Photo Credit: Unknown Source

They talk about me like I’m not here just because the words inside my brain have lost their way to my lips. Don’t they know I feel the softness of her cheek against mine and smell the scent of peaches in her hair, reminding me of the taste of summer?

She doesn’t shun me, doesn’t recoil from the pungent smell of aging or the roughness of my wrinkled cheeks and beard. I know she knows I hear the words she whispers: I love you, Grandpa.

When I reach for her they grab her by the hand and jerk the child away, leaving me, once again, alone—a prisoner in this body.

Posted in response to the prompt: “Lost” hosted by Lillie McFerrin at Five Sentence Flash Fiction. Stop on by with a story of your own, but hurry up because I’m joining late to the party, as usual.


21 thoughts on “Prisoner

  1. Lindy Lee says:

    Sad, but often times true…


  2. dragonkatet says:

    This made me cry, Victoria. 😦 There are many people out there just like this old man. I wish everyone would take a moment and imagine what it must be like. If we could just spread the compassion, somehow…anyway, thanks for sharing this write, even though it’s heart-wrenching. You do very well getting inside others’ shoes. 🙂


  3. Victoria, a beautiful piece once again. I love the fact that you’ve drawn the reader into the mind of an ageing soul to share his thoughts/feelings… a reminder that we’re all growing older by the day… and the picture matches perfectly. 🙂


  4. becca givens says:

    Very moving, Victoria … I often wonder what they can remember but cannot begin to express or let us know they want to express … thank you for sharing!


  5. brian miller says:

    what a sad and lonely place…in the room but ignored or forgotten….


  6. ManicDdaily says:

    Very touching. So hard to get old, I start to write in our culture – but honestly it is very hard in every culture. k.


  7. amivglobus says:

    This is the saddest thing I’ve read today.


  8. Jamie Dedes says:

    Oh, my heart. It is indeed touching …

    Slowing catching up. Haven’t forgotten about you . . . Just been hit by a few bowling balls.


  9. Ravenblack says:



  10. Lora Mitchell says:

    Awwww… Sad and bittersweet. The first chapter stole my heart with your lovely descriptions. Not to diminish this piece in any way because it’s beautifully written…just that this is about the 3rd or 4th one I’ve read re. dementia and ALZ.


  11. I am very moved that you told this story, not only the point of view of the elderly man but also the open heart of the child who does not notice what adults might. I knew exactly what you meant with these words: “…doesn’t recoil from the pungent smell of aging.”

    If you would like a ‘critique’, I would say that your powerful last line would be even more powerful if instead of ending: “….leaving me, once again, alone—a prisoner in this body.”, you ended it with: “…leaving me a prisoner once again.”
    Small detail , perhaps useful…or not.


  12. A beautiful piece of writing, so much truth in it too. Becoming older and maybe infirm is something we may all face one day…we should work at empathy and compassion. Lovely piece.


  13. so poignant. I have MS and though I am middle aged now, not always in my wheelchair and don’t always struggle with speech, sometimes I do. I wonder how other people see me/if they see me, do my differences frighten them? Is that why some avoid making eye contact or speak above my head to my husband as though I’m not right in front of them? What are they thinking when talking to me as though I am a child? I remember visiting the other folks at the nursing home when my great aunt was living there with a brain tumor, lucid and lovely most of the time until the very end. The woman next door had had a stroke and could not speak at all. I would sit with her, a stranger, become visiting companion, hold her hand talk to her about life, assume she understood even though her only responses were grunts and half smiles. I was 24 at the time. I think as people are middle aged or older, any kind of illness or difference, especially among peers or elders is scary, it feels near, possible, they don’t WANT to see it, to know (though they do) that this could be them in any moment. It makes me sad, to think what people are missing, not connecting with people who are disabled, older, ill. We are still here. Sometimes our wisdom is silenced, but it is present, we are present.

    Anyway, thank you for this moment of reflection, so tenderly captured in your voice.


  14. Susan says:

    Wow. You have entered the subject on the flying carpet of empathy. Thanks!


  15. Very poignant! Thanks for sharing.


  16. Sandra says:

    Lovely photo, and a very evocative piece. Nicely done.


  17. vivinfrance says:

    Truly sad, lost old man; beautifully written.


  18. snitch21 says:

    I love this piece 🙂


  19. Very touching Victoria as is the photo 😦


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