Just the Way of It

By Doug Elwell

Photo by by Elizabeth Seward, found on http://aol.it/2cUBTlQ

Photo by Elizabeth Seward, found on http://aol.it/2cUBTlQ

She pushed away, “Let me fix you some breakfast before you go.”

She dropped a piece of paper and a pen in front of him, “Put your information down.” When he finished, he tore the paper in half and handed it to her saying the same.

“Do you have to leave?” she asked.



“I don’t know. Maybe I’m not sure.”

“So, who is?”

He doodled a series of circles and lines on his napkin, “Good question.”

“What is sure Harry?”

He looked away, “I’m sure you’ve got me stirred up in a way I haven’t been in a long time.”

“I haven’t felt this way in a long time either, maybe ever, I don’t know. Is that possible?”

“Don’t, Bonnie.”

She slumped in her chair, “You’re right. I’m being silly and foolish. I don’t know what I’m saying.”

“It’s not that.”

“Then what is it?”

“Every time I get here things go south on me.”

“Every time?”

“So far.”

“Does that mean it has to be that way always?”

“I’m running out of time. Besides it hurts and I can’t take the pain anymore.”

“I guess not. Of course you have to go, Harry Edwards, that’s just the way of it isn’t it?”


“You all packed?”


She walked him out to his bike, tested a couple of bungees. “May I ride with you for a while? To Magdalena?”

“That’s not a good idea. Where I’m going, you can’t go.”


He looked east. The sun was about to clear the horizon. The Rio Grande threaded south through Socorro. La Jornada del Muerte to the east—purple in the last moments before the sun broke. “This is your world—where you belong.”

“Okay Harry, I’ll stay here. I won’t follow you like a puppy. I’ll be big.”

“That’s good.” He started the engine then eased off the choke and let it idle smoothly. “None of that now.” He forced a smile and brushed her cheek with his thumb.

“See ya Harry.”

He gave her a last squeeze and idled down her lane to the highway west.


© 2016 Doug Elwell

About this piece of creative nonfiction, Doug tells me: “These days I’m mostly doing revisions of older pieces I haven’t looked a for a while. My latest kick is trying to follow Hemingway’s Ice Berg theory by leaving 7/8’s of the story implied (under the surface). I came close with  the attached piece called “Just the Way of It”. It is based on a true event where Harry is moving on after a brief but intense interlude with Bonnie. The event occurred years ago and the dialogue is re-created from memory, but the essence of it is true.” (You can search this blog for “Harry, Elwell” and you will find other essays chronicling the adventures of Doug’s alter ego, Harry.)

Doug writes short stories and memoir that feature characters, lore and culture of the rural Midwest. His work has occasionally appeared in his home town newspaper, The Oakland Independent, two editions of Ignite Your Passion: Kindle Your Inner Spark, True Stories Well Told, Every Writer’s Resource and Midwestern Gothic. He can be contacted via email at: djelwell@mchsi.com.

About first person productions

My blog "True Stories Well Told" is a place for people who read and write about real life. I’ve been leading life writing groups since 2004. I teach, coach memoir writers 1:1, and help people publish and share their life stories.
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