The Curve


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1 min
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Gita worked for many years as a newspaper reporter. She did not produce fake news, however eventually she did turn to fiction writing. She grew up in Montreal, Canada, but now lives in Alabama. Go  [+]

Image of Spring 2019

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Wade Harmon died Saturday, driving his John Deere eastward on the back fifty. The tractor idled until it ran out of fuel, and when he didn't come in for lunch, Mavis walked outside and saw it, green and yellow standing out against the long, brown prairie furrows.
She ran to him, but there was no diesel left in the tank with which to carry him home.
My Betty went to their house the next morning with egg-and-bacon casserole and fresh biscuits. They'd laid Wade out in the parlor on a cooling board, the old timey way, in a suit and white shirt, shined shoes and tie.
The next afternoon, people gathered at the graveside to speak of all the ways that Wade had touched their lives. Back in the '60s, Wade had rounded up all the family farmers and started Kansas' first co-op. In those days, we all believed that the communal way of sharing would keep us safe from the long reach of Con-Agra and Archer Daniels Midland, those agribusiness giants spreading across the heartland like a cancer, squeezing the little guy out.
In the 90s, Wade was the first to warn us about Monsanto and the privatization of seeds. Thirty farmers from Coho County drove to Jefferson City and circled the Capitol with our tractors and harvesters in protest.
After the cemetery, folks gathered back at Harmon's farm, some to eat, others to stand by the tractor shed with flasks and tell more stories. Trevor, Wade's eldest, walked me down the rows of spring wheat -- freshly green and hopeful -- to the spot where Wade had died.
Grief has a steep curve, and each of us -- sons, wives, best friends -- has to climb that curve somehow and make it down the other side.
We talked until the light was gone, talked about who would harvest the crop, talked about Mavis' future, about tractors and ethanol and prices of corn. We were just two men on a patch of ground, navigating the curve of grief the best we could while whippoorwills sang their dirge and the stars leaned down a little closer.
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Image of AB AB
AB AB · ago
Beautiful and poetic story
Image of Michaël Artvic
Image of Valerie Johnson
Valerie Johnson · ago
This is beautiful. You took me there to that place and time. Thank you, Gita!
Image of Isabel Sloane
Isabel Sloane · ago
This is a very good story, with a wonderful sense of place. We're drawn immediately into the middle of what's happening. I'm so sorry to hear that apparently you didn't win, but you deserved to.
Image of TLC
TLC · ago
Grief has a steep curve... Exceptional piece. You deserve to win.
Image of GITA
GITA · ago
Well, unfortunately the judges didn’t see it that way.
Image of Jessica Normile
Jessica Normile · ago
Nice flash story with an honest voice
Image of Sandra Davies
Sandra Davies · ago
Such a strong voice.
Image of Thara
Thara · ago
I like your story "The Curve"...
Image of GITA
GITA · ago
Thank you! You are very kind.
Image of Kim
Kim · ago
I can see everything in my mind! Great story!
Image of Robert McEvily
Robert McEvily · ago
Congrats Gita - great story!
Image of Prince Gusto
Prince Gusto · ago
excellent story, hope you win!
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GITA · ago
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my story and two comments. You are a prince.
Image of Matt Paust
Matt Paust · ago
Moving sweep of a life you made me care about.
Image of Bob Johnson
Bob Johnson · ago
first-rate wordsmithing, G. love it.
Image of Janie
Janie · ago
Gita, this is very well written!
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GITA · ago
Thank you, for real.
Image of Pop
Pop · ago
Gita:
Well done.
Ralph (AKA Pop)

Image of GITA
GITA · ago
Thanks you are sweet.
Image of Dashenka
Dashenka · ago
congratulations!
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duggles · ago
Gita inspires me to write.
Image of Mud Job
Mud Job · ago
One of the best writers we have. Gita never disappoints.
Image of Diane Payne
Diane Payne · ago
Excellent, as always! Such an economy of words.
Image of Baruch
Baruch · ago
Hits both the high and the low notes. I feel like I was there. B
Image of CAB
CAB · ago
I voted for it ! It is very good and deserving! C. Boyd
Image of Doro
Doro · ago
It says 11 months ago, but I just posted that on Apr.8, 2019? What goes?
Image of GITA
GITA · ago
Other people have had the same strange response.
Image of Doro
Doro · ago
You rule, Gita!
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Cathy Donelson · ago
Reminds me of family country funerals growing up. My grandpa died on a tractor at 86. True story!
Image of Priscilla Duncan
Image of GITA
GITA · ago
Thanks for liking it.
Image of Susan
Susan · ago
Wonderful story.
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PhilRUp · ago
Gita can pack more punch into a few words than any writer I've ever known. The Curve epitomizes that fabulous economy.
Image of John Febbroriello
John Febbroriello · ago
I have known gita for years and she is one of the brightest compassionate persons II have known. I have read her poetry and prose through the years and it is always enlightning. Whatever she creates and writes is the type of masterpiece that you cannot avoid rereading over and over again
Image of Anne Anthony
Anne Anthony · ago
Vote worthy! Great story!!
Image of Marie-Louise Mills
Marie-Louise Mills · ago
Good luck you are great! I’ll tell you about Spoleto later after your win!
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GITA · ago
Thank you Marie Louise. Much appreciated.
Image of Marie-Louise Mills
Marie-Louise Mills · ago
Beautifully written Gita! Marie-Louise
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Elizabeth · ago
Great job! I would love to leave a vote but at the moment my phone isn’t working and it won’t let me vote. When I get the chance to I will !
Image of GITA
GITA · ago
Is your phone working yet? I could use a vote.
Image of James Claffey
James Claffey · ago
Really enjoyed this piece of writing. Nicely done, Gita.
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Steve · ago
Good job, Lily.
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GITA · ago
Thank You for taking the time to read my story. Much appreciated.
Image of Rod Fruendt
Rod Fruendt · ago
A very down to earth slice of life. Enjoyed reading it very much.
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Hugonem · ago
A powerful last song from the country VS the 'City'.
Image of GITA
GITA · ago
Thank you for the comment. Why no vote?
Image of Joan
Joan · ago
Thank you for your vote Gita. I like your story I can really picture what arable farming is like in the USA. I found your story touching. Joan
Image of GITA
GITA · ago
Thank you Joan. Wish you had voted.
Image of Pop
Pop · ago
Hello GITA:

Very nice story, I like it from the start.

Pop

Image of GITA
GITA · ago
Thank you, Pop. I appreciate your taking the time to read it!
Image of Not-Only But-Also Riley
Not-Only But-Also Riley · ago
I have to admit, as a "city boy", a lot of these issues and ideas have never really been given much thought by me. Of course, I've heard of them, and I've understood that they're issues, but they just aren't something I ever see, let alone experience. That said, your story takes these things that are so specific to a certain community, and puts them right next to grief, which is universal and human. I can't help but draw a parallel, and recognize that just as their grief is the same as mine, so is their struggle with their issues. A story that can strike such a realization in me is certainly a good one. And that last line is killer. Great work here.
Image of GITA
GITA · ago
Ironically, I too am a city girl. Montreal and Atlanta -- no farm background. But I write fiction, and Wade Harmon and community came to me out of the same place as all my fiction does. Now, I did know from reading the news about Con Agra and other megabusinesses taking over family farms. So I used that information to form the spine of the story. Thank you for your thoughtful comments.
Image of Cathy Rebhun
Cathy Rebhun · ago
Lovely. Vivid characters and scene in just a few words!
Image of Josh Dale
Josh Dale · ago
Very gritty and reflective of Faulkner's A Rose for Emily. I enjoyed the pastoral element as well.
Image of GITA
GITA · ago
Thank you for your comment on my story. A few years ago I was in Kansas during the terrible drought and I noticed that all the corn was brown. That image stuck with me and I’ve pondered what it must be like to be a farmer under difficult circumstances. That eventually led to this story.
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waterfallwriter · ago
Poignant and powerful. Thank you for sharing this story.
Image of Jennifer
Jennifer · ago
I loved the title, such a great way to capture the grieving process. The story has enormous integrity in the writing, capturing a way of life and a people.
Image of Jess
Jess · ago
Love the perspective of this short piece -- great work! Take a vote :D
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Nwaokwu CBenard · ago
Not only are you fantastic at your job, but you have also proven yourself to be a loving and caring person, both in the keyboard and out in the world. Thank you for being there for me and teaching me so much.
Image of Sam Boskey
Sam Boskey · ago
Hurrah for klass konsciousness in Kansas!
Image of Dashenka
Dashenka · ago
"We were just two men on a patch of ground, navigating the curve of grief the best we could..." :)
Image of GITA
GITA · ago
Thank you very much.
Image of Tony Tarlo
Tony Tarlo · ago
Beautiful poignant images so simply expressed. love it!
Image of GITA
GITA · ago
Thank you, Tony! That means a lot to me.
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User deactivated · ago
Lovely images and so much said in few words. Well done.
Image of Operamom
Operamom · ago
Beautifully written. Reminds me of my farming relatives and saddens me, too. Good luck. Thanks for your vote and invitation to read this.
Image of GITA
GITA · ago
But your vote hasn’t shown up.
Image of GITA
GITA · ago
Thank yo Martha. I am pleased you liked it.
Image of MarthaM
MarthaM · ago
You paint a lovely picture with your words.
Image of Wes Wood
Wes Wood · ago
Nice Gita. I like the agricultural setting.
Image of Tabitha Potts
Tabitha Potts · ago
Lovely - says so much in such a small space
Image of Ang
Ang · ago
Nice job Gita!
Image of Ann Sutherland
Ann Sutherland · ago
Nicely captured. Love the very last image, 'navigating the curve of grief'. Good luck!
Image of Bill Yarrow
Bill Yarrow · ago
Hope you win! (You deserve to.)
Image of GITA
GITA · ago
Well, there's one chap with over 500 votes. Not sure how that's possible, but fingers crossed. Thanks for taking the time to read.
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Marian Carcache · ago
Well done, Gita, as always!
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Dymos Pune · ago
Hi Gita. I really like your story. It's the best written off all those I've read on here (well, there's mine of course) and gives a great picture. I've worked with farmers in poor countries where the privatisation and the loss of indigenous seeds creates huge dependence. I give you THREE votes.
Image of Michael Solender
Michael Solender · ago
Well done my Gita, well done!
Image of GITA
GITA · ago
Thank you very much.
Image of Danie Botha
Danie Botha · ago
Gita,
You achieved much within such a short span of words. Concise and punctuated. Well done. Your closing sentence says it all, "We were just two men on a patch of ground, navigating the curve of grief the best we could while whippoorwills sang their dirge and the stars leaned down a little closer."

Image of Mud Job
Mud Job · ago
Excellently rendered. Gita seems to nail the moment without even trying. It's in the authenticity of her voice.
Image of GITA
GITA · ago
Michael, Thank you very much.
Image of GITA
GITA · ago
Thank you very much.
Image of Lisa Price
Lisa Price · ago
could picture everyting, loved the descriptive quality of the piece - in just a short time, I knew the people and cared about them
Image of GITA
GITA · ago
I could picture them, too, even though I'm a city girl. Funny how that happens.
Image of Shauna McClure
Shauna McClure · ago
This is a graceful and moving piece.
Image of GITA
GITA · ago
Thank you very much.
Image of John E. Phillips
John E. Phillips · ago
Vivid story that painted the people, the person and the family and let you know their values, what they held dear and made you feel their grief. Great jobg!
Image of Andrea Fine
Andrea Fine · ago
This is a sensitive examination of a big subject. Loss on many levels.
Image of GITA
GITA · ago
Thanks, Andrea.
Image of James Baker
James Baker · ago
Dying alone at work beside your tractor. Your closest loved one seeing the finality of your life without getting to say goodbye. Yes, it is a ,"steep curve."
Image of GITA
GITA · ago
Thank you very much.
Image of Keith Simmonds
Keith Simmonds · ago
A well written, powerful and touching story, Gita ! My votes ! What about having a look at mine, “The Awakening”, and tell me what you think? Thanks in advance! https://short-edition.com/en/story/3-min/the-awakening-1
Image of Kay Powell
Kay Powell · ago
"The Curve" captures multiple complex emotions and dilemmas succinctly. Evocative.
Image of GITA
GITA · ago
Thank you, Kay.
Image of Priscilla Duncan
Image of GITA
GITA · ago
Thank you very much.
Image of Beth Smith
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GITA · ago
Wow. Thank you very much.
Image of Justapedestrian
Justapedestrian · ago
Liked that the "stars leaned down a little closer." Grief does seem to lay the senses bare, make objects in the night sky appear closer than they really are, and the whippoorwills' song more sweet in the whistling. Nice work, G.
Image of GITA
GITA · ago
Thank you very much.
Image of Peggy Roberts
Peggy Roberts · ago
Powerful at a time in life when grief is too familiar
Image of GITA
GITA · ago
Yes, way too familiar.
Image of Tutu
Tutu · ago
Vividly evocative.
Image of GITA
GITA · ago
Thank you very much.
Image of Gail Smith Langley
Image of GITA
GITA · ago
That's very kind. Thank you very much.
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GITA · ago
Sorry, sweetie. But I am glad if the story touched you.
Image of John E. Phillips
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GITA · ago
Thanks, Bubba.
Image of Mary Bartlett
Mary Bartlett · ago
Simple and powerful. Lovely too.
Image of GITA
GITA · ago
Thank you very much.
Image of Hope
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GITA · ago
I try to be! Thank you very much.
Image of Tinsel
Tinsel · ago
Thanks for another slice of the curve
Image of GITA
GITA · ago
Thank you very much.
Image of Maire Martello
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GITA · ago
Thank you very much.
Image of Betsy
Betsy · ago
Lovely as always!
Image of GITA
GITA · ago
You have always supported me and I thank you.
Image of Paul de Denus
Paul de Denus · ago
The simplicity of life and death- on the curve of the circle- great piece!
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GITA · ago
Thank you very much.
Image of krewdi
krewdi · ago
Wonderfully evocative!
Image of GITA
GITA · ago
Thank you very much.
Image of Bootsy Haynes
Bootsy Haynes · ago
Navigating the curve of grief is one of the best lines I've ever read.
Image of GITA
GITA · ago
You are sweet to say that.
Image of Jenn
Image of GITA
GITA · ago
Thank you, Jenn.