Wall Flower


Shoppers swirled through the market, ebbing and flowing and streaming and trickling and never stopping. Never silent. Not a pause.

Jiao wanted to crawl out of her skin.

Jiang’s head remained peacefully bowed over his scroll.

“Delicate like your name,” Grandmother would say, more reprimand than compliment.

For Jiao, the viscous Chi of others had always been an unwanted second skin. It weighed her down.

“Let it flow around and past you,” Jiang’s paintbrush danced undisturbed.

Easy, Jiao sighed, when you are the flow.

She tried to focus on the paints. The flowers. A quiet wall on which to hang.




Jiang – (male’s name) “river”

Jiao – (female’s name) “delicate, beautiful, charming”


For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

Photo prompt © Brenda Cox



35 thoughts on “Wall Flower

    • Indeed so! And it seems his name reflects that well, as does, perhaps, hers … Sometimes parents have an uncanny ability to name a newborn’s temperament, and sometimes I think the name also affects the baby/child’s perception of themselves and how the environment shapes them. We’re complicated beings, we humans are. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, and … I’m not sure she is competing as much as trying to survive her reality. And yet, perhaps you’d tapped into something I was not aware I put into the words – and maybe she had been, indeed, constantly compared (temperamentally, at least) to her brother, and his calmer way of managing. Indeed, our efforts, if sincere and sustained, need be enough.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yep. I understand, especially as someone who tends to be rather sensitive to everything around, too (for good or bad – for I would not want to be less perceptive, AND I realize that noting the fun and funny and pretty and loving and complex, comes with the possibility of being a bit over-flooded sometimes, as I am also aware of the need for self-care, which I don’t mind doing, either …). At the same time, I can also be quite peaceful, and I can be quite good at focusing inward, and not being constantly bombarded … SO … someplace it is a balance, and maybe part of it can be learned. So, I wish her some balance. I know you understand … 😉

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    • Thank you, Rochelle! If she can, she ought to. Or, she will need to find another way to endure, for it seems perhaps she does not have the liberty to change the current outward realities of her life. Glad you liked! xx Na’ama


  1. I really enjoyed your story. It made me think myself into the unfamiliar cultural background, which deepened my experience of Jiao’s suffering. The idea that Chi can be viscous and that this can make life difficult is a very expressive way of describing Jiao’s predicament.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Penny. I’m glad it was a bit transportive … I remember seeing street artists plying their trade in the markets of Chiang Mai, and wondering about their experience. What is it like to have your livelihood and art intertwined with the unrelenting presence of crowds? There were those who had an almost palpable ‘energetic shield’ around them, as they attended to their craft. Others seemed resigned. Others still, unperturbed, or uninterested, or genuinely absorbed in their painting. It had a different ‘feel’ than that of street artists in Times Square or other touristy spaces I’ve seen in the US. And this photo elicited that memory, and its wonderings …

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