Dominick pushed himself back from the table, sighing like a leaky tire.

Eating was no longer the comfort it once was, the solace gone.

He’d grown up lean and hungry, fifth of seven children, hand-me-downs and half-empty bowls.

He had gone to war and shot at the enemy and maybe even killed them, seen friends die.

He’d come home hollowed-out, his internals a vast and gaping emptiness.

He opened a deli so he could eat all day, his body bulking like a circus balloon, his feet ludicrously small and remote.

These days a dozen crullers couldn’t begin to fill him.

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  1. pennygadd51

    That is such a sad story. I really admire the way you’ve achieved lifelong consistency for Dominick. He grows up deprived of food and clothes; he goes to war and loses spiritual satisfaction. Who could be surprised, then, that he tries to sate the appetite for the things he never had? And who could be surprised that the attempt would be in vain. Terrific writing, Josh.

  2. Na'ama Yehuda

    So well done and so so sad …
    There are emptinesses that no donuts can fill.
    I hope he finds a human way to heal the emptiness inside. Or a puppy. Or a kitten. Or some other way to fill the voids he has returned with.
    The realities of PTSD are all too prevalent, and we don’t do enough, as a society, to heal the wounds of war. Physical or otherwise.

  3. Sandra

    I don’t know what a ‘cruller’ is, but if a dozen wouldn’t fill him, I guess I don’t need to. Great take on a photo with lots of potential for creativity.

  4. msjadeli

    There is no fixing Dominick, short of time and a miracle or two. There are some therapies that can bring relief. Equine therapy is one. Of course very difficult to get any insurance company to pay for alternative therapies that work.

  5. magarisa

    Dominick’s attempts to fill his spiritual/emotional emptiness with food reminds me of the human tendency to stuff our lives with things to do to distract ourselves from existential ennui. “Sighing like a leaky tire” and “his body bulking like a circus balloon” reinforce the theme of emptiness/hollowness. Excellent writing.
    Thank you for letting us use your photo this week.

  6. patriciaruthsusan

    A good and well-written story, J.Hardy. Food isn’t the complete answer for Dominick. He needs to improve or heal mentally. Many soldiers come home with big problems. Thanks for the picture that made so many good stories possible. :) — Suzanne

  7. Sascha Darlington

    I love your depiction of a person who feels so hollow that nothing can fill him. It’s a pretty common reality with people who’ve gone through so much and are in need of healing.

Don't just stand there.