Sorry for my absence last week; I hope not to make a habit of it! This week’s story, inspired by The Reclining Gentleman‘s photo, could almost be a prequel to one I wrote months ago, but hopefully also stands alone. I’d love to read your thoughts.
“You’re doing the right thing,” Irene smiled gently at her friend.
“Am I? Every time I think I’m choosing the tunnel with light at the other end it turns out to be headlights on an oncoming train.” Sandy brushed away the tears. “What if I leave him and it’s just worse?”
Irene didn’t say anything.
“It could be worse though,” Sandy insisted. “He never hurts the kids.”
“Hitler never hit his dog.” Irene picked up the bag and slung it over her shoulder. “Next time, bring me stuff for them and then you’re ready. I’m going to miss you, babe.”
Something very much out of the blue for me today, thanks to Erin Leary’s curious photo. I normally keep my personal life out of my writing, but we’re deep in the throes of a difficult decision and this story (story? It’s more of a rant!) burst forth from that. I’ve tweaked it into fiction, so if you know me, don’t read too deeply into it as though it’s pure fact, but still, I can’t deny the grain of truth inside the pearl of fiction.
Your feedback is always welcome.
The thing about life is, it thrives. Everywhere. In the deepest depths of the ocean, without light or air, 4,000 species of foraminifera make their home. Put damp shit in a dark cupboard, and bingo! Mushrooms in spring. Ice floes, deserts, oceans … name a place; something calls it home.
So I sit here, with spreadsheets and binders, pros and cons, glossy brochures and coffee-stained print-outs, all weighing in on the dilemma of where to live, and I think “pretend you’re a foraminifera. Wherever you go, you can thrive”, but really, I have a suspicion I’m more like a mushroom.
Having opened the vein, I can’t stop the bleeding – my latest story for FF is another romance. I hope you enjoy it, but let me know either way. If you want to read more stories from the same picture, head over the Rochelle’s page and particular thanks to Renee Heath for this week’s prompt. I hope I’ve read the street names correctly; if not, this is an even more obscure reference to the prompt!
The Crossroads of Evans and Chicago (Genre: Romance)
“What’s to decide?”
“The ballet, Ma,” Mary whispered.
“Rhodri Evans’ Da’s the richest man in the valley. You’d never have to worry again.”
“Does he love you?” Her father knocked his pipe on the table.
“I think so,” said Mary. “Yes.”
“Then take the ballet.”
Ma’s face flushed red. “Are you mad? Do you want our daughter to be miserable for the rest of her life?”
“But it’s two years, Da. In Chicago.”
“If he loves you, he’ll wait. If he doesn’t, he’s not worth marrying. And no, I don’t want her to be miserable. I want her to soar.”
After 50 posts to the Friday Fictioneers, I did wonder if I should find a new writing challenge, move on. But I’ve come to enjoy my weekly forays into the FF world, I value the friendships and feedback of the group and I enjoy reading the stories – so why mess with a winning formula? Besides, Sebastian is providing me with plenty of new challenges right now, so an old challenge makes a welcome change!
Life is settling into a new kind of normal with my little boy up front and centre in the new world order, but I’m hoping he allows me to continue the writing commitments I’ve enjoyed so much over the last few years. Right now, my muse seems to be suffering a bit under the weight of insufficient sleep and lots of distractions, so please be gentle with this week’s piece, but as ever I welcome your feedback, good and bad.
Here’s the photo, courtesy of Joyce Johnson. You can see the other responses linked from Rochelle’s page.
It wasn’t at all like she’d expected. There was no bright light, no beckoning figures; just two doors and apparently a free decision which to enter.
Each door was marked with a bronze face. One was serene and placid: its features unmarked by emotion. The other was twisted into a laugh or a grimace; she couldn’t tell which. Either way, it was ugly. The other was more … angelic.
But her eyes kept coming back to the twisted visage. Even if it was a grimace, was that really worse than a world without emotion?
She paused, then pushed the door.