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  • Writer's pictureNikolina Hudak

A Bulb Don't See its Own Light

Every day, after work, I sit on the same bench, overlooking the only patch of green on this block, and eat a bologna and provolone sandwich. It’s my one respite in an otherwise strenuous day. My job is demanding; my spouse is no better, and let’s just not talk about my kids. The 15 minutes I lot myself “alone” time, is very precious to me. So, when this time is interrupted by a stranger with a loose tongue, I cannot prevent my irritation from bubbling to the surface.

“What a beautiful day. I can’t imagine a more beautiful day. Don’t you think?” ey asked me.

I grunted in reply.

“This reminds me of the time my little one decided to create a boat made of sticks and leaves. T’wasn’t a water boat, mind you, but one to ‘float on the trees’ ey said.” The stranger smiled. “I asked em why on the trees? Why not the water? Boats are for water. You know what ey said to me? Ey said ‘But water and sky are both blue and it’s the air in the sky that makes the leaves dance, so why not my boat?’” At this ey laughed. “Oh, that child always reminded me how to live. You know?”

“I don’t.” The words escaped my mouth before my brain could stop it. I nearly slapped my hand over my lips. Why did I have to say that?

“Oh,” ey said. “You got kids?”

I froze. I did not want to divulge any personal information to a complete stranger, and yet I did not want to lie either. What to do?

“Ah. You got kids,” eir nod and self-assurance annoyed me. My glare must have finally penetrated eir positive bubble, since ey then said, “You don’t like me, do you?”

Eir honesty took me aback. I released a disgruntled sigh, then said, “I don’t know you well enough to have an opinion.”

“Oh, but you do. You have an opinion. It’s alright. Most people do. I just ignore it. No time for feelin’ bad about bein’ yourself, you know?”

Now I did not expect em to say that. Neither did I expect my unfiltered response. “But what if who you are is nothing but a disappointment and a failure?” I realized I wasn’t talking about em, but did ey know that?

Ey slowly turned to me. I expected to see anger in eir eyes, but what I found there was pity. Somehow, that was worse. Ey put a gentle hand on my shoulder and said, “The only failure you have is you failing to see your Truth. I can see it, but you seem blind. So, let me tell you what I see. I see a strength to survive in there,” ey placed a finger on my heart. “I see a person that works hard for eir family. You burn yourself on both ends just to make sure they have what they need, don’t you?”

I couldn’t meet eir gaze. How could a stranger say these things to me? Ey didn’t know me. Did ey?

“It’s plain to see for me, cuz I had those same eyes. I know them days; lived them days. And I got through them days. Just as you’ll get through this. You don’t see your strength, like a bulb don’t see its own light. Don’t you fret, your day will come when this storm will pass, and you’ll enjoy the sun again.”

When I looked up, ey patted my chin and somehow eir smile didn’t seem so irritating anymore. Ey said, “I’ll see you around kiddo.”

I never saw that person again, but I’ll never forget eir kind words.

All rights reserved. Copyright ©Nikolina Hudak aka Nikki Hudak


Author's note:

This was a writing exercise using randomized selected runes. It's a game a friend and I enjoy playing from time to time. The runes selected were:

1. Beorc (Birch)Keyword: Family. Relates to nurturing / family accomplishments / good news is coming / new opportunities / regeneration and healing.

2. Dagaz (Day)Keyword: Enlightenment. Relates to spiritual growth and development / developing inner strength, awareness and positivity / able to see the road ahead / attracts good luck and good fortune.

3. Tyr (Justice)Keyword: Truth. Relates to strength, discipline, selflessness and conquering your fears / honesty pays off / demonstrate your leadership skills / success may not come easily, but justice prevails.

In addition to the runes, I wanted to challenge myself by using neopronouns (gender-neutral pronouns). I was inspired by the Spival pronouns (information can be found on: The way in which I utilized these pronouns in this short story is as follows:

He/She equivalent: Ey

Him/Her equivalent: Em

His/Her(s) equivalent: Eir

I hope you enjoyed this short story and what inspired its creation.

- Nikki Hudak -


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