Friday Fictioneers – Surface Tension

Last week’s literary references seemed to go down well with most of the Fictioneers – anyone would think you were a bunch of readers as well as writers. I have never been a big fan of poetry, but there are some that I have learned and loved, and both Ozymandias and For Whom The Bell Tolls fall into that box for me. Another favourite verse is referenced this week, although this literary theme is purely accidental! Thank you to Rochelle for guiding us, and Santosh writer for this week’s photo.

As ever, your comments and critique are welcome and constructive criticism is strongly encouraged. Thanks to the early commenters, the story below the pic is version 2 (v1 appears below it for posterity). I hope it’s clearer now, but you are welcome to disagree.

On a personal note – no baby yet, but hopefully not long to go. 😉

ff_santoshwriter-1

Surface Tension

Danny was everything to Ellen: he nourished her, feeding desires she’d never known she had. When they were apart, she felt parched by his absence and when he returned, she drank him in with unquenchable thirst. To Ellen, it was love.

But her mother saw a man who minimised his exposure: who shared Ellen’s unshakeable fixation… with himself.

She saw, and she worried, but having spoken once, she held her tongue to avoid a schism. And she watched her daughter drift away, hoping only to still be in sight when Ellen stopped waving and realised she was drowning.

VERSION 1:

Surface Tension

Danny was everything to Ellen: he nourished her, feeding desires she’d never known she had. When they were apart, she felt parched by his absence and when he returned, she drank him in with unquenchable thirst. To Ellen, it was love.

But Jennie saw a man who minimised his exposure: clinging with that same unshakeable fixation, to himself.

Jennie saw, and she worried, but having spoken once, she held her tongue to avoid a schism. And she watched her daughter drift away, hoping only that she would still be in sight when Ellen stopped waving and realised she was drowning.

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33 Comments

Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

33 responses to “Friday Fictioneers – Surface Tension

  1. I really enjoyed this — one thought — I would have introduced the fact that Jennie was Ellen’s mother right up front for clarity.

  2. I agree with Helena concerning the familial relationship here.

    Other than that, this is superb. Keep up the good work while you wait for the new family member to arrive.

    All my best,
    Marie Gail

  3. Excellent! I did have to read several times to realize that Jennie was Ellen’s mother. The image left at the end is very vivid and made me feel sorry for Ellen.

  4. Karyn

    I like this – the mother giving the daughter her advice but allowing her to make her own mistakes. It’s hard but real.

  5. I kind of liked the first version where I get the surprise that it was her mother.. The way you used the metaphors of water I really liked.

  6. The water metaphors worked really well.

  7. I read version 1 first and found myself tripping over the mother’s name, too. In such a limited space, the little change of leaving out the name brings a lot more clarity (in my opinion).

    I very much like the water images – they add depth to the story (see what I did there…) and add a little magic. Nicely done!

  8. I agree with Bjorn. The “surprise” fact that it’s Ellen’s mom doing the wondering puts a delightful twist at the end. And the end line? Marvelous.

  9. Dear Jen,

    Since I’m later I get to see both versions. the second is clearer. Fabulous, out of the box use of the prompt. Wonderful writing.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    • Thank you, Rochelle. I’m still working on these ways of reacting to the images, but this metaphorical view came easily, even if the exact wording didn’t.

  10. I got it with version 1. So timely for me. My son, the baby, is getting married this weekend. I hope he doesn’t drown.
    Tracey

  11. I liked the first version.
    Don’t most of us go overboard at first in new relationships. Time take time. And it’s parents jobs to worry and wait.

    Randy

  12. I like the revised version – both read well, however. You articulate every mother’s fear very well. I am pleased tha my two oldest have picked people who bring out the best on them.

  13. I would have liked the first version, too, but I agree that the second version is even better (perfect). In such a short piece her name doesn’t matter. I always find it difficult to find a middleground between showing and telling when introducing a character. The story is wonderful, and sadly too true for many couples. Let’s hope Ellen knows what she’s doing and has a life belt in her emotional tool kit, just in case.

  14. Not much more to say about which version is better. The way I see it, you wrote a story about the primal fear that mothers (parents?) have about their children. You can’t protect them forever. Using the drowning metaphor was very effective. You dive into love, or life, right? Sink or swim? People can smother you, set you adrift? You say it so eloquently. Well done–both versions!

  15. “Not waving but drowning” is a masterful way to describe how a mother feels about her child’s bad choice of partner, as I know personally. I think telling us Jenny isher mother was better.

  16. I loved the story, both versions. I never once, didn’t see it as the mother, but I might also point out, a best friend or sister could feel the same. Well done, especially captured the trepidation of watching a child make a potentially really bad choice.

  17. Another fabulous one, Jennifer. My mother held her tongue (until I eventually realised my error and broke up with the guy) more than once!!!

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