Spot 041: In Hindsight


by Paul de Denus

I should not have gone to the emergency room. Looking back, I should have sucked it up and moaned through the weekend somehow, without taking any drastic measures. Drastic. That’s the word. It’s easy to say that now, now that I feel much back to normal. It’s a fine line between discomfort and pain, between scared and panic, between stable and overwhelmed.

The past is a muffled muddled memory. With it sits guilt, sadness, loss of control and a certain weakness. The after effects continue. Physically, I learned some things. Emotionally? That’s a different toll, a separate cost. There’s the bill from the hospital, from the radiologist, from the tests and pills. Three hours for the uninsured – without seeing a doctor – …over eight grand. Maybe it’s a good thing a doctor never peered in at me. I probably saved myself another thousand or two.

Over the years, I’ve spent the money for personal health insurance elsewhere, took my chances on staying healthy. I don’t know how people do it. We are one disaster from being destroyed. The rich don’t see it. The healthy don’t either.

The biggest pain sits by itself. I cannot fix this one; I can only listen and wait it out. Watching her face and the overtaking sadness is enough to kill me. I know too, this will pass.

See Authors page for Paul’s bio.



by Sandra Davies

In hindsight, and the eyes of the media, it would have been the parents who were held up as criminal, criminally guilty of too much trust, of optimism, of wishful thinking. Fingers would have been pointed and accusations made, if anyone had known enough to accuse, if the details had got out. The truth.
But for a variety of reasons, not least the fact that the father of one of the victims was in the local CID, the details had been suppressed. The known details. Some had never even been suspected. Which was how the two guilty of perhaps the most officially heinous crime – for all it could be considered justified – went completely unsuspected. And thus uninvestigated and unreported. Unaccused.
The parents did, of course, feel guilt after the event, as did the victims. The two who carried out the crime felt guilty, naturally. But the strengths that had enabled them to do the deed also enabled them to conceal it. To cope and to keep the secret.
The man responsible never felt a thing.

See Authors page for Sandra’s bio.



by Michael D. Brown

They say all things come to those who wait. I’ve had experience with that—small epiphanies when that thing I’ve long desired finally arrives. It still occurs, but not often enough to suit my tastes these days.
They say never put off until tomorrow what you can do today. God, I hate those people who say these things—so efficient, so righteous, never satisfied to sit and wait. Things come eventually. I’ve had experience.
They say never put all your eggs in one basket. This one I guess is good advice. You keep it all together, and you lose it all at once. It comes back. Yes, I can see that now, but it hurts for a while during the time you have to do without.
They say a stitch in time saves nine. That’s patchwork, and it never holds up. When you see the signs that something is going, believe it’s already gone. It is. It’s guaranteed to stop working when you’re really counting on it. Peter’s Principle—not just a clever turn of phrase. But, what goes around…
They say you’ll get your reward in the afterlife. Like the man who needed a parachute, what good is getting something after it’s no longer beneficial?
I say keep reading Vico, and recall that “verifiable truth and human concern share only a slight overlap, yet reasoning is required in both spheres.” You cannot live your life by listening to what “they” say alone. Be pragmatic, but don’t lose yourself waiting.

See Authors page for Michael’s bio.



by Gita M. Smith

He gave me his cell phone number, but not the one to his land line at home. I told myself, “Hey, lots of people give up their land lines and only use mobiles, nowadays. No biggie.”
He told me his job involved a lot of travel but never gave the name of the company where he worked.
“Laptops with Skype, and smart phones have replaced bricks-and-mortar offices,” I told myself. “Seems reasonable.”
He liked to come over to my place, said it was more comfortable and “artistic” than his new unfurnished apartment with its too-small bed and stand-up shower. There would be time for us to spend weekends at his place once he’d decorated it.
“Seems reasonable,” I told myself. I fantasized about the day when we’d go shopping for a bed and I would buy him sheets – the good ones, at least 400 count.
He also never introduced me to his friends. Not once. So no one even knew that I existed. It’s like we lived in a snow globe, just the two of us.
Of course, looking back I should have seen the signs. Even an amateur would have seen the signs. Of course he was married and never planned to buy a bed with me. That’s when I decided I had been reasonable long enough.
I saw it in his eyes, that perfect moment on the cusp of death before the light goes out – that 20/20 rearview mirror look that says, “Ooops. I fucked up.”
Just between us, I quite enjoyed it

See Authors page for Gita’s bio.



Illustrations for Spot 041 supplied by Sandra Davies


3 Comments to “Spot 041: In Hindsight”

  1. We four have done it again! And I love what you have done with the photos Michael. Paul’s experience seems ever more horrific from this point of view, the cost of investigating and reducing pain, as ever so precisely told. Michael, I think this is one of my favourite pieces from you – pointing out the obvious in your inimicably subtle style and Gita as full of tiny detail – the 400 count sheets – and as ballsy as ever once she realises she’s been had.

  2. Ditto Sandra on the photo design this week. How can we get more people to see this page? It deserves a much bigger audience.
    I think my favorite libe this week was “When you see the signs that something is going, believe it’s already gone.” Excellent advice. And yet so hard to do.
    Paul’s piece, when added to the six about the wife and the ER bills, gives a complete picture of the suffering in a couple when illness strikes. I liked his assessment of the need for health care reform: “The rich don’t see it. The healthy don’t either.” Isn’t that the heart of the national schism over this problem?
    Sandra hints at a heinous crime but never said what it was.
    That’s what smart writers do — leave out the exact nature of horror and let the reader supply it. Well done.
    HIndsight is behind us. Now on to foresight, of which, I am afraid to say, I have almost none.

  3. Excellent works, all. I really like Michael’s idea to play off groan-inducing adages.

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