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A condition of understanding oneself to be in the early stages of physical disease with the purpose of creating social bonding. Differentiated from hypochondria by the presence of overt attempts to utilise symptom discussion to engender social bonds, rather than significant underlying health anxiety.

By Hannah MoorePublished 4 months ago 1 min read
Photo by Christian Lue on Unsplash

Jolene stood by her gate post, studiously disinterested in the world around her as she trimmed a perfect rose. Mercy spotted her from the corner, and watched as Jolene paused, looked around her, and then slowly made the same cut an inch lower. She crossed the street, hoping to make it to her own front door unobserved.

“Oh, Mercy! You made me jump!” Jolene’s feigned surprise cut across the 20 feet between them.

“Morning Jolene, busy morning!”

The other woman did not take the hint. “Same”, she said, “I got the doctor at 11, trouble with my bowel again.”

“Oh, I’m sorry Jolene, that’s been giving you a bad run, hasn’t it.”

“They say it might be crohn’s but the doctor wants to run some tests.”

“Well, I’m glad they’re looking after you.”

“I’m going to ask about my headaches too. You know I always get headaches, but these have been so strange the last few weeks, it’s like pressing….”

“Morning ladies”. Mark appeared between the women, his Labrador pulling on the lead. Mercy took the chance to edge further out of easy conversational distance.

“Morning Mark, how’s your back?”

“Not great Jolene, thanks for asking. Its...”

“I was just telling Mercy, my headaches have been very strange lately, I’m hardly able to get any sleep!”

Mercy gladly handed the baton to Mark and headed inside.

“Morning darling, how was your walk?” her husband greeted her from the kitchen.

“Nice. Except…you remember that pain I had in my leg…..”


About the Creator

Hannah Moore

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  3. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

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Comments (15)

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  • Kristen Balyeat4 months ago

    Great word and story to go along with it! It actually broke my heart….Such a desire for connection, commonality. Well done!💫

  • Kendall Defoe 4 months ago

    This one got to me... ;)

  • Donna Renee4 months ago

    This is so sad. So lonely. So desperate 😩❤️

  • If I was Mercy, I would bave been to grateful to Mark, lol. As an introvert, I just cannotttttt with small talk. It takes a huge toll on me. Loved your story!

  • Celia in Underland4 months ago

    Perfectly captured. I hate this kind of small talk so much! Like anyone gives a damn about your ailments. Thought the ending struck me like a meteor-very sad. Its one thing out in the world, another in the internal. Don't know if I am making any sense but it made me tear up x

  • Dana Crandell4 months ago

    This is one I'm going to have to commit to memory. "How are you today?" is probably one of the most regretted questions ever.

  • Paul Stewart4 months ago

    oh dear this goes hand in hand with people who try to engage by talking about the weather, prices...etc! great entry!

  • Lamar Wiggins4 months ago

    Nice entry! I could see this one being used a lot. Maybe doctors should start using it to diagnose the feeling.

  • Cathy holmes4 months ago

    Very creative, and I know exactly what you mean. Well done.

  • Mother Combs4 months ago

    I like this. Great job

  • Joe Patterson4 months ago

    Good job.

  • Rachel Deeming4 months ago

    You know, I've been having some trouble with my leg too... Excellent.

  • Naveed 4 months ago

    I also like the way you use foreshadowing to hint at what might happen next.

  • C.S LEWIS4 months ago

    wow this is great job you can also join my friends and read what i have prepare for you

  • Novel Allen4 months ago

    Very nice. I was thinking along those lines and ended up with something totally unrelated. The mind is a versatile thing. Nicely done.

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