Sail Away

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot


It was taking so long.

His uncle had instructed him to not leave the hall till he returned. He knew better than to defy the order.

He circled the room and looked at the paintings. He imagined conversations among sailors on the merchant ships, between soldiers on the frigates. He polished the marble counter with his sleeve. When he tired, he sat against a lamppost and pretended it was a smokestack.

The hall echoed emptiness.

He was getting cold. He was growing hungry. He needed to pee.

Only when night fell did he finally cry.

His uncle had sailed away.



For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

29 thoughts on “Sail Away

    • Yes. Very. Sadly this is still a reality for some children in some places, and even to some of the children I’d worked with, who were abandoned (whether their caregivers chose to not return or were prevented from returning for them). It is always a heartbreak and every separation after that is traumatic.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Beautifully written but what a heartbreaking story, you’ve captured the emotions so well.

    A minor suggestion that can save you 2 words if you change “When he tired, he sat” to just “Tired, he sat”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for the comment, and for the suggestion. As it happens I think I’ll keep it as is, because for me these extra words lend a ‘stretch’ to the passage of time where doing all that waiting had gradually tired him, versus a realization of becoming tired and sitting. Of course, it may be more a tone than a difference in semantic meaning. Nonetheless a good suggestion if I’d needed to cut words more. As it happens, I was just okay with these two words in. I appreciate the idea, though! 🙂 Na’ama


    • Yes. And some children alas do endure. Whether because the adult abandoned them willfully or because circumstances – political, medical, accidental – created tragedies where adults who wants to return could not, and the children remained stranded, in effect, waiting for someone who did not come. 😦 Na’ama

      Liked by 1 person

    • Alas over history similar abandonments had taken place–and still do, in some places. Then there are those tragic cases where one intends to return but does not, be it because of political unrest or corruption that create separations that are no less devastating to the children who wait and wait and wait for someone’s return. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sad story that is repeated too often around the world. The uncle could have met an untimely end or was in an accident & whisked away, but his telling to stay put. Don’t leave. Sounds more like planned abandonment.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, repeated too often, and for all manner of reasons: perhaps it was a planned abandonment, perhaps like you said, he had every intention to return but was prevented from doing so or met disaster. For a child, the end result is a tragedy either way. Thank you for the comment!


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