Pain Held Tight

He was slight and short for twelve years of age.  His rust colored hair and freckled pale skin was the bane of his life.  His eyes were a deep brown with flecks of carnelian–beautiful really–framed with long, feathery lashes that blinked with mischievousness and always-looking-for-a-joke curiosity.

His sweet vulnerability was overshadowed by a dark secret and shame.  He wore a mask of jovial pretense and protected that place with ardent determination.

No one noticed the quick flash of anguish that passed across his face from time to time or the somber pauses, between the wittiness, that told all.

pain held tight inside

please look deep, not just the shield

hope that someone sees

I took Victoria up on her Monday Morning Writing Prompt of a Haibun.  See her page for definition.  I blended a Flash Fiction story of 100 words with a haiku.

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  1. This is haunting, Gayle. It leaves you wondering about the pain he carries. Somehow it made me think of “The Kite Runner” where both boys carried so much pain. The one of sexual abuse, the other of guilt. Thank you for sharing this on my blog.


    • Yes, I think there’s a lot of children out there who are “haunted”. I know the story that you mention–true, it’s one with a lot of heartache.

      You’re welcome, Victoria–I enjoyed trying the challenge.


  2. This is so deep and moving,, Gayle. This is a fabulous job on a very difficult challenge. You are truly mastering your craft.


    • Thank you for the very nice compliment, Isadora–I truly appreciate it. The different challenges seem to help spark my creativity–sometimes anyway.



  3. Quite engaging and moving … so sad. Well written though. And – unfortunately – illustrative of so many youth.

    Blog on, dear Gayle. Wonderful work here.


    • It’s very sad that so many children have to live with so much pain. What a world we live in…

      Thank you for the kind and very generous compliment, Jamie. Blog on!


  4. a brilliant take on the theme gayle. very touching, beautiful.


    • I’m so glad you liked it, Trisha. Thank you.


      • i have posted mine in the free soul, this time took some time to think about what will i write 🙂

        had to read the works of others to get a grasp on the thing. yours helped a lot, so did some others.


      • I have read yours now and it is very good. I sometimes want to read what others have come up with also to give me a better idea of what I’m supposed to be doing. You did very well with your cat story and haiku. I love all mention of your kitties in your stories. 🙂


      • I usually try to first post my work and then read others, i am a bit adamant in this, i want my stories/poems to be spontaneous.


      • I can see the point in doing this. I sometimes don’t want to feel “swayed” by other’s ideas or works and want to come up with my own idea. But other times I am a bit confused as to what’s expected and so will look to see what someone else does so I can get the basic idea better understood. Or else I will look it up on the web and get some “coaching” through that.


      • You participate in lot of activities, i participate in very limited ones, and luckily they are quite crystal clear about their expectations, even though i stumble once in a while but still i try to do it my way 🙂


      • Some activities are of my own making so I’m on my own as to figuring out how to do some of the forms of poetry–except for instructions on the web. But it’s all fun isn’t it!


      • exactly, the main point is enjoying them personally and as a group. with friends 🙂

        your poetry is awesome.


      • You’re right–enjoyment is the important thing. And many thanks for liking my writing.


  5. Oh! A true life story again…
    Like fruits, we too wear peels it seems!

    Or may I say hollow- boxes gift packed attractively?
    I guess, I’ve taken it way too seriously!

    Very insightful..
    Hugs xx


    • Well this is a made-up story. But the topic is so sadly all too true. Yes, we all have layers of masks that we use to protect ourselves. I liken it to an onion. Our truthful center is somewhere deep inside. And yes, so many have very attractive “gift boxes” on the outside but it’s what’s inside that counts…

      Thanks for coming by and commenting today, Oliva–I love your visits. xoxo


  6. so many wear masks to hide the pain while really wanting someone to see…. so much more tragic when a child has so much pain. a very moving haibun. ♥


    • Yes. It’s particularly tough to know that children carry such pain and trouble–it really tears at my heart.

      Thank you for your comment here, Dani–I appreciate it.


  7. You won’t believe this but my son has red hair, brown eyes and freckles, just like the boy you wrote about AND he’s 14. This could be about him. He has asperger’s.

    We all wear some kind of mask, though, no matter how old we are or what we look like.

    This was beautiful.


    • One of my brothers was used as the inspiration for this as he has this same coloring and was small at 12 but shot up to be over 6 feet tall now as an adult.

      Yes, we all wear some kind of mask to hide parts of ourselves.

      Thank you for the nice comment and sharing about your son–I wish him well. Bless you both.



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