The Minister for Loneliness – Friday Fictioneers, January 2018

Copyright J Hardy

Jim stares blankly at the woman on his sofa.

“So someone will visit every week, there’ll be social clubs, theatre visits and group outings with people in the same position as yourself.   How does that sound?”

Jim strokes his chin, pondering.

“Like hell on earth,” he says.

“But you said you were lonely?”

Jim is lonely … for his wife and siblings long dead…  for his daughters on the other side of the world… and for his cat, who’s gone missing again.

But his loneliness isn’t a pit to be filled with strangers.

How can he make her understand that?

 More of a vignette than a story arc today, after reading the mixed reaction to the appointment of a Minister for Loneliness.  Rochelle, however continues her ministrations for the Friday Fictioneers group in fine form.  Thank you, Rochelle.

About Sandra

I used to cruise the French waterways with my husband four or five months a year, and wrote fiction and poetry. Now I live on the beautiful Dorset coast, enjoying the luxury of being able to have a cat, cultivating an extensive garden and getting involved in the community. I still write fiction, but only when the spirit moves me - which isn't as often as before. I love animals, F1 motor racing, French bread and my husband, though not necessarily in that order.
This entry was posted in Friday Fictioneers, Just Sayin' and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

93 Responses to The Minister for Loneliness – Friday Fictioneers, January 2018

  1. neilmacdon says:

    They do say strangers are just friends we haven’t met yet. Though, of course, the people who say this obviously haven’t met some of the stranger strangers. Interesting piece, Sandra

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I think you nailed it Sandra. You can fill in time but you can’t fill the void left by ones that you love that are no longer with you or accessible to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Varad says:

    The void left by loved ones cannot be filled completely. One can try, though.


  4. Martin Cororan says:

    That’s really great Sandra – Profound enough without further comment…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. pennygadd51 says:

    The pacing of this story is excellent. You contrast the organised, pre-planned speech of the care-worker with the hesitant voice of Jim, who is working it out as he speaks. It’s a good way of differentiating between their voices, but more importantly it conveys a great deal about their characters.
    Nice writing, Sandra.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Dear Sandra,

    You can’t fill the pit of loneliness with strangers. Profound and truer words were never spoken. Well done. Like this should surprise me? 😉



    Liked by 2 people

  7. Iain Kelly says:

    It is possible to be lonely while surrounded by people, a fact that seems to be lost on many. Nicely put Sandra.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. granonine says:

    Oh, well done! I’m reaching an age when so many of my contemporaries are finding themselves in this lonely place. You captured it perfectly.


  9. I have heard it said that a bore is a person who deprives you of solitude without providing you with company. This is a good case for that. Well written!

    Liked by 3 people

  10. James says:

    My Mom is lonely for my Dad, but fortunately in her case, she’s got friends in the area and at her church.


  11. It’s either strangers or nobody. Sad.

    Click to read my FriFic!


  12. Mike says:

    A wonderfully told tale Sandra and so full of truths.


  13. Lynn Love says:

    This is so good, Sandra. You can’t fill that void of loneliness with strangers, you can only distract yourself from your loneliness for a while and hope some of the strangers become friends. So very sad


  14. Loved this story. Sad but so believable and true to life. Well done.

    Susan A Eames at
    Travel, Fiction and Photos


  15. Such a sad tale, beautifully told. I think I’ve experienced some on my loneliest moments when surrounded by people.


  16. Well written and realistic. It may be that Jim has a touch of self-pity, but we can allow him that. It is sad to lose everyone you have a bond with. I think he needs another cat, or better yet, a dog. 🙂


  17. beautyswot says:

    So well written. I feel for him.


  18. I so hope that I still can find new friends… and everyone is a stranger at first. It’s just that it has to be right kind of stranger.


  19. A heart-wrenching tale, and very true. Having ‘fun’ forced on me for the sake of company would be hell on earth. I’d rather embrace the void – and sometimes beautiful, meaningful and unexpected friendships can grow in that void.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sandra says:

      You’re so right, Siobhan. The best relationships are cultivated by accident or incident, and rarely by design, or so it’s seemed to me. Thanks for reading.


  20. At the end of the day there really is nothing like family.
    Thanks for the reminder.


  21. Dale says:

    You do manage to get so much out of your 100 words! Lonely cannot be filled by things – at least not until the person wants to

    Liked by 1 person

  22. k rawson says:

    Nicely captures the longing for the (irreplaceable) ones we love.


  23. But his loneliness isn’t a pit to be filled with strangers Oh! What a lovely line. You really caught the loneliness one feels when all the special people are gone or far, far away.


  24. Moon says:

    ‘But his loneliness isn’t a pit to be filled with strangers.’. What a truly magnificent line !
    Great story, Sandra.


  25. I kind of appreciate the concept of a ‘loneliness filler’, but doing it through a Ministry, with its accompanying bureaucracy and impersonal, mechanical approach seems to be a recipe for disaster. Great story.


  26. draliman says:

    Strangers can’t replace those you’ve lost, but maybe if he gives it a try he’ll be pleasantly surprised. Nice one!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. I loved the unique take on the prompt, Sandra! I loved the timing….appointment of the Minister for Loneliness and this profound lil tale. There are some voids that cannot be filled ….ever. However, I genuinely believe that loneliness can be cured….:) Keep writing! Cheers!


  28. rgayer55 says:

    “It’s far better to be alone than to be in bad company.” – Geo. Washington

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Liz Young says:

    I know there are people who are genuinely lonely, and my heart goes out to them, but the picture you paint here is all too close to what an interfering society can do. I relish my all-too-rare alone time.


  30. Laurie Bell says:

    So very hard. At least l hope his cat comes back!


  31. Jelli says:

    I just… hmmmm, words are failing me at the moment. This is a very moving piece. There’s more to say, it just won’t be coherent today, sorry.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. subroto says:

    Such a sad story but so beautifully told.

    I wonder if you call Minister for Loneliness’s office and when they put you on hold, the background music is Eleanor Rigby?


  33. Joy Pixley says:

    I echo many others by saying that line really struck me — that loneliness is not a pit to be filled with strangers — poetic. And I also hope that he opens his heart and lets some of those strangers become new friends. The older you get, the more of those you need, as the old ones have a tendency to leave you, one way or another.


  34. This is a beautiful piece, so nicely written. It is a quandary, as we get older we lose people dear to us and at the same time are less willing or able to make new friendships. This leads to such loneliness.

    I enjoyed your story!


  35. tedstrutz says:

    ‘a pit to be filled with strangers’… nice line.


  36. Dan Bohn says:

    Being alone may be the #1 fear. Loved the setting, and true words.


  37. LucciaGray says:

    Lovely. So sad and so true. It’s difficult to understand someone else’s loneliness and it’s so hard to fill…


  38. Anna Rymer says:

    This is so poignant and genuine Sandra. Your wisdom shines through your writing as always. Just lovely.


  39. Very poignant. Well done, Sandra.


  40. plaridel says:

    i guess it’s his call to live the way he wants. so be it.

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Jim has a sentiment that is so simple but that people often don’t get! Good job in expressing it!


  42. Sarah Ann says:

    Ouch. This has such punch. Loneliness isn’t the one size fits all issue we imagine it to be, as your story so amply illustrates. Have you sent this to Tracey Crouch to help her in her work? 🙂


  43. I understand that perfectly. We develop habits and rhythms to our life as we age. A visit from a visiting nurse once in a while might be good but constant activity could be an overload. Good writing as usual, Sandra. 🙂 — Suzanne


  44. Lovely. A salutary tale for all.


  45. People doesn’t always equal company, and loneliness doesn’t always mean being alone. Nicely and sympathetically told Sandra


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