No Loss

Flash Fiction by Susan Walsh


When I lost my job, I rationalized, I’d hated that job. “No loss,” I told everyone. And I meant it—for about two days. Until my checking account was on tilt. Then I remembered the one thing I liked about that job.

When my girlfriend dumped me because I lost my job. I said, “No loss.” Meant that too, because she wasn’t going to stick around for richer or poorer and in sickness and in health if she couldn’t handle a job loss. After about two nights, I started to remember why I liked having a girlfriend.

So a loss isn’t a loss until you feel what you’ve lost. The morning of my father’s funeral, I sat at the kitchen table, in the pre-dawn light, waiting to feel the loss of my father. He’d died seven days ago. I was to speak at his funeral in a few hours.

I hoped by then to feel something I could say, other than: “My father is dead and I really don’t feel too bad about it.”

The reality is, my father died long ago. With the shrunken confused brain and tangles of tau, the man who died was no longer my father. That man—the father who took us on crazy summer road trips, taught me how to throw a slider and forced me to go to college—that man had died long ago.

Two hours later, I found myself in a blue suit, standing in front of a church filled with family and friends saying, “The man who died was not the man who lived….”

As I spoke, my loss grew into something I’d lost.

© 2017 Susan Walsh