The picture is of several dusty wine bottles sitting on a wooden shelf or table. Some of the bottles have are faded nearly to illegibility. All of the bottles have a separate paper tag tied to the neck with a loop of brown twine. The tags appear to be typewritten.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Beyond Words

Shots fired overhead and she ducked under the table again. She caught the eyes of her brother across the room right before he disappeared into a blast of smoke.

Alina jumped and gave a gasp of terror, prepared to fight when she felt a hand on her arm.

“Alina!” shouted her husband. “Alina it’s me!”

She opened her eyes and turned to look at her husband’s aged face staring back at her with the same blue eyes that first met her orphaned gaze in that refugee hospital sixty years ago. She snapped back to reality, shaking her head to clear the confusion.

“That’s happening more and more lately,” said her husband. “What was it this time?”

Alina turned her head to look at the old dusty bottles on the museum display with their typewritten tags written in the language of a tormented homeland she left behind.

“Ahh, I see. I am so sorry, I didn’t think . . . or expect . . . I am sorry.” Her husband hung his head lower as the tears started to gather in her eyes.

She looks up at him reassuringly to remind him she was okay, despite the pain that still escaped her soul at such unexpected moments. His compassion for her trauma is what had kept her going all these years. He had made her feel as safe as he was capable of—but some things can never be undone. She stared back at the bottles with a sadness beyond words.


Shannon Leach is a slice-of-life encouragement writer and the owner of A Repurposed Heart and ARH Inspirations. Her authentic stories and books about leadership, life, and loving people focus on encouraging others and reminding them they are not alone. Her work can also be found in Guideposts and multiple Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Work and is the co-founder of the nonprofit The Fostered Gift.

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1 thought on “Beyond Words”

  1. A Repurposed Heart

    There are people in this world that do unspeakable things, stealing the voices of those who can never forget. We must keep shining light for those who can’t speak for themselves. ~Shannon

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