As close to an honest story as I'm capable of. #flashfiction #shortstory https://t.co/wlp2YyEJw3 https://t.co/blT4yyxljz (2 days ago)

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Apr
18

empty spaces

Let’s talk about empty spaces shall we?

As a side note, whenever I read something where there writer says things like “Shall we?” I want to punch them right in their pretentious mouth so if you’ll give me a minute I would like to punch myself in the mouth.

Done and done.

Not sure what the second done is all about but I’ve heard the expression used in these types of situations so I refuse to apologize.

Anyway, empty spaces. The truth is I’m the guy you see at the mall looking into the store that went out of business. I’m sure you always assume there is a good reason that this person, or me, is peering inside but there really isn’t. I just consider it a way to mourn the death of a person’s business. You could even say the death of person’s dream. I’m just paying my respects.

I stand there and imagine the first day it opened. The excitement of it all. I imagine customers walking through it. I can almost picture them on a typical day. Ghosts of shoppers past. The silent hustle and bustle of the holiday crowds.

And then the quiet realization that the store can’t keep going.

Then the final time the steel security gate was pulled down.

The finality of it all.

I can only imagine the hurt of having to walk by it if you are the former owner. If it were me I would move far away so I wouldn’t have to keep having to be reminded of my retail failure.

All of this is what’s going through my head as I stare into the empty store.

I’ve had policemen come and ask me to move along when I’ve pulled this trick with empty houses.

Walking around outside and looking through all the windows and imagining all the dinners and nights watching TV and heartaches and triumphs that make up the lives of a family living in a house. I close my eyes and can almost hear the laughter and tears.

Almost.

Now it’s all shadows and stillness. Couches longing to be sat on and tables holding bowls and silverware like a painting. Houses that are empty always seem a little more than just empty. They seem hollow. Especially when you consider how many people would love to live in a house and yet don’t.

I guess you could say the same thing about an empty store. Most people have an idea for a product or service they think they could sell and would love to have a spot in a mall to sit and peddle their ass off. I’ve never imagined myself sitting in the middle of an empty store behind a table filled with Lance Manion books but you can bet I will now. With a big sign behind me saying “Book signing today!” and the store being just as devoid of buyers, as I sit and squirm in my embarrassment over nobody wanting a signed copy of my book. Sitting on a cheap folding chair as a final indignity.

And then I’m at the funeral home looking down at an old friend in a casket. But he is empty too. No lights on. Nobody home. I feel bitter that we ended our relationship badly and I never got the opportunity to punch him the mouth.

So I do.

As another side note, whenever I read something where there writer says something that ruins the mood because it’s completely unbelievable I want to punch them right in their lying mouth so if you’ll give me a minute I would like to again punch myself in the mouth.

Done and done.

This time I don’t feel so badly about repeating the word done. My mouth is now swelling on both sides so it seems appropriate.

I could apologize for dancing around a deep topic only to run away (like the coward I am) when it came time to make a point but somehow my words would feel a bit empty.

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