Eye of the Beholder

“You know that scene in Papillon where Steve McQueen is locked in a pit for five years?” he said once. “I’d be fine with that.”

She’d smiled at what she thought was a joke.

Years later, when the kids had fled to families of their own and they both retired, they’d sold the house and taken a snug cottage on Marquette Island. The closest village was down  six miles of dirt road.

“Not a human in sight,” he laughed. “I don’t have to see anyone but you. This is paradise!”

She stared at the empty vastness, saying nothing for now.


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  1. Na'ama Yehuda

    I have me a feeling she’s in need of a bit more than just his visage and company … Hopefully she’ll find a happy medium – going into town (six miles or not) once or twice a week? Volunteering someplace? Chatting online … ?
    Nicely done, Josh!

  2. Dale

    Let us just say that they don’t seem to have the same idea of paradise… Here’s hoping they find a way to make it work – together…

  3. siobhan1967

    Papillion was one of my favourite books when I was very much younger. I’m with him on avoiding other humans but not sure I’d like something so desolate. I fear for her state of mind and think he might live to regret moving there.

  4. pennygadd51

    You give us an intriguing and thought-provoking situation, but I find it a little unsatisfying as a 100 word flash. It’s a situation that cries out for a larger canvas. They’re a couple who have raised a family; they know each other very well, and must be able to work together. I’m sure she’ll have a plan, and it will be the working out of that plan that would drive a longer story.
    Alternatively, it’s just crossed my mind that this may be an allegory about being ’empty-nesters’. At all events your story has led me to think, which is good!

  5. Brenda's Thoughts

    I hope she is able to tell him how she really feels. I have an idea she is not too keen and maybe he’ll get bored with the quiet and find more balance. I hope you have a wonderful holiday time, Josh!

  6. 4963andypop

    This is the flip side of the adage “opposites attract.” While we sometimes revere the ideal of the writerly hermit, such a lifestyle has its disadvantages. One cannot force isolation on someone who does not want it at least not without repercussions.

    Marquette is beautiful, though!

Don't just stand there.