Friday Fictioneers – Cup

Photo Prompt © Victor and Sarah Potter

There was a white thing on the surface in front of him. Its outside tapered at the bottom and was open at the top.

“Hat,” he said. The word meant something, but he couldn’t remember what.

The woman handed him the thing. “Drink,” she said.

Actions he understood, and he drank. But the names of things swirled around him like a flock of flying things, and he couldn’t restore any to the places where it should roost.

He knew he loved the woman, but couldn’t remember what to call her.

“Knife,” he said.



Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here.


96 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers – Cup

  1. Dear Neil,

    Actually the use of knife as you’ve said in the comment to Ian could very well be ‘wife’ in his mind. My MIL is in the latter stages of Alzheimer’s. She will say odd things and then seem perplexed that we didn’t understand her. Well done, sir.



    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Rochelle. And I should say I wasn’t particularly thinking of Alzheimers in this piece. There are other conditions in which words disappear. All is verbs are intact, it’s just nouns he has trouble with


  2. How complex the brain is, especially in terms of the use of language to make sense of the world around us. Your story made me think of Oliver Sacks’ The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Loved this line. ’But the names of things swirled around him like a flock of flying things, and he couldn’t restore any to the places where it should roost’.

    It must be even more painful for her.
    Beautifully written, Neil.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Quite moving this. Communication is everything! I can’t imagine what it would be like to feel and to be unable to communicate that feeling to the degree you have shown here. Well done 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great write, Neil. Reminds me so much of what it was like when I first came home from the hospital in ’96. Couldn’t put the right words to anything, and couldn’t speak them if I did. So very thankful I’m not there anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Especially for those of us who live and breathe and sculpt and appreciate words all day long, the idea of losing the memory of what words mean is utterly terrifying. You portray that everyday horror so well here.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I watched my grandfather go through it after his stroke, and it was devastating. He’d been a minister his whole life, moving people with his warm, kind, powerful words, debating esoteric points of scripture, and now he couldn’t even ask for water. He was lucky to have my grandmother there; she pushed him through every tiny step of the recovery, refusing to take no for an answer, until he had regained most of his functioning.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I am grateful to say that I can only imagine the frustration of not being able to find the necessary words. In an episode of e.r. way back when, a woman has a stroke and thinks she can speak but the words don’t come out as she hears them in her mind. Different kind of scenario but no less frustrating.
    Well done, sir.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Now that I’m reading other people’s comments, it seems obvious that the man is suffering from some condition, but when I was reading the story, I was visualizing a child, learning to speak his first words, being encouraged by his mother 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Brilliantly written, Neil. I really felt for the pair of them. I know a couple just like the ones in your story, except it’s the husband caring for the wife. They were always inseparable before she had alzeimers, and they still are now. He is determined to keep her at home until the last. That’s love for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. At least he knows he stills loves her. It is so hard when loving relationships fail through brain injury and/ or degeneration. The distraction and loss of mind so accurately captured.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s