Photo: Sebastian Czubachowski at

For the umpteenth time and probably not for the last he asks me, “Momma, have the germies gone yet?”

I wonder how much longer I can keep up my story. The empty streets have started to fill up again. Shops have opened. I dismiss the yellow busses as buses exercising but it is hard to explain other children heading towards the park or walking their dogs.

Tuffy’s been a gem. He wants to go out but he won’t go without his best friend. The expectant eyes and wagging tail go together.

“No Mikey. They are still out there waiting to sneak up on us as soon as we let our guard down.” The eyes dim and the tail stops wagging.

Their trust is implicit and I feel like a miserable cheat. A weak miserable cheat who is hanging on desperately to some despicable virus to save her from having that dreaded conversation. He thinks that daddy can’t come home because the germies are out there.

How do I tell a five year old that his daddy won’t come home ever?  

Written in response to Fandango’s Flash Fiction challenge #136

2 thoughts on “Gone

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