KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 9: Spring 2018
Flash Fiction: 515 words

Things Have Dropped From Me

by Tim Hawkins
—For Marianne Edwards

And, like Virginia Woolf, I too have outlived certain desires...and I too have lost friends. One gorgeous, halcyon friendship in particular with a young woman whose face elicits a flood of rain-filled streets I was not then afraid to cross. I have that face not only emblazoned in memory, but also inscribed into a dozen sketch pads, for she often sat for me on a stool near the window where the raging moonlight flooded my studio apartment. One night, in particular, she read aloud from The Waves as I sketched.

We were both alone and new to the city. We lived across the hall and slipped passages of mad scribbling under one another’s doors at daylight, flushed and feverish from a night’s work. She was a real poet, and I was just beginning to feel I had earned the right to call myself a painter. This friend was one of the few I trusted to cast a critical eye at my work. How I painted to please that eye! And wrote atrocious poems for that sleep-filled eye, and met its gaze peering over a coffee cup at me, and later looked and looked for it in a crowd at some of my early shows, and later in the posh and trendy galleries. But I lost that friend because she made a simple gesture I could not return.

Several years after we both moved out of the city, she dedicated her first book of poetry to me. Instead of sending an instant thank you or making a long-distance call, I began to believe I had to make a grand gesture in return; a gesture not just of thanks, but something that would make me worthy of her gesture. Why? Because I was a struggling painter and a young wife and had received no accolades, only the kind reassurance of her clear eye and unvarnished opinions. So, I put off responding until I had made my own success. In the interim I invented all kinds of scenarios—we were Picasso and Gertrude Stein in a famous feud; we were bound to run into one another one day; I was going to dedicate my first show to her. But we weren’t really feuding and I didn’t have my first show for another ten years; my modest success came rather late. I never spoke to her again.

Her gorgeous life gradually loosened and dropped silently from mine. When I heard that she had died, the grief was only incrementally more than I’d felt each time I thought of her in the last 35 years. To give this tragedy some meaning, I now tell myself there are some friends, people whom one wants to preserve in memory as one remembers them, changeless, smiling, young and fearless. These are friends one wishes to never grow old, so one kills them young and they die full of glory. This is what I wish to believe so that my behavior has some semblance of reason—as if reason ever justified killing the thing you love.


—A monologue from the author’s play-in-progress, with the working title of The Backstage Soliloquies

Tim Hawkins
Issue 9, Spring 2018

has poems and other writings published in a number of notable print and online venues, including Blueline, Dogzplot, Eclectica, Iron Horse Literary Review, The Literary Bohemian, The Midwest Quarterly, and The Pedestal Magazine, among many others. His work has been nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize, including in 2017 by KYSO Flash for his poem Elegy Within Earshot of Howling, which is also reprinted in the 2017 KYSO Flash anthology, A Trembling of Finches. In 2012, Aldrich Press published his first collection of poetry, Wanderings at Deadline.

Hawkins has lived and traveled widely throughout the Americas and Southeast Asia, where he has worked as a journalist, technical writer, and teacher in international schools. He currently lives in his hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Find out more about his writing and read some of his work at:

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