All Those Complicated Simple Things


All those complicated simple things that turn life around, turn the world upside down and turn people inside out.

It all looks so simple from the outside. Jodie, a teenager, waiting to become an adult, rails against the hypocrisy, the lies, and the adult compromises both big and small she sees around her. She claims that her life will be different.

She will live for truth, freedom, and justice.

But those are awkward complicated things that are not so simple, not so obvious. Over time, Jodie acquires wisdom and turns her back on the simple answers. Knowing that the simple answers are always wrong, and those that see the world in simple terms are the ones who do not understand.

It all takes time and slowness. It is easy to lose sight of what matters, to let the precious things fall by the wayside in the name of expediency.

So Jodie dropped her placard in a pavement bin and walked away from the marching crowd. She looks across the rows of chanting faces and sees those she regarded as her friends. Their faces contorted in hate and their fists punching the air as though they want to destroy. It doesn’t matter what they destroy as long as they have a crowd, a mob, like them that gives them somewhere to belong. That gives a reason for marching in protest and a simple answer to yet one more complicated thing.

Jodie walks off, the chanting of the crowd falling to a wordless roar with distance, like some wounded dinosaur in some pain that it doesn’t understand or know how to stop.

Then, where the roar of the demonstration ebbs and fades like some storm far out to sea, she slips into an almost empty coffee shop. One of those fashionable and expensive cafes that makes choosing a simple drink such a complicated chore.

Sitting with her plain black coffee at a table near the window, Jodie sees she has a text from her boyfriend. He wonders why she no longer returns his calls. She looks at her phone and wonders what there is left to say to him, now that she is no longer that simple girl she was until only minutes ago.

Jodie looks out through the plate glass window at a world where she thought she belonged. There are people out their purposefully going about lives of which she knows nothing. None of them know, or care, about her, or how she spends her life learning about complicated things that she knows will not get her a job. She doubts she will ever have a job like the ones those people are rushing to and from out in that street outside.

Jodie remembers one summer afternoon when she was young, sitting on a riverbank, blowing dandelion seeds and watching them float away across the calm green-tinged water. She remembers wanting that moment to last forever, but it never did. She remembers being older: a young teenager, longing to be a grown up and finally being able to do and live as she wanted.

But now, she sighs, life is much more complicated than that. Her coffee had gone cold. She gets to her feet, wondering what simple lie she can tell her friends when they ask her where she was that afternoon.

She stops in the café doorway and looks down the street in the direction she needs to take. Then she looks in the opposite direction, thinking how easy, how simple, it would be just to turn her back on her life and walk away, never to return.

So she did.


Published by David Hadley

A Bloke. Occasionally points at ducks.

4 thoughts on “All Those Complicated Simple Things

  1. Good story David, We have probably all wanted to walk away a some point, but we don’t because something keeps us here. Maybe Jodie will find something to anchor herself to as she travels :0)


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