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Feeling small

"I'm sorry this seat is taken."

There are tables set up with chairs and people are starting to sit down with their paper plates; some chairs are leaning on the table. Marking the places, as saved. There are purses or glasses already set down.

You scan the room looking for an empty chair, hoping to catch someones eye, looking for a smile.

The people don’t look up.

You approach a table, and say, “Is this seat taken?”

“I am sorry, it is taken.”

They are not really sorry; they are just being polite.

You shrink a little, feeling small.

The next table you recognize someone you know, they say, “I am sorry this seat is taken.” You shrink a little more.

Then you walk to the end of the room and find a table that no one is sitting on. You sit a little taller.

And you are in middle school again, and the girls all wear bras, and you don’t . They run their finger down the center of your back trying to find a strap to catch their finger on, and they laugh and walk away.

And one of the girls with a bra moves away. She calls you on the telephone,

“Remember the paper you got an A on? Will you let me use it? I have a paper due tomorrow.”

“Yes, let me go and get it.”

You hope she will be your friend. You read her the essay, word for word.

Loretta, the girl with the beautiful L on her name. She swirls it and makes the P that starts your name feel small and out of balance.

After you hang up the phone, you realize she will never call you again.

Feeling small.


Lisa-Jo Baker is the host of Five- Minute Friday. Today’s writing prompt is “small.” Write for five minutes, unedited.


About Pamela Hodges

My name is Pamela Hodges. I am a writer and an artist. I write to encourage and to bring laughter. I paint cats, draw cartoons and write books for children and grown ups.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

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Get the FREE illustrated, sort of a comic book, “You Are An Artist.” Believe in yourself and your ability to draw. xo Pamela

  • Robn Patrick

    Oh those emotional snags. It’s amazing to me that certain experiences bring them all back. But, knowing you, I’ll bet you make sure other people don’t experience the “this seat is taken” let down and you don’t go around judging people by their bra size. So, something good comes out of these experiences if we let it.
    I really felt what you were saying.

    • Robin,
      Isn’t it odd what will trigger a painful memory? They stay hidden in the filing cabinets of our mind until we see something that brings them back.
      At church dinners I try to get there early so I can sit and invite people to join me.
      And, I don’t like to save seats.

  • So true…we were all there. Console yourself…those girls who had to wear bra’s so early all have sagging boobs now. And ours, still pretty.

    • Patricia thank you for giving me a smile today. I had never thought of it that way before.

  • WesAnna

    Brought me right back to the days of school! Thank you for sharing on FMF!

  • WOW. What a beautiful, true, haunting post. The *fairy tale* girl inside me that always wants happy endings felt like I was left hanging at the end of this one, the “always out of place” girl understands and nods in knowing. Beautiful writing. Really enjoyed reading your thoughts on today’s prompt.
    Also – thanks for stopping by and your kind comment.

    • I usually want to offer advice at the end of a story, to tell people they don’t have to feel small.
      But this one just ended with the sad feeling, like an echo in a canyon.
      Thank you.

  • Kara

    this is such a beautiful and lonely post, but so reminiscent of life. I wish these types of days were long gone in adulthood, but your writing has captured it so deeply. visiting from FMF.