Norman Buddle

Recent Stories

Published: Oct 14, 2020

Stories of Love

She looked at him over the papers briefly and continued reading. He sat stiffly in the plastic chair at her desk.

"I do not understand it," she said finally.

"What?" he said. His heart rate increased.

"All the stories are about love." She dropped the papers to her desk.

"It's universal," he offered, hesitant.

"Norman, I doubt that is true."

He felt scolded, young, as he did when his grandmother was displeased with him.

She leaned forward and removed her glasses. "I'm fairly certain I've never been loved," she whispered, as if a secret. But everyone knew.

Published: Aug 30, 2020


Norman walks the bridge each Saturday to visit his sister. Although it's open-air he feels claustrophobic. He imagines being catapulted into the side wires, cutting his skin and forming a bloody, painful grid pattern. He walks quickly, with only slight hesitation and pauses for a moment when he reaches the other side, exhaling as if he's held his breath the whole way across. When he arrives at his sister's he gives her some flowers. He tells her about his week and fills her in on what's going on in the neighborhood. This week Mr. Walters' dog died, likely poisoned. She probably wandered into Mrs. Ratchet's yard again, which everyone knows is laced with weird chemicals. Norman chuckles awkwardly. After an hour he says goodbye and leaves. He forks over the cash for a cab ride thereby avoiding the bridge. He can only bring himself to cross it on foot once a week. He would spring for a cab both ways but the way he sees it, if it weren't for him his sister wouldn't be on the other side of that bridge in the first place. So while everyone else silently punishes him with their it's-not-your-fault and you-couldn't-have-known looks, he has found a way to inflict some well-deserved pain on himself.