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"One Man's Gates," short story excerpt

Wednesday 8/18/21

The man tried to find his voice, as the ghost waited. It had failed him, flown away like a flock of birds that had to leave that very afternoon, at the latest, or else never make it to the south.


“She looked so small to me, as she stood and spoke. She looked like she did the first time I saw her, my first child. You remember the first thing you think when you see your first child. Whether it’s silly, stupid, embarrassing. But you’re never embarrassed by it, even if you would be were it anything else that conjured the same words. Do you know what I thought that first time in the hospital? I thought, ‘She is so small. She is a flake of golden light that I can fit in my hand, and God himself could not crack open my fist, if it means that harm will come to her.’ That’s what I thought. And I thought it again as she said what she did on that day as an adult. How small she was. Smaller, it seemed, than some of her words. How I could fit her in my hand, still. And that golden flake of light spoke the last words I would hear."