I was brewing a new pot of coffee with my back to the counter, but I heard the creaking leather of his belt as he sat down. I caught my breath. My neck felt hot. I prayed I wasn’t blushing.

Eyes down, I turned around. I could see his strong chest, that shiny badge over his pocket, the heavy belt around his waist. I wouldn’t look in his eyes. Every time I looked in his eyes I dropped something. My whole check was going to cover broken dishes. I absolutely would not look at him.

My order pad out, I stared at it, ready to write. What’ll it be today? I said. He was grinning, I knew it, even though I wouldn’t look.


Author: Virginia DeBolt

Writer and teacher who writes blogs about web education, writing practice, and pop culture.

10 thoughts on “Badge”

  1. “Oh golly,” she fluttered, her voice a breathy southern drawl. “Ahh just LUV a ma-yan in unifor-um!”

    “Zat right, miss?” His broad smile seemed to pull his shoulders up a notch. He hooked his thumbs in his belt and his hipsunconsciously thrust a fraction forward .

    “Ohhh, ye-yess, sir! Why, evah since ahh was a baby girl, mah daddy…”

  2. And that’s the way I like to remember him: me smiling, my arm in his, wearing my best dress and perfume. I liked him because he was just a regular person, strong, witty and had my best interests in mind. He wasn’t perfect, by a long shot, but he had the kind of heart that I wanted in a man. I felt I could entrust myself to him – and I did.

    Thirty years of marriage and three children passed by and I was still in love with him. But then October came and he didn’t come home. He just dissolved like a lump of sugar in a vast lake.

    I waited for five years…but nothing. And then in April, there he was…walking in my direction…pushing a shopping cart down the same crowded street. I just stared at him as he walked by me: no recognition in his eyes, like I was one of the walking motes swirling about him.

    “Charlie!” I cried. “Charlie!” And he just keep walking. I ran up behind him and grabbed his shoulder, “Charlie!” He turned round, startled, “What’s the matter, lady…What you want?”

    I began to cry, “Where’ve you been?”

    “Are you okay?” He said. And then I saw it, the scar tissue around his forehead, wrinkled, slightly caved, like a wound that hadn’t repaired well. Without knowing what had happened, I knew he was no longer mine. I simply said, “I’m sorry…I thought you were someone else.”

    My grief is inconsolable and when I see him from time to time pushing the cart loaded with his worldly possessions I ask if he needs anything; I’ve even invited him to stay in my home, but then the Charlie I knew emerges: proud and independent, he says No Thank You.

    I discovered where he lives, beneath the Patullo bridge, with his friends – nameless, disordered, ill. None of the hospitals have recalled a man like Charlie and none of the Gospel Mission houses recall when he first started visiting the soup lines.

    But I have the smell and the taste of him within me, and the memory of a young waitress in love.

  3. Hmmm…it looks like the words I wrote in the previous post didn’t all come out because I placed one of them in parentheses. I’ll try this again. The word ‘keep’ in line 12 should read ‘kept’. I hope this works.

  4. Hmmm…should I be limiting my posts to 50 words or less, or is it permitted to write more? Hope I haven’t crossed a boundary.


  5. Yes, the blog is designed to only be the first 50 words. If you’re on a roll and feel like you have something good going, I encourage you to finish it on your own. I don’t actually count the words, but I can tell you that 50 words isn’t very many :). It’s hard to stop in midstream when you have a good idea going, but my purpose here is to kick start that creative impulse and get you thinking so that you have something to work with on your own.

  6. It was shiny , new , and metallic. With Class Monitor written in black. Impressive.

    “Now , that here , people, is a badge of honour . ”

    She patted the badge after pinning it , poking me twice in the chest , in the process, and smiled genially. I loved Miss Samya.
    The “people” clapped. Sumit blew a whistle . He was my best friend . My heart swelled with pride. I might have flushed too.

    My school always made a big drama of small achievements . My monitor badge , for instance .

    “It is just a way to enslave you. Make you run errands and miss classes. ” My father cautioned , changing the news channel , my mom , nodded assent, sipping her coffee.

    That’s right. My parents .Never impressed. Ever so grounded. None of my badges , trophies , medals , meant much to them.

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