I am Needed

Today I pack white coat, stethoscope, pharmacopoeia, certificates.

Tearfully I make farewells to neighbours, colleagues, postman, favourite publican and baristas; to Dutch uncles, friends and lovers.

Sadly I cut up campus card, library card, museum card.

Dry-eyed I scissor bank cards, store loyalty cards.

I leave surfboard, skate board, bicycle on the porch for tomorrow’s guest.

I kneel and kiss the gloriously damp and verdant carpet blanketing this rich soil, feast eyes on the many greens, ears on the symphony of running water; inhale nature’s sweet perfumes.

I say goodbye, goodbye.

For my people and Africa call. I am needed.


For Friday Fictioneers 100 word challenge.


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65 Responses to I am Needed

  1. Good-byes, necessary, but so bittersweet. Touching piece.

  2. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Patrick,

    Nice rhythm in your story, Patrick. You captured his voice and his longing well.



  3. Patrick, What a dedicated young doctor. He seems to have a deep love of his country and its people to give up so much and go back. Many would not do it. You gave such detailed description that I could see him preparing for the trip. Well done. 🙂 —Susan

  4. Dear Patrick,

    All has been pretty much said. How tempting to stay where it’s comfortable, but he’s obviously man of purpose and integrity. Well done, sir. Well done indeed. 😀



  5. Sun says:

    i sense your character embraced the important aspects from this educational period . . . the relationships and special memories made to the natural beauty encountered. not so important, the bank cards. a lesson for all – thanks!

  6. R. E. Hunter says:

    Nice one. Had me following along eagerly to see what he was leaving it all behind for. Good to see it was for a good reason.

  7. What an inspiring point of view!

  8. lindarigsbee says:

    I enjoyed that. I really felt for that person.

  9. Lovely piece. Usually listing” drives me crazy but it works so very well in this.

  10. MythRider says:

    Would you be interested in writing for an anthology?
    Rhys Christopher Ethan is looking for authors to write something based on an urban legend.
    Here is the address and password for you to check out the project and leave a message of your interest.

  11. MythRider says:

    Sad but beautiful. Time to go home. I like.
    Interesting, I wrote of one returning home.

  12. erinleary says:

    A lovely farewell to all he knows, I enjoyed how you took him through all the steps in so few words.

  13. Lovely story – well captured in cut up student and bank cards and brought together in the last line. I was thinking he was joining Medicins sans frontieres, but whichever, he sounds a good person and you rendered this perfectly.

    • Thanks for that. I think he’s from a remote African village, the only member to ever leave for the big town, schooling etc. And now facing up to his obligations.

  14. Nan Falkner says:

    Dear Patrick, Great story and I applaud the man for going back to his Africa needs him! Well done! Nan 🙂

  15. It could be quite difficult to stay the course when the more pleasant alternatives beckon, but I’m glad to see he’s resolute. We need more of these people. Good one, Patrick, and very different.


  16. Lucy says:

    How tough it must be to train in one place and have friends, but needed elsewhere, as was the original plan. I enjoyed your story. Lucy

  17. I love that dedication.. these are people that are needed in the world.. and reward hopefully comes in some way.

  18. wmqcolby says:

    That is something you just can’t let go of very easily, is it? I know how it is in other ways.
    Sad-sweet story. Wonderful!

  19. rgayer55 says:

    a bittersweet story. I like how you captured the sadness of leaving and the call of home. We train a lot of doctors in this country. I always wondered how many of them return home to fulfill the promises made to the friends and family of their native land.

  20. Amy Reese says:

    What a poignant story, Patrick. It’s filled with hope like a symphony of running water and offers a unique perspective. It would be hard to leave such a pretty place!

  21. Lovely take on the prompt — metaphorical and rich with the promise and mist of the future beyond the borders of the fence.

  22. Sarah Ann says:

    Such a love story for our damp and pleasant land, where most of us spend too much time complaining about the rain. Thank you for helping me to see and hear – ‘ears on the symphony of running water. 🙂

  23. Alice Audrey says:

    Three of my high school friends did something like that. One is still living in Africa.

  24. MM Jaye says:

    Poignant, indeed! I’ve read many takes on the prompt that had a punchline, so I was expecting a funny twist, but this is actually better…

    Greetings from Greece!
    Maria (MM Jaye)

    • Thanks for that. Nice words.
      Greece? Hope the sun is shining. I had ten days in Finland a fortnight ago, and it was. Opposite parts of the world. And the Finns (hope nobody is listening) are weird and that’s a matter of national pride for them – they love it.

  25. elappleby says:

    A clever take on the prompt. And it has made me wonder what it must be like for people who travel abroad to study when they eventually return home.

  26. subroto says:

    You’ve captured the long goodbye and a sense of the new looming life adventure really well in this piece.

  27. I hope he is able to have his books shipped, or at least an ebook reader. At any rate, I’m sure he’ll have a journal full of experiences before too long. 😉 Beth

  28. Didn’t know you were a doctor. When you leaving for Africa? Good luck and remember, if some Nigerian general asks if you can transfer some money for him, it’s bound to be genuine. 😉

  29. draliman says:

    A sad goodbye to an old life but it sounds like he or she will be doing a great deal of good in Africa.

    • I see all these foreign students enjoying our rain, our green countryside, our freedoms, and wonder how they feel about going back to the deserts, to the worlds that are so different from ours.

  30. Well done Patrick. Having just been to my son’s college grad, this story spoke to that leaving of a place that has held you for some time. Really nicely done!

  31. Jan Brown says:

    Poignant! But he/she might want to keep his credit cards active a bit longer 😉

  32. The listing of things really works for me. Had to look up Dutch Uncle, good expression, that.

  33. Sandra says:

    Nice piece, and a different take on the prompt.

  34. Honie Briggs says:

    Quite a memorable goodbye. Sounds like someone I’d like to know.

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