Finally Home – a flash fiction

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Empty Nest

I paused abruptly on reaching the red bench. Something is amiss. Today again the bench is empty.

Every day, on my way to office I happen to pass by this bench. Each day I see him sitting there. Matted hair hanging on his shoulders like unwashed dreadlocks. Clothes that have not been washed for long. But how can he? He has no home. Dazed and lost, humming to himself, at times he would be playing some sad melody on his guitar while people would put coins in front of him.  

The bench looks sad and deserted. I look around. Would anyone know his whereabouts? No use asking these strangers, for they’re all passers-by using this park as a passage to their destination. For him, it was home.  

I see a young guy walk towards the bench, place a bouquet, say some prayer and walk away.

Of course this had to happen! Day after day, beaten by cold weather at night, he could bear it no more. I felt a lump in my throat. The first thing I’ll do on reaching home is donate to some institute for the homeless.  

~~~ ~~~

My above story is for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers, a weekly story writing challenge held by Priceless Joy. 
Photo prompt for this week was provided by Ady.

I do know “Empty Nest” is not an appropriate title for this story but somehow it’s the first word that came into my mind after writing. Words like ‘vagabond’, ‘vagrant’ and ‘wandering’ are too cliched`.  How about ‘A Vagabond’s Refuge’?

25 thoughts on “Finally Home – a flash fiction

  1. It’s going to dip way below freezing here where I live tonight. I worry about the homeless people even as I turn up my heat and snuggle under a blanket. It is a shame that everyone is not cared for. This is a very poignant story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your worry is genuine. They do suffer for real, though they have greater resilience than us as they learn ways to survive for as long as they can. We here do some charity work and distribute woolens. But no effort is enough till stronger measures are taken by the govt/s in every country.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Your wish sounds so genuine! Being ‘homeless’ is a strange concept, as even birds and animals have homes. A simple shelter is a basic need, a place to spend night, and to keep one’s family cosy.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Alka, never easy to write stories in such few words and I agree flash fiction forces us and makes us think and grind to get there, the place where we can put the thoughts only with few words. It is like a stitching a shirt with half the clothe to cover the body, it is mind game to play with handcuffed and leg tied…

    The very thought that is home for homeless, is itself a wonderful beginning to the story and a place the homeless makes a living by earning through his little left passion for singing and sharing his music of life that is worn and deserted. They have no destination and they have no address and they have no friends, they are there in some place and they are not there is the same. The irony of their life. Who is there to care for them when they go away they have no such thought dragging and haunting them…they have nothing to lose and they nothing to give back to the society, they are waiting and waiting for society to give them something to latch on live their life.

    Yes Alka, there are so many good souls around us in the society and they always come forward to offer they bunch of flower to allow the soul to rest in peace…indeed it is “Empty Nest”…the title is apt and have a beautiful end of giving…
    😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well said about short stories and flash fiction, that their brevity and depth work together to have impression on us. It all comes spontaneously. Often I tell myself not to write stories as I started this blog for non-fiction.

      I’m touched by your every line you wrote in that para , “makes a living by earning through his little left passion for singing and sharing his music of life that is worn and deserted”…and “no destination and they have no address and they have no friends, they are there in some place and they are not there is the same”. But they have nothing to lose…
      In fact the whole paragraph portrays the true inner plight of homeless people. Yes, as you say, at least a few people will always be caring come what may. In my story the protagonist is inspired by the person who left a bouquet. So who knows…our smallest step may end up inspiring others
      Thanks for your views, Nihar. I can see you read the story astutely to derive deeper meanings.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Indeed Alka, stories are such fascinating part of life and everyday we come across stories around us and we all have our stories to write and short stories are like munching a packet of salty and sweet crispy stuff, we love every bite of it and we cannot stop eating and there are not enough stuff to make us satisfied at the end and we look for more and good stories takes us through a similar experience and there are so many stories but we have get inspired by few and it is the inspiration that makes us take a step forward and take step in the different direction in life, otherwise life becomes routine and we get stuck in the daily grind.

        The focus of blog whether to be on fiction or on non-fiction is always a challenge we have so many sources and we have both form of stories striking us, we get into the dilemma where to stand and how much drift from the chosen focus of writing.

        This story of yours was a true inspiration…
        😀

        Like

  3. A must read story.you didn’t directly reveal the death of the person,the young guy leaving a bouquet adds a beautiful touch.seeing the bench empty everytime the writer remembers the person.
    we cross so many people like this in our life.we don’t bother about their world in our busy lives.this story is a real eye -opener.
    your story has not only inspired to help but also to write.keep writing,keep inspiring.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My apologies I overlooked your valuable comment.
      Thank you so much! I’m glad you liked the story and understood its essence. It is true. We do come across many such people and pass by them in a hurry. Mild guilt crosses our heart but we get over it.
      Less or more, I will keep writing till inspiration strikes!

      Like

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