner meaning of common things. I convinced myself it was the whispered confession of us all and that an idea was the root of any creative endevour. The simpler, the better, I thought because simplicity was the main characteristic of all creative notions. There were those details that identified and then those that individualized. I preferred the latter.

You might say I was an ordinary man, one who could lose himself in a crowd without attracting any special attention or interest. Unlike the first bird of the day, who before darkness is lifted, knows what is coming and says so.


“Mr Patch,’ the man cleared his throat and repeated, ‘Mr. Patch, I’m sorry to disturb your rest, but your car is ready.”

“What do you mean my car? I’m in the Doctor’s office.”

“No Sir, you’re at the tire shop and we have just completed installing a new set of radial tires. You’re ready to go—Sir.”

“I must have been daydreaming again.”

“Mr Patch, do you need something else or assistants of some kind?”

“No, I’m just mumbling to myself.”

I seem to be doing that more often these days. and now I’m beginning to realize that I miss my Sweetie more and more as every day passes.

We were in love, real love, a conscious emotion we believed. We were aware of the pitfalls of being in love and prepared ourselves for the best and the worst. I learned that love had the magical power to make the lowest of men become the most important man in the world. That is what my sweetie did for me.

And that is why my seeming loss of memories and my erratic dosing off into daydreaming has begun to take its toll. I am beginning to worry more and more about those losses. My only prayer is that they can be kept to a minimum.


James Freeze

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5 thoughts on “Minimal Loss by James Freeze”

  1. I commiserate with Mr. Patch. I am currently sitting in my doctor’s waiting room when I really ought to be having my snow tires removed.
    What stands apart here is the MC POV. Usually we come at this person from outside, for the sake of objectivity. No such thing as the confused always realizing their confusion. Nice touches


  2. Hi Jim,
    We know how hard you worked at this and are delighted to see it on the site.
    This is heartfelt and very well observed.
    All the very best my friend.


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