Friday Fiction – Row on Row

A moment’s pause in our day, just long enough to find something to say about Claire Fuller‘s intriguing picture prompt (the first image below) for the Friday Fictioneers. I still haven’t worked out what it is, but a couple of phrases sprung to mind from the picture and from those phrases came a story.  I appreciate your honest feedback.


Row on Row

They stood row upon row. Uniform and yet unique. Brian stood out to me, because of the invisible umbilical cord linking us long beyond the real one, but I know he was just part of the blur of green to the mothers of the boys beside him, behind him and in front.

Perhaps they had mentioned him in letters; perhaps they were some of the boys he occasionally referred to when he wrote.

I stare again at them all. The other boys’ just part of the blur of white surrounding Brian’s cross: uniform and yet unique. Like all the rest.

Photo: Mike Weston ABIPP/MOD [OGL (, via Wikimedia Commons

US cemetery, Colleville-sur-Mer, Calvados, Normandy / Personal picture taken by user Urban, February 2005 (wikimedia commons)

US cemetery, Colleville-sur-Mer, Calvados, Normandy / Personal picture taken by user Urban, February 2005 (wikimedia commons)


Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

41 responses to “Friday Fiction – Row on Row

  1. Dale

    Oh… this was a tough one. Every mother’s worse nightmare when they hear the words from their baby: “Mom, I’m joining the army.”

  2. Ah yes, each one tries to look alike, but you know in your heart and soul that therein lies the individual whose breathe you’ll never forget. 😦

  3. Uniform and yet Unique. Yes… nice take.

  4. So moving. I like how you make us realise slowly – thank you!

  5. John

    Boringly the original picture is of storage units that use the handles to open and close so more papers can be stored in a smaller space. More importantly the story, which while very moving makes me sadly reflect on the loss inflicted on families, friends and colleagues by conflict around the world.

  6. I see you came up with something else. Quite unique. 🙂

  7. Dear Jennifer,

    A glancing take off the prompt…a story after my own heart. Row on row said it all. Poignant and sad…the umbilical chord is always there between mother and son no matter how long it’s been since the physical one was cut. Beautiful and heartbreaking.



  8. Dear Jennifer,

    Your story, with its slow reveal and vibrant writing was torture of a sort because it was so good and so heart wrenching. I love to read your work. It seems to spring full blown and perfectly rendered from your imagination to ours. Well done.



    • Sometimes it does, Doug; others it’s like the swan – wwhat might look smooth on the surface hides a lot of grunt underwater!
      Glad you’re still around here though – it’s always good to hear from you

  9. micklively

    You’ve touched a raw nerve Jennifer: why do we keep sending folk to their deaths? Dulce et Decorum est.

    • I first read that as “why do you keep sending folk to their deaths”, which I have been lately. I don’t know the answer to yur actual question, but I’m not convinced I like the unmanned drone alternative either. Maybe we could bring ourselves to stop fighting altogether?

  10. You crept that upon us slowly, didn’t you? Very moving and beautifully written!

  11. gahlearner

    Great take on the prompt. I remember how in the past you wrote about trying to get away of describing the image and focus more on the ‘feel’ of the image–you’ve achieved that to perfection. And wrote sad and beautiful story.

  12. When life becomes a walk from uniform to uniform .. so sad, it’s like cutting the cord over and over… I like how you could disconnect so well from the story.

  13. Wow, I’ve never visualized that tether to my adult sons so clearly before. Your piece is pitch perfect.

  14. I can relate to this. My son is in Indian Navy. ‘In uniform yet so unique.’ With this prompt you wrote so moving and unique story. Loved it.

  15. Wonderful story! Very moving.

  16. The picture had us both thinking about the military.

  17. Very sad and very touching. Had me guessing, intriguing use of the prompt.

    • Thanks, Perry. It’s a bit oblique to the prompt, but the visible rust patches made me think that all the identical handles were probably actually unique, and from ‘uniform yet unique’ came this story.

  18. Very good. I like your spin on the photo; most imaginative. And the story is so moving – the uniformity of the green uniforms and the white crosses say so much.

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