Short Prose

Week 4 – Short Short Letters


I keep thinking about that day, the Friday after mom was brought to the hospital, when we were all sitting in the little waiting room near the ICU listening to the resident doctor explain to us how poor the situation looked in regards to her recovery. I remember you, and me, grasping at hope when ever it managed to poke its head out even a little. I remember that look of fervent determination that you get, that you accredit to mom, that you really got from both of our parents. You wear determination in a way that is similar and different to both of them. I remember thinking that I needed to be strong for you, and now I realize that you were being strong for all of us. I was so distraught I could not even understand that you were the center of strength in the room. I was the vacant, detached, in denial wreck pretending that my behavior would give you strength. I want to thank you for all the questions you asked, all the fierce looks you gave, all the intense hugs you delivered, all the cries, the wales, the stories, and the tears.

Thank you for your strength. Thank you for being her daughter.



Dear Mom,

I miss you. You’d be proud if you saw how Kristin is handling things. I know you would have worried that she wouldn’t, but she has. She’s managed to be a calm center in all of the things going on since you left. Watching her is like watching you when you were a young woman.

I’m a wreck. I don’t sleep well. I see you everywhere I go. Memories of you and places I saw you have become so mixed up that some times I wonder if I am awake or not. Every day I drive through Tualatin and I see you at every shop, every street corner, every restaurant, every store, and every park I pass. When I leave, I see you on the freeway, clutching to my back as we drive to my place on my motorcycle. At home, I see you playing upstairs with Aage. Downstairs, I see you sitting in the dining room smiling and quietly listening to me tell endless stories. Going home to Sherwood is too intense. I’ve avoided the place ever since you were in the hospital. I still haven’t gone to your condo since you left. I want my last memory there to be that one armed hug I gave you when I dropped you off after a motorcycle ride.

Your loving son,


Dear Aage,

I am the all knowing, all seeing Daddy. Get your finger out of there.

Your loving helicopter parent,


4 thoughts on “Week 4 – Short Short Letters

  1. Jake, these are marvelous together. They really are. Moving from your child peer and admiring her, then to your mother and holding her again like that … and then to your child? Brilliant! Just lovely.

    • swarlos says:

      Thank you, Stephanie. I wrote another three short short pieces this week as well and they all ended up having a conversation with each other too. I guess I couldn’t keep my pieces from working off of each other. I’m glad you enjoyed them. Thank you for the kind words.

  2. Rachel Blume says:

    Jake, these pieces are really beautiful. I especially liked your letter. This was a very emotional writing exercise for me, and I imagine it what for you too. I think the idea of writing the person a letter was brilliant.

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