Thursday, May 19, 2011


Two girls dead. Young things, she’d read. Just out of college. Miriam imagined short skirts drawn tight across tanned thighs, hoop earrings, poofy hair. The click-clack of four inch heels on the sidewalk. Not like her sensible walkers, all leather with skid-proof soles. They probably wore too much make-up and those silly push-up bras that made young women look whorish.

She belted her coat and clutched her purse tight under her arm. Red-lettered signs plastered the lobby door, alerting residents to the at-large murderer and admonishing care in traveling alone. Miriam hesitated. In the glass she saw her once smooth neck gathered in folds, the sagging jaw-line, eyes sallow and trampled with crows’ feet. The raincoat failed to hide the stubby thickness of her stomach. How had she gotten so frumpy looking? She remembered the feeling of weightlessness, of being lifted against gravity, the soft whoosh of tulle as her partner’s hands grasped the bottoms of her thighs and held her aloft. In the harsh spotlights the audience had glowed, as she must have shimmered to them, so full of grace thirty years ago.

She smoothed her hair. Perhaps she should buy a small gun, at least some mace. She looked again at her reflection. Age is defense enough, she thought, and pushed into the night.


I think much about how my self-image changes as I grow older. In my twenties, I felt beautiful and invincible, eager to flawnt my body, my face, my golden hair. The consequences of that sexual naivete led to self-preservation in older years and fear of going out alone. Now, in my middle years, I again enjoy a certain freedom in walking unencumbered, with no eyes watching, waiting. Perhaps a false sense of security. This is what I am playing with in this small fiction. Peace...


  1. I find it interesting that your thoughts and these wonderfully constructed flashes of yours often mirror my own thoughts. I know this feeling. You captured it so well.

  2. I'm with Laurita, completely. I know no one watches me. I know they would never be interested. It's like being invisible.
    I love the word "tulle." Beautiful.

  3. Love the line 'Age is defence enough.' That and the picture. It's beautiful and perfect for the story.

  4. I love that your fiction is always so short and filled with meaning. This one is no exception.

    Although I'm still to have these many folds (god forbid I'll have them!) I frequently think on how life will be when I'll be an "old lady". I try to keep a positive picture in mind: dignity, energy and sanity. *fingers crossed*

  5. Linda, I love this. Think it is some of your best writing, ever! Congratulations on a job well done.

  6. Quite a poignant piece, Linda. I don't worry about the physical attractiveness of my body (that went long ago) but about my mind. I think as long as one can stay mentally sharp and be physically fit enough to get around then they have aged well indeed.

  7. I'm with Jon — one's physical appearance, with regard to mating displays, is a temporary thing. The body is life support for the mind though.

    It's sad to hear that you got burned, Linda — many people manage to avoid the flame, but I know some who haven't. Yes, a false sense of security. Be careful out there!

  8. So sad the old lady got hurt when she was young and beautiful. Age is probably a defense against similar pain.

  9. I missed some essential element of teenhood that leaves people feeling invincible.

    Was relieved this wasn't from the killer playing with his/her work.

  10. Your story lays out the indignities and advantages of aging in stark clarity.

    Funny thing, though, I've always felt invisible.

    I'm with John - if this piece had been told by the killer, it would have been a really tired cliche. The neutral observer is a great POV.

  11. Like John, I never felt invincibility. When I was younger I wished I could be a beautiful woman for just one day, to feel what it was like to be so admired/desired - but only for one day! I perceived it as a power as well as a burden.

    Strange, my take on this is a little different. It seems to me Miriam is just as vulnerable as she's always been. There are different kinds of predators out there.

  12. The sad part about age being its own defense, is that one never knows what beauty used to lie there.

    Too bad youth is wasted on the youth.

  13. You can never count on criminals to be logical, Linda. Age has nothing to do with hard hearts looking for satisfaction. If it did, we wouldn't hear stories of abuse in convalescent homes.

    I like how you touch on the character's reflective life. As we grow older, we long for the days when we once were... well, not what we are now.

  14. People see me, okay so they see my silver hair and bam they see old even tho I'm not.

    stop laughing -- I'm not

    well written with a nice little added confession

  15. Hi Linda,
    this piece has the feel, edge of Bradbury's Dandelion Wine. I always appreciate your reflections and thoughts. I also really enjoyed the music. Hope all is going well for you and the family. ;-) Thanks for stopping by my and reading my horror this morning. I've been in experimental moods.

  16. We all love the word "tulle". Sexy!

  17. I like the introspective POV of this flash. I believe you've tapped into a universal feeling/thought of most women who are morphing through the years.

    When I was a young nubile, I was aware of dangers and always carried one of those personal alarms. Now I carry pepper spray. I don't walk/jog without it.

    The saddest thing is that women [and to a lesser extent, men] have to think in terms of self-protection at all,-- we can't just be free.

    Thanks for writing :)

  18. Wonderful work, Linda. The piece floats, as it should.

    But I would also like to echo people saying it is a false sense of security, not only are you more attractive to more men than you think you are, but this also sometimes has little to do with the predatory mind. Okay? Be careful, but free. ;-)d

  19. Thanks all for the wonderful and provocative comments. I am fascinated lately with how body image morphs as we age, and how when we are our youngest and most nubile (love that word, Kim!) we are most insecure, then as we approach the crone stage of our lives, we become more comfortable (perhaps too much so, as with my protag here) in our skin. Age can be freeing, I care less about others eyes on me and more about the pleasures of my senses in the here and now.

    And yes, predation really is about power, with beauty and vulnerability the lures. Peace...