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the touch

For the Just a Minute Challenge

By Hannah MoorePublished about a month ago 3 min read
Runner-Up in Just a Minute Challenge
the touch
Photo by Alexander Grey on Unsplash

I dropped my trousers, underwear too, and plonked my bottom over the loo. Sighing like it was the first sit down since breakfast, I propped my elbows on my knees and lifted my phone to my face. It was not the first sit down since breakfast. In fact, since breakfast, I had done little more than sit down, but there is something arduous about sitting for work purposes, and I had been working for well over three quarters of an hour.

The screen lit up, sensing my readiness to engage. Or disengage. Depending which side of the equation you were looking at the situation from. I gazed for an eye-glazing moment at the beaming faces of my family wallpapering my home screen, and opened Facebook without piercing the glaze in the slightest. Advert, meme, advert, someone I don’t know, on a group I don’t recall joining, asking if anyone has been to Disneyland with a three year old and whether it was it worth it, meme, advert, acquaintance from the job before the job before this one pressing cheeks with a stranger and grinning, meme. I was sinking so far into the glaze that there was a risk of smothering brain cells.

As the sticky ooze of my voluntary dissociation threatened to close over my last spark of interest, a small black dot appeared in the corner of the screen, a thin rope extended to a drowning soul. I grabbed it with the one finger of motivation left to me.

“Maryam Dern published a new story”

Disappointment skulked across my mind, but briefly so. One always hopes a little for “Maryam Dern commented on your story”, after all, but a new story by Maryam was itself something to be glad of, and I navigated to the tale on automatic pilot.

Athena’s Wrath

Cold comfort

By Maryam Dern

Published 1 minute ago. 1 minute read

I thought, momentarily, of the report open on my laptop at my desk and decided one minute would be neither here nor there, and I would rather be here than there in truth. I started to read.


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My thumb hovered over the screen. The piece was short, far less than a minute, but with a punch that had made me glad of the privacy of my situation.

Great poem, loved you……delete delete delete.

Nice one. Delete.

I sighed and allowed myself to feel again that sorrow that had licked at my diaphragm as I read the second stanza, that zip of recognition, electric across unknown distances, crumpling swathes of earth and life to momentarily bring me to within one arm’s length of this woman I had never met, and knew like the tendons of my keyboard spread hands. I touched again the awe that had covered my mind, a gauzy silk, sheened to reveal in glistened hues the wonder of another mind even as it hid from view the heft of it, fingered the green embroidered border between simmering self-doubt and admiration. Again, I passed the rhythm of that opening line across the ceiling of my mouth, the back of my teeth, the bounce of my lips, delighted in its synchronicity with some internal metre that beat within me. And again, I felt the gathered wet in my eye, the stinging spring of remembrance of something yet to cloud my sky.

“Maryam, this was magnificent writing. You’ve made me cry!”

I wondered how I could be so inarticulate, in the face of this beauty painted in twelve rows of printed letters. I wondered how I could feel more alive, after one minute with another’s words.


Somewhere else, across a river, and past the hills, and over the sea, Maryam noted the little number 1 pop into being over the picture of the bell on her screen. She clicked on it, ready to read now she had finished her poem. “Hannah Moore commented on your story”. She was surprised, it had only been published a minute ago.

“Maryam, this was magnificent writing. You’ve made me cry!”

Maryam felt her heart, still laying in shredded strips inside her ribcage, begin to coalesce. Barely perceptibly, she smiled. Perhaps, today, she might get dressed.

Short Story

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. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  1. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  2. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  3. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

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Comments (25)

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  • CJ Miller17 days ago

    Congrats! I love that you went in such a unique direction with the prompt, and with great success! What a sweet, perfectly described tribute to the connectivity here. 💜

  • Anna 18 days ago

    Congrats on your win!<3

  • Wooohooooo congratulations on your win! 🎉💖🎊🎉💖🎊

  • Natasha Collazo21 days ago

    This is how I feel every-time I see “Hannah Moore posted a new story” I know it’s always gonna be a minute worth my time that enhances my learning and inspires the fire out my longing soul educating the desire to crave words pieced so brilliantly together. Good work! Delete delete Well done!!

  • Babs Iverson22 days ago

    Congratulations on the runner up win!!!💕❤️❤️

  • Annie22 days ago

    Yep! This lands! Bravo - well done xoxo

  • Randy Baker22 days ago

    This is brilliant. Congrats on your Challenge placement. It's well-deserved.

  • Cathy holmes22 days ago

    oh wow. Can't believe I missed this. This is really well done, and the ending took my breath away. Well done and congrats.

  • Congrats on placing!!

  • Paul Stewart22 days ago

    How'd I miss this. You've done it again, Hannah. This is some beaaaaaautiful writing. Congrats on placing in the challenge. and congrats for creating such a vivid and relatable story that we've all experienced. "Paul Stewart commented on your story"

  • JBaz22 days ago

    Back to give you a BIG congratulations I really enjoyed this story, the ending still hit me the same as when I read it before. So Happy this got recognition

  • John Cox22 days ago

    Swung back to congratulate you on placing in the challenge . Richly deserved!

  • L.C. Schäferabout a month ago

    I've been Maryam, and I've been Hannah 👏

  • Rachel Deemingabout a month ago

    This was just so good! It made me recognise myself, made me laugh, made me marvel at your language, made me all warm inside at the end. I've been pulled hither and thither like a kid on the Waltzers and I loved every second.

  • D.K. Shepardabout a month ago

    Love what you did with taking such a relatable moment for creators in this platform and making it such a spectacular scene. I feel like this captured a moment of magic in the midst of what could have remained mundane

  • Sonia Heidi Unruhabout a month ago

    Have you ever had a dream where you read something absolutely glorious and moving and brilliant, and feel the stinging envy of longing to write like that, and then wake up and realize that you DID write like that? Even though you can't remember a word of it? That's what this story reminds me of ... with you as the dreamer! We don't need to see the poem because what matters most is the impact it has on its readers -- both within and beyond the narrative. So, here I am, reading your story, and I get to that part about savoring another's writing. And my soul is nodding its head, saying, Yes! That's it exactly! That's how I feel *right now* reading this glorious description of reading ... Mind blown at "the green embroidered border between simmering self-doubt and admiration." Admiration indeed!

  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarranabout a month ago

    We never know how much impact our words would have on anyone. That is why it's important to always be kind. I love how your comment impacted Maryam in such a positive way. This was so wonderful!

  • Caroline Cravenabout a month ago

    Gotta be honest. When I see ‘Hannah Moore has published a story’ I’m pretty happy and look forward to reading your work. Great entry. Good luck Hannah.

  • John Coxabout a month ago

    You’re simply in a class by yourself when you put your writer’s cap on, Hannah. I love that you took the implied drama out of the just a minute challenge to demonstrate the potential power in something as mundane as a potty break. It’s amazing, isn’t, the power of a kind word?

  • Donna Fox (HKB)about a month ago

    Wow, I love imagery and forethought of this piece! The peek behind the veil so-to-speak, at the beauty of what we experience as writers through this Vocal community! Love how relatable and warm this was!

  • Christy Munsonabout a month ago

    Boom. Drops pen? Keyboard? Mouse? Coffee? Mic! Definitely drops mic. Walks off. Done. I'm done. That was brilliant! LOVED IT!

  • Thavien Yliasterabout a month ago

    *Stands up* *Gives this a round of applause* *Fears that my pants are around my ankles and that I'm in the loo and that my pants my get dirty from a stain of-* *Remembers that was You, playing Yourself, as Your character* *Exestential dread leaves* I will admit I love receiving comments on my content. It absolutely does make my day and spreads a smile on my face. Especially when those comments tell me about what drew them in to my writing in the first place. I like how You got drewn into Maryam's writing, and how You described the feeling, the sensation of her words washing over You, as if they enveloped You. Lowkey, I felt like that today when I read Gina C.'s recent top story. I think it's titled "Illusions," if I'm correct. It's such a lovely poem. Ngl though, there's tomes when I've checked the notifications and have just sighed cause I was like "No comments or replies to my comments." I don't mind seeing publications, cause then I wouldn't have new stuff to explore and comment on. Yet, as much as I look forward to publishing my own stuff I also look forward to people's insights on my work.

  • Joe O’Connorabout a month ago

    Oooh the meta in this. I like the balance between self-deprecating and then appreciation, the switch in narration, and the insight into the internal monologue of someone else. “fingered the green embroidered border between simmering self-doubt and admiration”- great line. And the ending is excellent 👏🏾 Subtle, but powerful. Nicely done Hannah!

  • JBazabout a month ago

    Complelling read. Start with a comedic touch, hold us on with a little suspense of where this is going. Then the final line. Hannah a powerful packed story.

  • Matthew Frommabout a month ago

    Once again, your command of your prose got me feeling all the ways

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