Crossing Paths ~ #013 May 2014 – Haiga and Haibun Short Story for Flash Fiction Prompt: Personality

©14 Summer Leaves 6 sml 6x

Prompt Parameters:

  • 3 Personality Traits of my own.
  • a Named Character for each trait.
  • setting: a doctor’s waiting room. 
  • one character is terminally ill. 

PT1- intensely excitable on subjects that attract me. will explore these endlessly with no sense of time—even while my mind jumps from one thing to another. a fascination with each new discovery in my world. yet clear understanding in depth often eludes me. a natural seeker, who already knows without knowing.

PT2- a willingness to seek solutions, particularly work-a-rounds. an open-ended willingness to help others and give with care to people I know as well as those I don’t know, within my abilities. trusting first unless or until proven that this should not be the case. often repeatedly and sometimes at a cost that results at a later time. a seeker who must rediscover seeking.

PT3- quietly passionate about all creatures and life, with an eye and perspective beyond the years of a life time. a tremendous curiosity about life and inner life. a thinker. an observer of life, conditions, sequences, patterns, processes, cause and effects and consequences. now a seeker by design. 


NC1- is an 8 year old boy who is thrilled to go fishing, hunt for what he considers valuable stones (agates, fire opal, garnets, fossils etc.) and is almost inseparable from his dog. Phillip Runner, who can rarely sit still for long, is bursting with life. ideas. questions and new thoughts every other moment. his pockets are almost always full of the treasure he finds.

NC2- is a 33 year old visual artist/writer who shows occasionally, makes very little money and is okay with this. he has enough and is relatively frugal. he can be  intensely focused. and is occasionally closed to the outside world. he substitutes and volunteers locally teaching about art. Karl Brushe (pronounced: brush) almost always carries a small sketchbook.

NC3- is a 56 year old spirit healer. trained in various countries while wandering over her life time by seeking out those who understand spiritual gifts. she consults with spiritual leaders and leads meditation retreats which also include the practice of yoga. Lily Makepeace, although her last name comes from indigenous ancestry she has very little of her namesake in her genetic make up. she is okay with this and gives the explanation for it easily when asked.


Summer Leaves


a small town. small enough to feel small. large enough that no one knows everyone. they often recognize each other visually. occasionally they nod to those they do not know. in some settings and situations they are comfortable speaking with each other, briefly interacting without knowing each other by name.

she asks the receptionist if it’s okay to leave her son while she gets them something to eat. “Yes, of course, Mrs. Runner.”

“Sit here, Philip. Mz. Kate will help you if you need anything. I’ll be right back.”

Philip sits near Kate. he is quiet for a moment. he slips down in his chair. his hand slips into his pocket. he pulls out three stones. he looks at them intently, sets a foot on the floor and walks over to a man reading a book. “Do you want to see my stones?”

Kate looks up. starts to speak. holds her words. and watches an interaction begin between boy and man.

Karl Brushe looks from the offered hand to the boy’s face. “Of course. What do you have?”

“Look at this one. It’s a stone. You can see light right through it. It’s an agate. I found it in the gravel. Plain ordinary gravel. At the bus stop.”

Karl looks down. “And this one?” he points to a white stone. the boy reaches with a grin, turning the stone over. “It’s a fossil. Of a leaf. See?”

most of a delicate leaf is imprinted in the stone. Karl’s attention is hooked.

“The leaf lived a long time ago but now it’s here in the stone.” Philip whispers, “It’s special.”

Karl nods, “It certainly is.”

Philip leans closer to Karl. “Do you see that lady over there? The quiet one.” his whisper is low and he turns slightly. “Is she asleep?”

Karl follows this non sequitur with a glance. a woman sits a few chairs away. calm and relaxed. yet attentively upright. her eyes are closed. she breathes easily.

“I think she is just being quiet.” 

the quiet woman, at ease, opens her eyes looking straight ahead.

Philip’s mother returns with a small paper bag. “Philip, are you bothering someone?” 

“No, mom. We’re just talking. Can we still go fishing after treatment?” 

“I think so. We’ll see how you feel. We can pick Skipper up when we’re finished here.”

the quiet woman follows Philip’s mother with her eyes. Mrs. Runner is patient. she wears no make-up. her eyes reflect a lack of sleep. 

“Thank you for watching Philip.” 

“He’s easy to watch, Mrs. Runner.”

the doctor steps from his office, “Mrs. Runner, I’d like to speak with you first if you wouldn’t mind.” Mrs. Runner turns to Philip. the doctor interrupts this, “Just you for a moment, if that’s alright, Mrs. Runner.”

she turns to Kate. “Yes, of course, Mrs. Runner, he’ll be fine.”

Mrs. Runner follows the doctor into his office.

Philip turns back to Karl. “Do you want to look at the light through the agate with me?”

Karl grins. “Sure.” they walk toward the window. 

“Why is your hair so short?”

“Oh. . . . Well. . . . I took care of my mother for a while. She had to cut her hair short so I said, ‘If your hair has to be short, then I’m going to cut mine short too.’ Now, it’s just easier to keep it short. I like it this way.”

“Me too.” Philip rubs one hand across his own stubble. “My mom says it’s cooler in the summer this way. And I can grow it longer. Later. If I want to.” 

Philip holds the stone between thumb and finger. he faces the window. squints with his eye close to his hand. for a moment the room is breathlessly still. Philip raises his hand so Karl can look. Karl kneels down and peers at the stone. through the stone. to the light. close. just as Philip had. Philip is beaming. 

his mother returns. she stops to watch the interaction at the window. the two stone gazers are in quiet conversation now. 

“Mrs. Runner?” the quiet woman stands close to Philip’s mother and speaks softly, “Mrs. Runner, my name is Lily Makepeace. I saw you earlier in the courtyard at the Church of Crossing Paths. I’m offering a retreat there. It’s on centering and relaxation. If you are able to come this evening I’d welcome your presence.”

“Oh—I cant afford a retreat right now.”

“If you are a member of the Church it’s free, if not, it’s an optional fee which we can wave. I work with adults and children. Children like what I do.”

“My son. . . . “

“Yes, your son and you both. It would actually help me out to have your son there. He has such a great and healthy spirit. If you can make it, please come.”

“I. . . . Well—I’ll think about it.”

Lily offers a small piece of paper. information. and returns to her seat. 

“Philip, the doctor would like to speak to us.”

Philip follows his mother into the doctors office. Karl returns to drawing the small white stone on the window ledge. 

mother and son return in a few minutes and move toward the exit.

Lily speaks to Philip as he passes her, “That was generous of you Philip. To allow your friend to draw the blue stone.”

Philip looks directly at her with surprise on his face. “It’s white! Oh!” Philip looks up to his mother, then over to Karl. Karl now realizes that Philip is about to leave. He smiles and holds the fossil out to Philip. 

“Are you finished with it?” Philip asks. 

“Yes. For now. Would you like to see?” Philip is delighted with the drawing. Karl hands Philip the stone and “Thank you.”

mother and son again move toward the exit. “Can we still go fishing mom? I didn’t have to have a treatment today.”

“Yes, we can still go fishing. And after, if you’d like to, we’ll go see the quiet lady. She’d like you to be part of her group.”

“Okay. I will then. I’m going to look for more fossils too. So I can give one to friends.”

Kate calls Lily to see the doctor. quietly they exchange a few words.

“It was kind of you to invite Philip to your retreat. Do you know. . . .?”

“Yes. I can see it in both of them. Philip is fine. His spirit is strong and healthy. He will be a great light where ever he goes just as he is. It’s his mother who I suspect will benefit most from the retreat. You are welcome too, of course.”

Lily hands Kate another small piece of paper and walks into the doctor’s office.

Kate is thoughtful. her phone rings.

Karl studies the fossil drawing. after a moment he looks up and around. as if wondering what has actually happened in the last few minutes. 

sidewalk breeze
these summer leaves
that cross my path


Altered Photograph

  • 8 x 12 Inches @ 300 ppi
  • Digital Drawing and Painting
  • Nikon D80 Digital Camera
  • Perfect Effects 8
  • Adobe Photoshop Elements 12

My response to the Flash Fiction Prompt: Personality for May 16, 2014 on the Claudette J. Young At Home site.

My response is in the form of haiga and haibun. Two of the many Haiku and Related Forms in the field of poetry.

  • Haibun is prose or poetry (other than haiku) plus one or more haiku.
  • Haiga is image which includes haiku as a part of the image—image and haiku as one work.



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