Peace – #Writephoto

In the end, I returned to the sanitarium. This time by choice and without the reams of commitment papers, the hustling of orderlies, and motherly coaxing of nurses. The baby-blue walls and polished linoleum shine with familiarity, and the bars feel less restrictive than I remember.

I wander the halls with a certain air of freedom, considering my state. The same doctors make rounds in their cliched white coats and spectacles. Clipboards hang on hooks bolted to metal doors, and fluorescent lights hum in group-counseling like a chorus of wasps.

Despite the harsh glare of the world inside these walls, I’d found healing here. It came with compassion, by listening to stories with a crack in my heart, by risking a touch, a tear, an act of kindness. Not toward me, but toward others. Healing wasn’t about banishing my demons, a goal that had led me astray for years. It was grounded in the audacity to love, and I’d found my courage like a tidal wave.

I pass through the locked doors into the yard, and no one minds. The heat doesn’t bother me anymore, nor the cold, though today’s a brilliant day. At the rear of the grounds, a leafy glade snuggles up against the stone wall separating us from a less forgiving world. It once was a place for smoking or sex, but cameras curbed that urge, and now a bench offers a place for solitude and reflection.

This place suits me, and I plan to stay. I could travel anywhere in the world I wish, but my calling is here. Alone on the bench, I wait.

A woman heads my way. She’s thin, her skin sallow and eyes so tired they appear bruised. One arm wraps her body, and fingers twitch on chapped lips. She doesn’t see me, but I witness a cloud of despair encasing her like a thunderhead and a soul as bright as the sun. She sits beside me, and I enclose her in my arms, sate her need for love and peace. I open a crack in her heart.

In doing so, I receive more than I give and begin to heal my last regret—that my life’s purpose manifested with such sublime clarity only upon my death.

**

Thanks to Sue Vincent for another wonderful Thursday Photo Prompt.

134 thoughts on “Peace – #Writephoto

  1. Bel says:

    Wow. This is solid writing. When I grow up I want to write like you ❤️ Like Neil Gaiman says about life and death – “It always ends that’s what gives it value.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful writing 🙏🏻

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A truly powerful piece, Diana. I couldn’t have guessed the ending either. What an incredible description of the woman, and I loved the “soul bright as the sun.” The photo is amazing too!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow. Such an amazing take on that photo. Well done, D. You had me there.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You got me. Up until that second to last paragraph, you completely got me. And I expect twists. You’re good. I was wondering where this was going, with that photo and your opening… It’s beautifully tragic (which you know I love). Gorgeous piece. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow, this is wonderful, Diana! Love the emotion in it, and the descriptions are vivid. I’ve been toying with the idea of writing flash fiction; I know who to read for examples 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. stevetanham says:

    I was drifting along, thinking how poignant the mood was, what with the idea of ‘return’ to a feared place, and smoking and sex… and then that ending cut me off at the… knees. x

    Liked by 1 person

  8. willowdot21 says:

    This is so beautiful, so sad and yet so joyful a soul set free by helping others. Soar high soul be free.💜

    Liked by 2 people

  9. A soul that finally finds peace. This was a lovely read, Diana 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This is really excellent, Diana. I really enjoyed your subtle hints of what was to come.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. frankhubeny says:

    I liked these lines which defined healing well: “Healing wasn’t about banishing my demons, a goal that had led me astray for years. It was grounded in the audacity to love”

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Jay says:

    Wow, you got a lot of depth out of that prompt!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. D. At the risk of sounding cliche, this FF is haunting, sincere and powerful.

    I’ve walked those halls, and shared those brief blazing moments within the folds of “audacity of love.” This piece brings to light a real cause for celebration that I often leave neglected. Serendipity, and providence kept me from sharing in your protagonists “last regret.”

    Thank you so much for this wonderful reminder- you beautiful, gifted writer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Gabe. I had to add that last little fantasy element because that’s what I do. In real life, it’s much much better if that last regret isn’t needed to reach a place of peace. And reason to celebrate for sure. I think sometimes the journey to a deep appreciation for the wonder and poignancy of life and love involve a seasons of darkness. It did for me. It cracks open our hearts. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Very true D. “… journey to deep appreciation for wonder and poignancy of life and love involve a season of darkness.”
        I hate how looong those seasons can be, but it’s (almost) worth it to enjoy the view from the other side.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. I didn’t see that one coming! What a beautiful piece.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. bpsenapati says:

    Twist in the end! Wonderful story, Diana! And lovely picture, dream to get such a beautiful place to write.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Beautifully done! Inspiring!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Annika Perry says:

    The sense of peace in this piece is intense; the woman’s peace and calm palpable. As she enters the sanitarium I questioned the lack of paperwork etc, but then pushed the questions away as irrelevant. Only towards the second to last paragraph did I glean the ending…wow. Beautifully written and portrayed, wonderfully touching. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  18. […] Continue reading: Peace – #Writephoto | Myths of the Mirror […]

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Joanne Sisco says:

    Such longing, while at the same time acceptance. Poignantly sweet and beautifully written.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Dawn D says:

    I relived some old memories… boy, your writing is great!
    Thank you for sharing this. Beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Wow. THAT’S why you’re a published superstar author. This was stunning.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. So poignant. I loved this.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Beautiful piece of flash fiction Diana! I’m so glad he found himself, even if as a ghost. I finally finished the Dragon Soul series earlier this week. What an epic series, and I loved all of them! I plan on writing reviews for you on Amazon when I find the time. I’ve started The Melding of Aeris now. Fascinating!

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Jennie says:

    Wow! Such a deeply moving story.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Such a beautiful story, Diana.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. A.S. Akkalon says:

    What a beautiful piece. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. hsampson says:

    Wow D! you have got such a magic with words, it is just brilliant, and the ending too! lol
    Thank you for taking me in a wonderful trip! Loved it!

    Liked by 1 person

  28. dgkaye says:

    Powerful piece Diana. I’ve read a few of these word prompts and it’s amazing the creativity with different stories writers imagine from the same prompt. 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Man, you pulled something pretty poignant and moving from just a photo of a bench. I am dazzled.

    Liked by 2 people

  30. Mae Clair says:

    Fabulous. I had a sense where you were heading and was rewarded in the end. This was beautiful and bittersweet at the same time. Bravo!!

    Liked by 2 people

  31. This touched me deeply, Diana. Your words penetrating, now reside in the tranquil beauty of my heart. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Healing was grounded in the audacity to love’ Very powerful line that sums up your story beautifully Diana.. Well done. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  33. Wow! Beautiful. I feel the peace. Thank you for sharing your gift of words.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Wow Diana. I thought you had lived it until the end. Incredibly powerful.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Teri Polen says:

    I can’t say it any better than the others, Diana – peaceful, profound, bittersweet. I had an inkling of the twist, but it didn’t lessen the impact.

    Liked by 2 people

  36. Wonderful piece, Diana. And well foreshadowed.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Beautifully written -as always. Nice twist at the end.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. balroop2013 says:

    Fantastic tale…your words go beyond fantasy Diana! Short and powerful!

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Wonderful, Diana. Very touching! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  40. Bittersweet yet peaceful.

    Liked by 1 person

  41. ghostmmnc says:

    Wonderful story! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  42. So poignant, Diana. Well done. Hugs.

    Like

  43. swalia says:

    Great message! The twist in the end was unexpected.

    Liked by 1 person

  44. A great twist at the end, Diana. Just lovely. 🙂 —- Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

  45. Bittersweet, but powerful. This one’s a keeper! 👍

    Liked by 1 person

  46. calmkate says:

    profoundly deep and moving

    Liked by 1 person

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