Not My Circus… Friday Fictioneers, March 2020

Copyright C E Ayr

The man by the fountain is crying.

Everyone pretends not to notice, burying heads in newspapers or studying phones intently.

The tears become sobs, and less steely individuals glance at their watches, staging elaborately shocked surprise before hurrying away.

The sobs turn into painful howls of despair, which sees off most of those left, and I begin to wonder whether to leave myself.

Those few remaining pre-empt me.  And now it would look bad if I left too.

“Can I help?” I say awkwardly.

“Just leave me alone,” he cries.

So I go, relieved to have tried.

And been rebuffed.

Nice to see some sun here in Spain, though there are some clouds on the horizon as corona virus sweeps through this country as quickly as the rest of the continent.  😦   Hoping to be back home this time next week, all in one piece.  Thanks to Rochelle for leading the Friday Fictioneers out once again.

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.
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63 Responses to Not My Circus… Friday Fictioneers, March 2020

  1. Reena Saxena says:

    You present an accurate picture of mind-sets. People time their invitations and offers to help, in a manner that those are refused.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Tannille says:

    It’s difficult to know what to do. Some people need privacy a

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ceayr says:

    What a cynical and sadly accurate depiction of the human condition.
    The minute details are, as always, beautifully portrayed.

    Like

  4. neilmacdon says:

    Beautifully observed and written, Sandra. I loved the incomprehensible distress and the relief of the pitier

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Dear Sandra,

    You captured the discomfort of the bystander well. What do you do in a situation like that? At least she stuck around to offer. Stay well.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Like

  6. Violet Lentz says:

    Ah the human condition. So well portrayed.

    Like

  7. Spot on. I think its codependent – offering and accepting a helping hand. Wish you safe traveling.

    Like

  8. Colline says:

    Makes you wonder why he is so dramatic about his pain and yet wants no help. It certainly seems like he wants attention 🙂

    Like

  9. Anita says:

    So much for being kindhearted. At least you can sleep in peace 🙂

    Fountain with water.
    Sobs with tears.
    Freely flowing water in both the cases.

    Like

  10. Wonderful moment here, Sandra. I have witnessed a similar scene myself. Compassion and kindness are never wasted.

    Like

  11. Iain Kelly says:

    Hope you manage to make it home. Excellent scene, and very believable. The relief at being spared while feeling they have done what they could is palpable.

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      Yes, a somewhat satisfying outcome for the observer. Yes, my main worry is not being able to get home next Tuesday. We’re leaving on the ferry from Bilbao and if it doesn’t run for whatever reason we’ll be facing the long haul through France. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  12. granonine says:

    The irony of human behavior. Weeping in public, making others feel awkward and uncomfortable, and then refusing help. Strange, we are.

    Like

  13. pennygadd51 says:

    Very true to life, Sandra, and written with your usual skill. That last line is spot-on!

    Like

  14. Very well captured. Your words brought alive the sheer apathy of modern day denizens.

    Like

  15. Dale says:

    Humans… sometimes we just don’t get it! Nice of her to stick around and I can understand her relief too!

    Like

  16. Liz Young says:

    Exactly how people would behave, I imagine.

    Like

  17. msjadeli says:

    Great story, Sandra. That kind of emotional escalation in a public place is a cry for help, no matter how uncomfortable it makes others and how much he rebuffs offers. If nothing else, call ‘911’ and walk away, fingers crossed…

    Like

  18. Such situations can be so awkward. I love your character’s honesty. Good story!

    Like

  19. Your descriptions made me want to help this poor man and run away at the same time. Open emotions are hard to deal with. Why is that? Self-protection? Well done.

    Like

  20. Nobbinmaug says:

    This is beautiful and moving.

    Maybe if we weren’t conditioned to be uncomfortable with emotions, there wouldn’t be so many mental health issues in our society.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sandra says:

      Sometimes I wonder if we don’t overlay our own thought processes and mind-sets onto other people. I know in the past I’ve reached out only to find that that level of angst (which would be a total break-up for me) is simply a way of coping for others. Difficult one.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. This left me wondering what I would do in such a situation. I still am! Nice one Sandra.

    Like

  22. That awkward pause…! I felt a bit of that too… its something so much more common these days than ever before… any country, I guess.

    Like

  23. Russell says:

    Sometimes an offer of help is all that you can do. Better than no attempt at all.

    Like

  24. Such decisions we are faced with. To want to comfort someone in distress is a human need, an obligation, and a burden. Too bad only one person felt compelled to offer.

    Like

  25. 4963andypop says:

    Nice capture of an awkward moment. You portrayed her reluctant empathy well.

    Like

  26. So well described, that scene!

    Like

  27. Well done Sandra, great description of an almost impossible dilemma to resolve

    Like

  28. Lynn Love says:

    As others have said, you’ve shown this social discomfort so well. I know there have been times I’ve been upset in public and have felt embarrassed, not wanting other people to notice. But then, I have approached others – other women, at least – if I’ve seen them upset. And being a florist, dealing with a lot of bereaved people when they order flowers, I’ve comforted a few customers, hugged a few too. But it’s true, I’ve also walked past, not knowing what to say, if anything. You capture all of this so well. Brilliant writing Sandra. Travel safe and keep well

    Like

  29. draliman says:

    Off the hook. How many of us would act the same way? Most of us, I imagine.

    Like

  30. Sounds like the poor guy had a monkey on his back.
    Don’t you just love it when you offer to help and people turn you down? What a relief.

    Like

  31. susanmehr says:

    Sad and true what most people are willing to do, but some are better than most. Thank God there are those people.

    Like

I'd love to hear your views; it reassures me I'm not talking to myself.

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