Fiction Life

The Conversation

This story is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to any person or place is unintentional.

“I don’t know who I am” the young boy said.

“Why? Do you have amnesia? Do you remember your name?”

“You don’t understand. Nobody does. “

“Listen kid, I do understand. You might be making things more complicated than they need to be. You’re still a kid – you have lots of time to figure out who you are. Hell, some of us are still trying to figure it out in our seventies. There’s no deadline, no quiz at the end. You figure it out as you go along and until then, just be you.”

“That’s the point, I don’t know who I am, I’m different from other people.”

“That’s the beauty of the world – we’re all different. Yet we’re all the same. Just be yourself – focus on being who YOU want to be and never mind trying to fit other people’s idea of who you should be.”

“I get teased at school and called name. Once I got beat up on the way home. The girls understand – they treat me like I’m just one of their girlfriends, but I get picked on almost every day by bullies.”

“Bullies are bullies. They act that way because you threaten them – by being different. That’s where racism comes from and all those religious wars throughout history. Some people think different is bad. Bullies will pick on people for being too short, too fat, too black, too anything that isn’t like them. Heck, in some countries they have a vendetta against people with red hair.”

“You’re not like most people your age. Most of your generation is the worst.”

“I always thought racism and hatred was a learned behaviour. Can you believe I never saw a black person until I was 11? Tells you what kind of community I grew up in. I wasn’t racist though – mostly curious. I was the same way when I met my first gay person when I was 20. I was curious. I never understood why people got so upset at others being different. They always say put yourself in other people’s shoes. Well, how would we feel if we were white in a predominately black country and we were treated that way.

“Treat others as you would like to be treated. That’s what my mother taught me. She didn’t say only if they’re white, and tall, and thin, and blond, and straight.

“And let me share a little secret with you kid – the most famous or successful people are those who dare to be different, who embrace who they are 100%, that rise above the others. Those bullies at school? Most of them will end up being losers in life. Look at Gandhi, Mandela, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Howie Mandel, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ruth Bader-Ginsberg. And that’s just a few.”

“Yeah but they weren’t gay. I wish I wasn’t gay.”

“And I wish I wasn’t 72. Wish all you want but you are what you are. Sometimes you just don’t have a choice. I used to wonder about that; whether people were born gay or whether they chose to be gay, or even if something happened to make them gay.”

“What did you decide?”

“I decided it didn’t matter. I decided to accept people as they are. As long as it doesn’t affect me, why should I care? Live and let live and all that stuff.

“Besides, being gay isn’t the end of the world. Look at musicians like Elton John and Freddie Mercury, CEOs like Tim Cook, chef Ted Allen, and let’s not even start talking about designers like Giorgio Armani and Adolpho. Do you really want to be like everyone else? Or do you want to be happy to be completely yourself. Spend your time figuring out who you are and be that. Don’t waste time trying to be like everyone else.”

“I guess you do understand, sort of.”

“I don’t need to understand. I just need to accept people for who they are, like you should. And start by accepting yourself – as you are. And anytime you need reminding, here’s my name and number. Call me. I’ll listen.”  


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This post by Suzette Seveny is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Summer’s End

This story is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to any person or place is unintentional.

The summer had drawn to a close, much like the remnants of my previous life. I had spent the hot, humid days packing up my house in Georgia and moving across the country. It wasn’t quite like “Go west, young man”, more like “Go anywhere but here, young woman”, and so I’d gone north, to start again.

I was starting this leg of my journey alone. I’d lost my husband, Bryan, in the early spring from COVID-19 and it has taken me this long to manage all that I had to deal with – the estate, the funeral, selling the house and buying a new one. Somewhere else. Somewhere without Bryan. Somewhere without memories.

I was an only child, and I lost my parents six years ago. Bryan and I had never been blessed with children, so after he passed away, I realized that I was truly alone, for the first time in my life.

The days were getting shorter now and the leaves on the maple tree in in the front yard of my new house were turning a vibrant shade of orange. I’d missed that, living in Georgia – the changing of the seasons; the changing of life. Of losing one thing but gaining something new. Even the sunsets were becoming more vibrant, a rich mosaic to accompany the dying sun, followed by hauntingly blue hues of the rising moon. A flock of geese in V formation flew overhead, heading south, honking out their farewell message.

Life was changing, there was no doubt about that. From Georgia to Boston, the scenery was as different as day and night. Fall was a season of preparation – since the beginning of time, the turning of leaves has signified the start of winter preparations. My ancestors gathered supplies to get them through the long, cold winters in northern Quebec, chopping wood for wood stoves, making quilts, salting meat, and preparing jars of preserves to sustain them. They even saved pig fat for oil lamps and candles to light the way on those dark cold nights.

I have been gathering and preparing as well. I have gathered all of my strength and seldom allow myself to wallow in self-pity. I’d left behind a career in corporate finance and taken a chance on opening a small gift shop. I know it’s going to take some time to feel at home in my new community, but I have an idea that might help me get to know the people in my neighbourhood.

With Hallowe’en approaching, I’ve overheard people talking about how nervous they are about letting their children go out trick or treating, so I decided to open my shop as a drop off location for treats. I’ll use my own gift bags and create little grab bags for different ages of children, and then instead of having to go door to door on October 31st, parents can bring their children by the shop to collect a gift bag full of treats from all their neighbours. That would also let parents go out with their children instead of having to stay home and shell out.

I’ll need a costume of course, something memorable. I just remembered I had a serving wench costume that I haven’t worn in years. I’ll wear it this year while I’m serving treats to children and spiked hot chocolate to parents. That will be memorable, right?

Bryan and I had loved Hallowe’en, and we’d always made our front yard look like a cemetery. We used to go to parties dressed like famous (or infamous) couples – Sony and Cher one year, Bonnie and Clyde the next. Continuing the tradition this year will be a great way to remember my time with him, bittersweet though the memories will be.

Time to get busy – there are flyers to make and then drop off at the houses in my community so people will know what I’m planning. This will be a great way to meet my neighbours!

I can hardly wait to get started!

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This post by Suzette Seveny is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



Life Pet Peeves

Pet Peeve #1

Today’s pet peeve is programs that scan your computer for one purpose or another – like your antivirus program or a disk utility program. Very few of them tell you how long it’s going to take and that is what peeves me.

I’m left sitting here wondering how long it’s going to take. Is it going to be 2 minutes or 20 minutes? Do I have time to start (or finish) something else while I’m waiting? As our disk drives are getting larger (and fuller), scans are taking longer and longer. Even those useless progress bars are better than nothing, but still useless. They take forever to finish less than halfway, then you blink and it’s at 100%.

It must be a fairly simple mathematical equation. Since it should know approximately how long it takes to scan 100 MB for example, it should be able to see the size of the drive and estimate a time for completion.

And while we all hate generic messaging (causing us to just go glassy-eyed and click OK without reading), why not make messages more relevant? Here’s some ideas:

Now might be a good time to get a coffee.
Do you have a dog? Now might be a good time for a walk.
No dog? Are you sure you don’t need a shower?
Morning: See you when you get home from work.
Evening: Have you heard how important 8 hours of sleep is?

There! I’ve shared my idea with the universe, so in the words of Jean Luc Picard,

“Make it so!”

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This post by Suzette Seveny is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.