Five Things

I want to tell her the five most important things she needs to know before she leaves, but we haven’t spoken all morning.

I made the coffee without being asked. She took it the same way.

I say five, but there could be more.

I’m sure there are more, but five is a good, round number, I think. Enough but not too many, not too many things to carry with her. She wouldn’t listen beyond five, anyway.

A calm has settled over her. I say five, but really, there’s only one thing, only one thing to tell her. Don’t go.


Manuel Gonzales is a writer living in Austin, Texas. His collection of stories, The Miniature Wife & Other Stories, will be published in January by Riverhead Books. Read more of his work online at

Photo Credit: Sophia Nowhere

5 Responses to “Five Things”

  1. Mark Bacon says:

    This is one of the most beautiful FF stories I’ve ever read. I wish I wrote it. I rediscovered it yesterday. A fellow ff writer and I are doing a local ff reading of our stories and we’ve each selected two other stories by other writers. I will be reading your story. It’s wonderful. At first I thought it was a mother talking to a daughter. Then I read it as a man talking to a wife or girlfriend. Congratulations.

  2. Eva Deverell says:

    I noticed it’s 105 words. 🙂

  3. Mark B says:

    This story will look good printed on those mugs you sell in your stores.

  4. Rhonda Shary says:

    Dear Manuel, what a complicated familiar emotional state told as methodically as counting but with the subtlety of a spell. Loved it. (Even though I shouldn’t have, and am not supposed to, I wanted to know the other four things, though…) AND was glad for the link to your tumblr, and to have read those, especially Trifle. Wow. Looking forward to The Miniature Wife.

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