After afterwards

It’s after afterwards.
All is still and silent; memories have skin of frost.

He had waited by her side; first through sickness and later by her headstone,

They had been happy once beside the sea. They planned for family, they dreamt of everything, of years and growing old together.

But they never planned for nightmares of her paraplectic comatose.

Until he whispered:
“Take her off the life-support. ”

He always said she listened and that she waited too. She claimed that she’d forgiven DUI.

I doubt that they’re together now. That’s why we left his empty chair and spread the ash.

I’m partially back to writing again. I will do my best returning visits but after an eye operation I tire easily.

If you are interested in my poetic plans, you can read an interview on Poetry United.

Friday Fictioneers is the site for hundred word fictions where we write stories to the same image under the guidance of Rochelle.

April 26, 2017

94 responses to “After afterwards

  1. Dear Björn,

    Such a sad tale. I was a little confused by the last line, however. There’s the husband and another ‘he?’ Was she having an affair? Well written, nonetheless. I’m happy to see you back among us.



  2. When a loved one is taken prematurely (and violently), most of us have a really hard time forgiving those we hold responsible. The final gestures of the survivors make a lot of sense to me. It’s harsh, but so understandable.

  3. The first two lines are gorgeous.

    The way I read this, and I have read it several times, I intuit that he blames himself for her first death (the accident and coma) and for her second death (pulling the plug on her). But the empty chair and ashes (which I perceive as being his) make me think he killed himself afterwards. The sentence “I doubt that they’re together now” makes me think they’re both dead, but in different places … as if he’s in sort of a limbo because he and she never reconciled their feelings adequately enough. Now maybe it’s too late. Or maybe not; only they know.

    I wonder who the speaker is. It could be anyone: a close family member, one of their children, or even an eavesdropping nurse.

      • I wonder whose forgiveness he’s looking for, though — hers, his kids’, society’s, or most likely his own. I think forgiveness is sometimes hardest to give to yourself — especially when you lost something/someone you really loved because of whatever happened.

  4. This is surreal. I have just completed a poem entitled “All is still” and I came across to read your piece.. and there I see the phrase. Wow!
    It’s great to have you back, Bjorn You have been missed.

  5. Good to have you back, I had to look up DUI, otherwise I read the story in the way Shawna described.

  6. I wondered why you’d been taking a break. Glad the op is over and done with. The writing will get cheerier when you’re feeling better 🙂 Sad and tragic little story.

  7. This is haunting, Björn. It’s good to see you writing regularly again — and I send you my best wishes for continued speedy healing.

  8. Oh dear gods – the end (realizing he was the one DUI, but she was the one who paid the price for it) was heartbreaking. I didn’t see them as being together because his ghost is now haunting the part of the road where he killed both their dreams.

  9. A beautifully written return… After afterwards… Do take it easy and allow yourself to heal. Welcome back!

  10. oh my dear. this… thissss clenches the heart. love this line: “first through sickness and later by her headstone.”

    I hope you will heal soon!

  11. I think he will take a long time to forgive himself, if ever. Causing death under the influence is a crime that most people find hard to forgive, but if you’re the perpetrator, and the victim is someone you love, that will get the hamster-wheel of shame, full-on regrets, and what-ifs playing and replaying into infinity.

  12. Welcome back, Bjorn. Always enjoy your work, chills and all. I’m just wondering about the “we.” Not children, it sounds like they never got that far. His chair beside her tombstone leads me to think it had been quite a while since her “second death.” There seems to be a lot of depth this week.

  13. Memories have skin of frost ! I love this line. Wow. Great sad tale here Bjorn. His guilt seems to have stayed long after. She might gave forgiven him but it sounds like others won’t

  14. I’ve been reading your work for a long time, and I think this is one of your best so far. Can’t put my finger on just why, but it spoke to me.

  15. So many afterwards there. I love this, it’s heartbreaking. She won’t have forgiven, nor would he. I hope you get well soon.

  16. Such a tragic tale and a tragic decision to have to make. To say it was the best thing to do is no comfort, but everything has to end – even the thing we love the most.

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