The Things You Lose



“I left my baby at the trolley stairs.”

She’d been saying things like that all day. Talking about some man named John who went to war, and now this strangeness about a baby.

The things you leave behind always stay the same in your mind. It’s the things you keep, you lose.

“Grandma, you don’t have a baby.”

I stroked the back of her ancient hand and listened to the beeps and footsteps and soft voices of the hospital. It wouldn’t be long.

Her rheumy eyes opened and found me. “Who are you?”

“It’s me, Katie.”

Her eyes turned sharp. “The things you leave behind always stay the same in your mind. It’s the things you keep, you lose.”

This has been an edition of the Friday Fictioneers, hosted by the talented Rochelle Wisoff Fields. This week’s photo courtesy Amy Reese. To read more 100-word flash fiction or to submit your own, click the blue froggy button:

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Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Profoundly true. I enjoyed this, and had to reflect on the last line for a short while. Well done.

  2. Excellent. I love the last paragraph especially. Taut and vibrant.

  3. Dear Karen,

    Gripping, gritty and achingly tragic. The last line pierces the heart.



  4. Another sad story – lots of them for this week’s prompt! – but really beautifully written. Such truth in those final sentences, too.

  5. This is like my mother… the last line really touched me…

  6. I feel like an echo here, because that last line hit me hard too.
    Excellent piece.

  7. peterkirsch

    “The things you leave behind always stay the same in your mind. It’s the things you keep, you lose.”
    Where’d you come up with that one?
    Very well put.

    1. Peter-You never know what’ll show up when you sit down and write 😉
      Some days diamonds, most days stones.

  8. That’s one of those final lines that stays with you for a while – well written Karen.

  9. Amazing last line, it will stay with me.

  10. I dare to be unoriginal: the last line is a killer. The whole story is good and very moving though.

  11. Ditto about the last line! Isn’t it grand when so many people appreciate the same thing in a story you’ve written? It’s then that you know you really got it right. Kudos to the whole story.

    1. I’m glad you liked it Alicia. It’s something I’ve been thinking about and it’s surprising and delightful to see how much it resonates.

  12. Poor Grandma. But still a wise lady. The last sentence was brilliant. Great job!

  13. This brought a tear to my eye. Just beautiful and so sad that she’d lost her love to war, her baby to the morals of the time and her last moments they were coming to get her. It is true that those things that you leave behind remain unchanged and so sad she doesn’t remember the ones that stayed. Loved this.

    1. Thanks so much for the kind words!

  14. What a hauntingly beautiful story. So true. And so tragic. 😔

  15. That last line is really intense.
    Great story.

  16. I think we all know someone like that and it is always so sad.


  17. Karen, this is gorgeous! That last line is perfect, and sadly too true. Loved this!

  18. Grandma still has her wits if not her memory. Great last line (I read it through a couple of times!). Great story.

  19. […] The first is a line taken from a short story written by fellow blogger K Rawson. The story is titled The Things You Lose. […]

  20. JED

    Chills – is all I have to say. It gave me chills. Wonderful..

  21. Dale

    Oh! Straight to the heart. I felt her pain at remembering that part. I reiterate everyone’s comments on that killer last line.

  22. Great piece, Karen. My father had dementia his last few years. This hit close to home.

  23. The last line is gold. All the writing beautiful.

  24. The piece is so intriguingly open to interpretation. What or who did she leave behind? Who did she lose? Imagine having this on your mind at the moment she did, even through the dementia. Very good piece.

  25. That’s a deep though cleverly portrayed. Love it.

  26. I love how you’ve given Grandma such a profound insight. In the midst of her confusion comes a real gem.

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