Six Word Stories (14)

The last few months have forced many of us to become all too familiar with ourselves. We have had time to think and think some more. This can be a good thing for people who have neglected themselves, forgetting how to listen to their own voice. Listening to self is important, but it should never be the only voice we seek.

When our world changes, and we are forced to be outwardly silent, may God be able to break though the madness of our own minds and bring his peace.

When this storm has passed, we will all have leaned much about ourselves. Be it rain, or early morning dew that collects on the threads of self, let it show the things we have forgotten.

May it teach us things we have never known before.

Through it may we persevere together with the people we hold dear. Holding on to love, and the one who loves us the most.

The cord in this image could represent many things. For me and mine, it’s God.

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef

Photos sourced from unsplash.com

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Look Beyond

Look into the eyes of difference and see beauty.

Look into the face of change to see hope.

Look beyond normal and find promise.

Face the eyes of beyond and find a new bond.

A bond, unafraid to go beyond.

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef

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Six Word Stories (13)

I used to choose a seat closest to the doors, in the single cubbies to either side of the true passenger compartments.

“Why do you sit here all alone? It’s dangerous for a single girl.”

I had never thought of it as dangerous before the question. I enjoyed the nods and light conversation with strangers. Many of them dressed roughly, carrying bikes, or oversized backpacks.

I remember one early morning two backpacking couples joined me in the cramped space. The men sat on the ground closest to the sliding doors. I moved my backpack to make room for the two women, tired and clearly already stressed. They didn’t speak Dutch or French or even German, but their chitchat was earnest and careful.

One man wished me well on my journey in English, nodding at my bag as proof I was a kind of comrade, before departing.

The contrast from those small cubbies to the larger passenger compartments with row after row of benches is striking. Few words are ever spoken. Everyone keeps their heads bowed, their minds busy on themselves, appearing to ignore everyone else on the commute. Even so, with the clatter of the train, the call of the ticket master, and the shuffle of shoes, there is a strange companionship.

I have spent quite a few hours waiting on train platforms. In the early morning, or late in the evening, I have found them to hold a strange peace.

Everyone has somewhere, and nowhere to go. Everyone is expectant, yet bored. Isn’t that just like life can be?

I would finally reach my destination in the shadows of night. Night grows and shrinks things. It hides and reveals. It is a different world than daylight, and many people fear it. But I don’t. I know that is only because I have been kept safe. I am blessed.

Night has always been my refuge. Not a time of hiding, but a time of quiet. A time when others retreat, leaving the streets almost empty. The dirt of the day is pushed to the sides, and lays waiting for the morning to come. It’s hidden in the shadows, but it still whispers to the world all the stories it holds. Every cigarette butt, every discarded coffee cup that missed the trash can. Even the caked on muck, scraped from boots at the end of the day. It will all tell you a story, if you only stop and listen.

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef

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One More Time

She poses, one hand at her waist, one lifted as if to invite a question. One skate blade poised, toe and tip to ice. The other is ready to propel her body into motion.
She stands there, frozen, every muscle straining then relaxing, waiting. Then it comes, gentle notes drifting out of her deep and buttoned coat pocket.

Arms move with grace to the music only she can hear. Sturdy legs propel her forward, around in a steady half spin, and stop. She bows to the woods. There is no human in sight to witness this dance on ice. The snow-ladened evergreens shimmer in the bright sunlight, the naked birch is unafraid to bare all its beauty.


More notes come. Arms and legs now work as one to propel her form across the sheet of ice. The air smells of cold crystals, mixed with sun. Her own breath reveals its presence in puffs of white.


“Count Mary Ann.” She speaks to herself in the quiet.
“One, and two, then stop. Three, then four, and glide.”


Bare fingers stretch to the sky as one, a gentle turn while holding speed. One leg lifted ready, arms controlled but relaxed. Speed perfect, she punches the ice with power. The tip of her skate kicking up an ice shower. For a split second she is free of the earth, then down to touch the ice again. One rotation, but well done. Balance perfect, arms out and poised. The tones from her pocked lifted with her to spin and again down, slowing. Now they resemble the slow trickle of a stream, gentle and playful.


Wind sends the naked branches into a gentle clatter. Her steps become skips across the ice. Build speed, turn, then building again.


“One more time!”
Her heart beating faster, her breath fogging the air behind her, her toque threatening to fall away, but ignored.
“One and two and, oh!”


The blade of her skate finds ripples she had carved in to the ice some days ago. The uneven surface jolts her sideways and down she falls. Bare hands stop her face from touching the ice sheet. They are red from cold. The air chilled them as she moved through her dance and now pressed to the ice, it stings. The surface a beautiful shimmer but biting.


A deep sigh pushes itself from her chest out in to the daylight. She closes her eyes. An unexpected fall. Checking her lumps. One, two, three, four. Jared, but all in the right place.
“It’s okay, Mary Ann. One more time.”


She pushes herself up, a slide and a momentary wobble are evidence her internal rhythm needs righting. Once firmly on the blades of her skates face to the sun, she checks her pocket. The phone is still in one piece. Time to start the song over again.


Ruby red fingers fumble for a moment as again a guest of wind rattles the branches. There clatter is the only sound until in the distance, a dog barks. The others will come soon, there is a need to hurry.


One more time around before the boys take to the ice, sticks in hand. James has promised to bring her hockey stick out for her. She will soon need to change her white skates for the black pair, waiting by the rough-cut log stools.


Breath in, breath out. Pose, one hand on waist, one hand in questioning greeting, toe out.
As the notes once again hum from her pocket, just for her, so starts her dance, only viewed by the trees that line the west side of the rink.

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef

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Six Word Stories (12)

An artist can’t help but leave a part of themselves within their work, whatever form it takes. That is the beauty of art.

I also believe that of creation, and the laws the universe follows. The Creator leaves his fingerprints within every law, truth, and formation in the universe.

Have you ever really noticed the beauty of a frozen pond? Dance on the ice all you want. Chisel it, cut groves. Every frozen ripple tells a story.

But when it’s time, and the sun shines warm, the water will flow again. Is it aware of the imprints it once held?

Words represent ideas, and they flow like water. Their affects travel father then we might think. Be careful with them.

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef

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Lavender (A Dribble)

Lavender crushed between finger and thumb. Only one blossom. The scent gentle but true, only for the person holding it.
Squeezed tighter and then rubbed together. Another whiff of scent. Calmness, a brief shaking stilled.
“Thank you.”
She turned back to the house.
“Carmen, down off the counter.”
“But, Mom!”

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef

A dribble is the modern term used for a story of exactly 50 words. The art of micro-fiction is something I am trying to learn. I don’t always get it right. To bubble the whole of a story into so few words takes something special.

I would love to hear from you if you write short fiction in any form. How do you make your stories a whole, and not just single seen?

To somehow tell the story without telling the story is part of it. Is there more behind it?

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Birth

Arms around me,
holding tight.
Eyes over shoulders,
breaths just right.

Seconds as hours.
“Focus on me!”
Pain with purpose,
a family of three.

Seconds blurred,
moments etched.
My mother’s heart,
pulled, stretched.

“Little one, it’s just
you and me.
We can do this.” Push!
One, two, three.

Gush of ending,
purple and blue.
Rubbed til pink,
each breath it grew.

Birthing a miracle,
forming a bond.
Skin to skin,
suckle, respond.

Heart stopping love,
eyes shimmer true.
Drowning myself
in him, me, and you.

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef

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Six Word Stories (11)

Red is the color of so many things. Holly berries, rose’s, valentine hearts. Red is also the color of loss. Red is the color of grief. Red can be the color of hope.

Some women are relieved by the color red. Some are heart broken. For some it’s a mixture of the two, a sweet painful cocktail of red.

As the world grieves losses, what-ifs and separations, our words mean so much more. May we use their power to build up, rather than tare a part.

The beauty of simple things hide in the strangest of places. Have you wondered what sights a cigarette butt has witnessed? Or what about the frayed fiber from a jacket, pulled free and discarded?

I wonder what stories they could tell us, if they had voices?

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef

Photo’s sources from usplash.

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