Charlie was such a man that he knew life was precious and delicate and always on the edge of catastrophe.

He lived in fear of shadows and things he might bump into if he ever turned a corner.

He spent a fair amount of his day avoiding the unknown and sidestepping curb cuts lest they twist his ankle on unfamiliar terrain.

Charlie did everything he could to preserve his health; he ate fruits and vegetables until he burst; he swallowed vitamins by the barrelful; he visited a doctor every day of the week in the holy effort of preventative medicine.

And yet all this careful living left Charlie feeling empty inside and anxious and doomed.

He couldn’t find a way out of the suffocating feeling that overtook him every time he dared to close his eyes at night.

One day, Charlie — standing on the sidewalk too near a corner — was bumped into by the most beautiful and ravishing woman he’d ever seen.

Charlie stammered an apology and felt the bite of life nibbling the pounding heart inside his swelling chest.

“Sorry,” she said, and as she passed by, he could smell the lilac in her hair conditioner and the aroma of stale, burning, tobacco on her coat.

Charlie nodded to her — even though her fading back was to him — and he smiled for the first time since he could remember and, he thought, “Tomorrow will be better, because there might just be a healthy surprise around the next corner.”

Posted by David Boles

David Boles was born in Nebraska and his MFA is from Columbia University in the City of New York. He is an Author, Lyricist, Playwright, Publisher, Editor, Actor, Designer, Director, Poet, Producer, and Boodle Boy for print, radio, television, film, the web and the live stage. With more than 50 books in print, David continues to write 2MM words a year. He has authored over 25K articles and published more. Read the Prairie Voice Archive at | Buy his books at David Boles Books Writing & Publishing | Earn the world with David Boles University | Get a script doctored at Script Professor | Touch American Sign Language mastery at Hardcore ASL.


  1. Makes you hope that Charlie will see her again!



    1. Yes! Holding thumbs for more unrequited love that heals! SMILE!



  2. […] Boles ← A Careful Man of Cautious Living: Ten Sentence Story #156 […]



  3. …Then he was hit by a bus.

    Sorry, couldn’t resist the 1970s French avant garde ending.



    1. That energy is certainly there! SMILE!



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