Breathe

This flash/poem (if there is such a thing) is dedicated to my friend Charli, who in her grief for the recent loss of her best friend asked us to write a 99 word Flash Fiction about a breathless moment, to write about life.

View from Tower Bridge, London, of the River Thames with The Shard to the left  and the Post Office Tower in the far distance. Early evening, June 2015 (c) Sherri Matthews

View from Tower Bridge, London, of the River Thames with The Shard to the left
and the Post Office Tower in the far distance.
Early evening, June 2015
(c) Sherri Matthews

 Breathe

“There is no other,” he lied.

My eyes blaze. A question.

“Do I know this to be true?”

There it is, the answer in the swiftness of his downward glance before he attempts to speak.

But I turn from his feigned sorrow to gaze upon the sun-seared final remnants of another lost day.

Mindless grief tumbles like the dark waters below into wrecked acceptance, and I want to scream of his betrayal, to announce it with a herald far above the rumbling skies.

Instead, I walk into the troubled night knowing that in the morning, I shall breathe again.

About Sherri Matthews

Sherri has been writing full time since 2011. Currently working on her memoir, 'Stranger in a White Dress', she has been published in a variety of national magazines, websites and three anthologies. Sherri raised her three, now adult children, in California for twenty years and today, lives in England’s West Country with her hubby, Aspie youngest, two cats, a grumpy bunny and a family of Chinese Button Quails. She keeps out of mischief blogging, gardening, walking by the sea and snapping endless photographs. Her garden robin muse vists regularly.
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65 Responses to Breathe

  1. Sue says:

    Well penned, Sherri 🙂

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  2. Flash/poem. I like that. Excellent flash. I love that she will breathe again once it’s morning. That she needs that time to walk headfirst into the troubled darkness before she can truly take a “well” breath. This line is stunning: “sun-seared final remnants of another lost day”. Beautiful.

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    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much Sarah. I felt it was more poem than anything else, since I wrote this in the first person – which is how I tend to use expression in a poem – but I’m glad you read it as a piece of fiction, a story told about ‘her’ betrayal and how she walked into her new morning on the other side. Another dawn, another day to breathe 🙂

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  3. Beautiful, Sherri. Well done!
    I know you were dying to tell him to “Shut your cake hole.” 🙂 xo

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  4. Such a wonderful way with words you have Sherri. This one gave me shivers as I read it to the end.

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  5. Amy says:

    I like the last line, … I shall breathe again.:) Well done, Sherri!

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  6. elisa ruland says:

    Very nice writing, Sherri. The accompanying photo is lovely as well.

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  7. Well done, Sherri. Especially the line “…in the morning I shall breathe again.” To get through the dark nights, it’s a wonderful reminder. I’m sorry for your friend’s loss.

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    • Sherri says:

      Yes, knowing of those times when we have no choice but to face trouble, walk into it with all the courage we can muster and even though we see only darkness at first, we come through the other side to meet the light of our new morning. Thank you so much for your lovely comment Marylin.

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  8. That was brilliant Sherri, and fitted so well to the image 🙂

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  9. I love this, Sherri, and your beautiful photo too. I just read Charli’s post and the comments. How very sad to lose a dear friend, but how wonderful to be there for her, until the very last breath. xx

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  10. That photograph is as stunning as the images conjured up by your words – Talent overload Ms Matthews!! xoxo

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  11. Oh, Sherri, I’ve been there too. You describe the dark place perfectly.

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  12. restlessjo says:

    Great piece of writing, Sherri! My hackles rose… and fell! Wonderfully moody photo completes it. 🙂

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    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much Jo…and glad your hackles fell at the end! The photo (taken on the day that we met Damian Lewis last month) inspired me! I was so glad to be able to stop and capture the skyline as we walked across Tower Bridge just as the day grew to a close. Love London 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Sherri such a beautiful piece. Sorry about your friend. Stunning image by the way.

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  14. Wow, this is a powerful piece, Sherri. Well written for such a short thing! And your photo of London is gorgeous. You know I’m not one for cities, but the light contrast and the Thames glistening… Beautiful.

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    • Sherri says:

      This is what was on my heart and so I felt it was more poem than flash fiction, which is a first with a word limit, but the photo inspired! Thank you so much Jenny Jen Jen…have a lovely weekend and I’ll be in touch asap 🙂

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  15. jennypellett says:

    Yes! Good one. Loved the photo too. Was there on Monday, amongst the hoards 😀

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  16. This short poem captures so much and says it so well. I feel for your friend. It’s a sad thing to lose a treasured friend.

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  17. London is looking lovely in the dusk and your wonderfully restrained poem has reminded me of a recent song I heard called “I’m Not The Only One” by Sam Smith.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I’m sorry about your friend, but you have constructed a very nice poem with lots of emotional pull. It’s wonderful.

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  19. Charli Mills says:

    I’m breathless with tears, that last line is hope eternal. Each day at the hospital when I thought I couldn’t do another night, morning arrived. Thank you for this! Thank you for your encouraging words and big, warm heart! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Pingback: Breathless « Carrot Ranch Communications

  21. Norah says:

    Oh, Sherri, the darkness of discovery and betrayal. She knew, but she wished it were not true. Now that she knows she can move on, and breathe again the freshness of a new tomorrow. So beautifully and poetically told.

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  22. Mabel Kwong says:

    Brilliant flash, Sherri. Well crafted and as the others have said, poetic indeed. Such a sad story about betrayal and being stabbed in the back…yet also one about letting go and moving on as tomorrow comes. I think we’ve all been there at some point. Very sorry to hear about your friend and I hope things pick up for her soon, and very nice of you to write her something. I’m sure she appreciates it a lot. You are so kind for doing that 🙂 ❤

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    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much Mabel, I am touched by your comment and in your sharing of how this poem spoke to you. This means a great deal to me. Thank you too for your kind wishes for Charli. She sets the weekly flash fiction challenges which I so enjoy, but this week the tone was different and the photo inspired. Always a pleasure to hear from you… 🙂 ❤

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  23. Pingback: Free-For-All Friday #21 | Edwina's Episodes

  24. Such beautiful words Sherri, and such a wonderful photo as well. Both your poetry and photography are excellent and I’d admire you for writing a piece of flash poetry which tells such a story. Did I say I had a tear in my eye after reading your wonderful piece of poetry?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Oh Hugh, I am deeply touched by your lovely words, thank you so much. I’m sorry you had a tear, I hope for the right reasons. Poetry is a deeper form of expression and the photo inspired me to go with the flow. Writing is full of surprises isn’t it?

      Changing the subject, and in case I don’t get over to you today (am on the run today, a wedding to attend later and last week was chokka, so once again behind) to let you know that Claire said she will be in on Monday. After that, she will have to check the rota which isn’t up yet to see which days she will definitely be there and will of course let me know! I can’t wait for you to meet her! See you soon Hugh and meanwhile, have a lovely weekend 🙂 xx

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      • Hi Sherri, yes, the tear was for good reasons. Although I don’t read much poetry, I certainly agree with what you say about it.

        I am back in Hove now but ,unfortunately, won’t be able to make it on Monday. I’m in Hove until 11th August, so if we could squeeze in the cup cake shop visit before then, that would be great. However, if Claire is not available to see me before then, then it’s no problem at all. We’ll be back in Hove around August 26th, so I can always do the visit once the schools have gone back 🙂

        I look forward to meeting you next Saturday at the Bloggers Bash. 🙂 It’s gearing up to be a splendid day.

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      • Sherri says:

        Hi again Hugh, and that’s no problem at all. I’ll see what days off Claire has before August 11th as soon as she gets her rota and we can go from there! But if not then, there is plenty of time later on in the early autumn. Those lemon curd cupcakes will be there waiting for you when you’re ready, any time of the year 🙂 You are busy with your many travels, how lovely!
        I’m glad your tear was for good reasons, and I am even more thankful to you for reading my poetry, even though it’s just something I write now and then when the mood takes me but I would never describe myself as a true poet.
        I look forward to seeing you too Hugh, so excited!! I’ll be over to your blog if not later this evening, then tomorrow in the morning to catch up 🙂

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  25. I have never heard of flash fiction before – this is beautiful. I think I will give it a try.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Hello Mary-Anne, thank you so much for your lovely comment. I love writing flash fiction. Charli runs the challenge over at Carrot Ranch every week, 99 words, deadline in by Tuesday at 4pm PST. I am a memoir, creative non-fiction and poetry writer. It is through writing flash that I have gained confidence to explore the world of fiction. It is a wonderful exercise in tight writing. Do give it a try, I look forward to reading your work 🙂

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  26. That’s very powerful Sherri, I love the ‘sun-seared remnants’ and I also love the strength at the end coming from acceptance and the ability to breathe again.

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  27. I am so sorry about Charli’s loss. How painful it must be for her to lose her best friend. 😦 Beautiful poem written by you with healing words. xoxo

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  28. Marie Keates says:

    Beautifully written

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  29. Ohh, scary good! You really know how to grab your audience and once again leaves me longing for more!! And yes after grief we do breathe again but we are never the same. My condolences to Charli. xoxoxo ❤

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  30. My condolences as well to your friend, Charlie. I think losing a best friend can be the hardest. You did a lovely job with that story. A woman’s intuition will always tell her the truth even when being lied to. You wrote that like you know that. Hugs to you my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much Marlene, for your kind words for Charli and also for my story. Really appreciate it. I find when writing poems like this (if it can be called a poem, hence my made up version of a flash/poem!) I can get away with making up a story but using an undercurrent of truth. You are so right about women’s intuition. And sadly, betrayal takes many forms. Hugs back to you my friend, have a lovely day 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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