Reminder

boots

© Adam Ickes

“Todd, why is there a pair of boots out front?” Kim stood at the window looking at what her husband placed outside.

“They were Erica’s boots. There should be a public reminder.” The thirty-year-old electrician stared wistfully into the fireplace as logs were peacefully consumed.

“Oh.” She sat on the sofa next to Todd. “I’m sorry.”

“It’s alright to say she committed suicide.” He took her hand.

“You want to go through with the lawsuit, right?”

“I know it won’t make any difference to my sister, but a person who cyberbullied her shouldn’t be allowed to get away with it.”

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields photo writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 100.

Yesterday, the rather colorful and expressive New York State Senator from Brooklyn, Kevin S. Parker, responded to a criticism from Republican Candice Giove that he had improperly used his parking placard to block a bike lane on a busy street by tweeting “Kill Yourself!” It’s all over the news including The New York Times and USA Today. After receiving a great deal of public criticism from fellow Senators, journalists, and the general public, he apologized, and then kept attacking Ms. Giove.

No, I seriously doubt Ms. Giove will commit suicide as a result of Senator Parker’s insensitive and impulsive tweet, but it did put me to mind of cyberbullying which occasionally does result in children and adults committing suicide. In my story, Todd put his sister’s hiking boots on a low wall in front of his house as a memorial. As a society, we need to do better.

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

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39 thoughts on “Reminder

  1. I think I am lucky not to have been a child in the age of cyber bullying. It’s real and it’s terrible. At least in my era you could escape into your home with everything comforting and private inside.

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  2. A week or two ago, a 7-year-old took her own life because she was bullied for being friends with a white boy (she was Black). Not cyber-bullying, but playground bullying. And by the way, her tormenters were also Black. Boggles the imagination that a child that young would figure out how to die. The news article I read didn’t say how she managed it.

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  3. There are cases where people who use social media or texting, etc., to bully or even directly encourage suicide have been found guilty. I reported a YouTube video for the first time ever (as far as I recall) a week or two ago. You know how when you’re looking at one video, you might see a similar heading for new choices? I clicked on one of these while listening to music. Someone had deliberately created a misleading title and then put into the sound (and some words in the screen), discouraging things like it was time for the end and no-one likes you.

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    • Sounds like reporting the dodgy video to YouTube was totally appropriate and helpful. Online platforms have become increasingly a significant and even primary way for people to communicate, but it also makes at least some people vulnerable to attack.

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