Friday Fictioneers

An Honorable Discharge

When two became five in 1974, you learned the drill quick, took it all in your stride. (When nappies became diapers, you stormed that bridge too.) A real trooper, said your husband – briefcase under his arm, car keys around a forefinger, blowing you a kiss. Grade school to high school, training wheels to parking passes, ABCs to SATs: a military operation, second to none. Then one quiet morning (in mid-1995), you stand at attention by the sink, watching dust motes twirling in empty space, two eggs boiling dry in a pan, and you realize: there’s nothing left to guard.


Friday Fictioneers


17 thoughts on “An Honorable Discharge

  1. Pingback: The Changing of the Guards – Friday Fictioneers | Being the Memoirs of Helena Hann-Basquiat, Dilettante.

  2. You did a great job of tracing a life, got the military metaphor, and excellent use of covering lots of time with few words. Wonderful! I’m left wondering whether she’s all alone–children and husband gone–which would be sad or if the children are grown up and she doesn’t have to guard them any more in the way parents guard their children, which would be the natural order. Each gives a different feeling at the end.


  3. Pass me some of that Faulknerian shit, rolled tight, and screw the military stuff. 1974 will never come again – and the dust motes are real – even ’95 has come and gone – and nobody cares – except maybe you – and me.
    Thanks for the surreal.. Randy

  4. Dear Xandra,

    A beautiful description of how one can lose themselves in their children and have not much left in the empty nest phase of life. Perfect title for a well crated piece.



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