25 Sep


by L. Stewart Marsden



“Are you angry with me?” she asked.

“Why the hell should I be angry with you, for God’s sake?”

“That I’m thinking of him?”

“I can’t help what you think about. I can’t even help what I think about, for that matter.”

“I do try.”

“Yes, you do.”

“But sometimes I can’t help myself.”

“It’s called PTSD.”


“Post traumatic —“

“I know what it stands for. It doesn’t really apply in my case. I mean, I wasn’t in battle or anything. It wasn’t traumatic like that.”

“No, but his death was traumatic. Look — this is my issue. It’s perfectly natural for you to think about him and about what happened. I understand that. Intellectually, at least. I know this sounds a bit glib, but what if he hadn’t died? I mean, what if you had gotten a divorce and he was still out there?”

“I think I would prefer it.”

“I sure as hell wouldn’t. Does that sound selfish? Mean?”

“No. I don’t know — I’m sorry I’m so screwed up! I should be able to let go and move on!”

“You will. And I’ll be with you along the way. Promise. You can’t feel guilty for thinking about him.”


“No. But not every minute of every day. You’ve got to find some space for me, right?”


“I mean that. It’s okay. I understand. And, I love you. I wish I had met him.”

“You would have liked him.”

“Yeah. But we would have had a problem.”

“What problem?”


“I love you.”

“I know.”


Copyright © by Lawrence S. Marsden 25 September, 2015



5 Responses to “Ghosts”

  1. skipmars September 25, 2015 at 11:24 pm #

    So, what if you met her husband years later? What if he hadn’t died?

  2. Damyanti September 25, 2015 at 11:47 pm #

    Very well characterized, through just the dialogues. This is an exercise I try often, without half as much success.

    • skipmars September 26, 2015 at 12:07 am #

      Thank you. I’m afraid it’s liquidated to some extent. If you know what I mean.

  3. claragbush29 September 27, 2015 at 9:36 pm #

    This is good Skip. Really. Really good. I know more about these two characters in just these few lines of dialogue then I know in some of my most recent full-length reads.

    • skipmars September 27, 2015 at 11:57 pm #

      Thank you, Clara! These exercises in dialogue are meant to convey a lot with a little. I appreciate the comment.

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