It’s FF time again, and this week’s picture comes from the wonderful Janet Webb. Janet reads and comments on all the stories every week – I don’t know how she manages it, but it’s quite the feat. You can see Janet’s story at her blog, and the rest of her week’s reading at Rochelle’s HQ.
Technically, I’m not sure this is a story so much as an observation. Either way, I welcome your comments, as always.
Lonely Is Never Alone
Diana pushed her plate away: another microwave “Meals4One”. She’d resigned herself to the single life, but it still caught her, sitting at the dining table in her oversized flat. She’d imagined a husband, babies playing at her feet. Now the waters of menopause were rising and she paddled them alone.
Nextdoor, Nadia collected Aidan’s plate. When they were first married, he’d praised her cooking, now he took it for granted. She glanced at the other end of the table: empty chairs for the sons they would never have. Then she waded through her grief into the kitchen to wash up.
51 responses to “Friday Fiction – Lonely Is Never Alone”
Your use of water as a metaphor for each of your protagonist’s life woes was creative and well crafted. It is not easy to make the words flow to fit the vision of your imagination but you pulled it with the effortlessness of water finding its own level. Well done.
Do you see why I love reading your work?
I see why I love reading your comments, will that do?
Sad story. I hope Diana and Nadia can meet for coffee one of these lonely mornings.
I really liked how you repeated the water language — paddled, waded — excellent use of the metaphor and a great interpretation of the prompt.
That’s a sad one. Really emotive. Nice work.
Great choice of words here to fit the prompt. Well done Jennifer, a good one.
There are a lot of us floundering in this childless sea. You’ve captured the empty feeling very well.
I know there are plenty of happy childless people out there, but also a lot who would have preferred it another way. Same with marriage.
Excellent job of effortless (at least when read) metaphor, Jen. (Before I forget, “Next door” somehow smashed themselves into one word.) I like your title because I not only see that they both lonely together, but that sometimes, although not in your story, lonely can be found in the middle of never being alone. I hope they’re able to find each other and get together. Sounds as though volunteering somewhere with children might be a great thing for them both. And BTW, thanks for your lovely words. They’re much appreciated…as I sit alone in the house. 🙂 Don’t mind it at all!
You’re right about the other side of loneliness – it is definitely possible to be lonely in a crowd. Grr to that “next door” smash – it was hard enough to get this down to 100 words as it is. I shall have to scour out another redundancy…
Achingly beautiful little tale.
AnElephant is moved.
I love the way you took two different lives and yet both were sad and lonely. I see the water as their tears. I also like that what she imagines is another life that’s better turns out to be just as sad and empty as the one she has. It’s a thought-provoking story on a lot of different levels. A really good story.
A great take on the prompt, I loved the use of metaphors, cleverly done 🙂
Very moving, and powerful. I love the use of water to make both stories come together, metaphorically. Very well done!
A very poignant tale and very cleverly wrought from the empty shopping carts…
There’s a whole lot of inspiration in those empty carts!
Very well crafted and poignant. Vivid imagery. I felt like I was sitting at the table with her!
I know these people. Thank you for changing their names to protect the innocent. Unfortunately, there are a lot of sad people out there. They need to get out of the house, grab the bull by the tail and look it square in the eye.
Thank you, Russell. It’s so hard to turn things around when you’re one of the sad people, though, isn’t it?
Jennifer, the contrasts in life give us a perspective that we would not have otherwise. Your snapshot of two women help the reader see what both have and what they are lacking.
This may be one of my favorites from you.
Very beautiful haunting writing. And two stories for the price of one.
another one for me to learn from – great.
I love your use of the prompt as a jumping off point. As has already been said, you use of the water as a metaphor is stellar. There’s nothing as lonely as being alone in a relationship.
I have to ask. Is there a significance in the fact that Nadia and Diana have the exact same letters?
Well done, no matter what.
Thanks for your kind words, as so often, generously given. I’m so glad someone spotted the name choices – yes, it was deliberate because their situations are so different and yet so similar. Did you notice Aidan too? He’s not the monster in this story.
Ach…I missed Aidin. I’m smiling to have caught it, though. Well done. I’ll have to go back and read it again.
I noticed that, too, Rochelle! I truly enjoyed the different perspectives of each woman’s life. I know what it’s like to be alone as well as lonely. I think the saddest lonely is when you are with someone and you still feel that emptiness. You captured both effectively.
Thank you, Erin. As I said in my reply to Rochelle, yes the names are absolutely deliberate – as is Aidan’s. Although we don’t see his POV, I wanted to show that he’s in the same boat as the women.
Wonderful story! Great interpretation of the photo to prompt the water metaphors. Also liked the wordplay of the characters’ names.
A wonderful tale Jennifer and a clever take on the prompt. Thanks for a great read.
Two wonderful images painted well with the water.. and the loneliness… very well done. Always love to visit when i can..
Everyone in every situation has things they don’t like and things they regret. The grass is greener and such…
What can I say, Jen? Just … too … AWESOME!! Great observations! Made me want to hear more … and more and more. I liked the singleness angle (I had a similar angle, although kind of twisted). Poignantly told. Well done!
Wow, that was a powerful use of the picture. There’s no flood as bitter as regret. Wonderful story, although it hits hard.
I like how you used the photo’s wateriness to form your story. It’s also very visual. I can see vividly the scenes in both places. Life from the viewpoints of two female characters. I can’t help feeling that your women need to lose the victim mentality. I hope they get together and help each other out.
That was touching..and true.
Observations that could be found in many domiciles around the world.
Sadly, I think you’re probably right.
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This story just felt right for the prompt.
I like how you use the prompt in the language of this story.
Thanks, Dawn. I forget how it came about now, but I like it now too.
Two cases of grieving women. So far I have not yet read a story about these trolleys with a man as the ‘victim’. I wonder why?
As I mentioned back then, Aidan isn’t the monster in this one, so maybe there are some male victims … just a bit deeper hidden.
There is a lovely balance and counter balance between these two women’s lives. I think it’s a story well done.
This further on, I’m beginning to think there should have been another woman with the kids, who was still lonely too.
Great take–heartbreaking. I love the way you used the metaphor. Well told.