Tag Archives: Friday Fictioneers

FF – When…

Photo credit Sandra Crook

When…

Sylvie sat at her desk, ignoring the quadratics that swirled across the books there. “When I grow up, I’ll never do Maths again,” she said to the man singing on her radio.

At college, she told her friends “When I leave here, I’m going to travel the world,”

“When I get married, I’ll put my feet up,” she said, elbows-deep in suds at the job she got afterwards.

Now she tries to calculate the bills, ignoring the sink full of dishes, staring at the calendar photo of a place she’s never been. “When the kids leave home,” she sighs.

Extroduction

There’s a path going up that hill in the photo, and it caught my eye because it looks really challenging. This last few months we’ve done a lot of just getting through, but I’m also aware that while the view from the top of that cliff is probably stunning, but it’s the climb that makes the experience memorable and worthwhile.

There are loads of songs that try to capture this sentiment, “The Climb” being one of the more famous. The link below is another. And as a mother, I’m used to being told to enjoy the moment, so I know how deeply upsetting that type of advice can be and how important hope is. That being said, I hope we can all learn to live in the moment, even when we don’t enjoy it. After all, tomorrow never comes.

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FF – Practice makes Perfect

Thanks to Bill Reynolds for this week’s photo. One part stood out to me.

Practice Makes Perfect

“Why do I have to practise every day?” he used to ask me, torturing that guitar just as I was torturing him. He loved being able to play, hated the process of getting there. If he could make it play the notes that was enough for him. Why should he practise again and again just to add timing and emotion?

Practising became playing, and playing eventually became gigging and riffing. One day, he’ll have a kid of his own who wants to be able to play but doesn’t want to learn. I wonder if he’ll torture them with practice too.

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FF – Inside and Out

Since Melanie had a rerun last week, she has more to say. Hopefully, one day, a whole novel’s worth, but for now, she’s just commenting on the weather!

Photo copyright: David Stewart

Inside and Out

Church is always calm on the inside. Even when it’s stormy outside and the rain is soaking everything. Inside it’s quiet.

Not me. I get stormy on the inside. Like when I stood at the front and my tummy squiggled like breakfast was shouting to get out, but I couldn’t even say the Amen and Father Andrews sent me to sit down.

Then Sarah winked at me and my insides started giggling, but Father Andrews was watching so I made my outsides look like Our Lady.

I look at her sometimes and I wonder. Is she stormy on the inside?

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FF – Christmas in the Rear View Mirror

Thanks for Rochelle Wisoff-Fields herself for this image.

Christmases In The Rear View Mirror May Appear Further Away

“It’ll be an adventure,” she says, “We don’t need to be home; we’re together.”

The kids stare and nod. They’re too young to be sure what things were like before. Didn’t Christmas always mean magic, crackers and LFTs?

Weeks ago, she’d packed the essentials to bring Santa wherever they were and hidden it at the bottom of the case. Last night, she’d covered it with laundry and souvenirs, relieved to go home.

But home won’t let them in with a positive test. So Christmas will be an adventure, with as much magic as Mama can conjure from a secret bag.

Extroduction

How much explanation this one needs might depend whether you’ve done any pandemic travelling and/or have small children. It started at almost 200 words with a bit more explanation, but I hope it still makes sense in its FF form. If not, here’s the background.

The last few weeks we’ve been in the UK and Finland, visiting Santa at his home and then loved ones at what was once ours. The plan was always to be back at our current home for Christmas.

But it was touch and go. Travel involves a raft of covid tests and we knew at any point that there was a non-zero possibility of exposure, of a positive test, and of an emergency change of plan. So our back-ups included a bag of stockings and presents in the bottom of the case, just in case (pun intended) we had to recreate the magic in isolation somewhere other than home. The kids might have accepted that family presents were back at the house, but we couldn’t exactly say Santa didn’t know where we were … especially if we ended up quarantined in his backyard!

I’m typing this on the plane home. We still have more tests to do, but any isolation now will be in our house with our gifts already wrapped, food in the freezer and tree standing ready for decoration. This story, however, could just as easily have been us.

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FF – Rescue

Thank you to Alicia Jamtaas for the photo, her site is here: https://lishwriter.wordpress.com/

Rescue

Lyla woke with a start. The room was dark and quiet. Gentle breathing from her left the only thing to hang onto. The world wasn’t ending.

She wrapped herself in a blanket and padded into the next room. The baby was sleeping soundly, her mouth slightly open, her face calm. Lyla’s mind spiked again with the vision of that same face contorted in terror, dropping away into the abyss and her own arms reaching desperately through the air.

Lyla’s face touched the baby’s hair as she climbed into the crib. “You caught me,” she whispered, finally able to relax again.

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FF – Choice

Another quick Friday Fiction to celebrate being home alone today. Thank you to Rochelle, who has sustained the group for so long and so wisely, and to J Hardy Carroll for this intriguing photograph. The link to my story is something of a rabbit warren of tangents, but here it is. Your comments and critique are welcome.

Choice

Josie passed another brown-bagged sandwich into outstretched hands.

“Thank you,” said the woman, tucking it into a worn-out backpack hidden in the bushes behind her. “I’ll have it when I’m done.” She waved Josie away and struck a pose, aimed at a black car approaching slowly.

****

Dad turned the phone towards her and she caught a glimpse of a torn backpack underneath a chilling headline: The Kingston Ripper Strikes Again.

“Why do they do it? They must know the risks, especially now.”

Josie took a deep breath. “If you were starving, wouldn’t you sell the only thing you had left?”

 

 

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A return to Friday fiction

Hi there,

This blog has been quiet so long, I bet you wondered if I was ever coming back. I did too. But here I am, possibly for a one-off, possibly for a sporadic return to the fold. We’ll have to wait and see. Those little boys whose births were announced here 2.5 and almost 5 years ago are growing, and growing up and definitely keeping me busy. Here they are in a forest, up to some cute mischief!

But I’m really ere to share a story, to try my hand at getting back into the Friday Fiction party, and for that, I present to you a picture (Copyright Sarah Potter) and 100 words of story. I’m not happy with any of my current ideas for a title – feel free to suggest one if you are inspired. Either way, I welcome your constructive critique, I’m a bit rusting on writing, editing and what-have-you, so I’m sure there’ll be plenty to say!

For Sale: Baby shoes. Never worn.

The line flew unbidden into Alice’s head as she stared at Joey’s old boots, stuffed away and forgotten when summer called for sandals. She’d spent so much of their marriage cleaning up after him, it’d probably been her, but she couldn’t remember. Occasionally he’d swept through the house and made it look like she never put any effort in at all; annoying her even more.

A spider dashed out and shot across her hand.

“Oh Joey,”  Tears washed black spots onto the shoes again. “I wish you’d come back and piss me off again.”

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FF – Gilded Cage

Another post from afar, hence the lack of photo and the haste of writing / posting. You can see it at Rochelle’s FF homepage. Your comments and feedback are welcome.

Gilded Cage

It was a storyline that filled his wife’s shelves in the library: forbidden love. A girl of lowly birth who falls for the son of a Duke, but is forced to marry a blusterer while her true love enters a ‘proper’ marriage with a woman his social equal.

Teddy wondered if Diane’s sympathies for the lovers ever stepped off the page; if she ever thought of him and the gilded cage that she represented. He did, daily. And every time he read a story about Lois’ horse breeding business, he wondered whether his story would share the novels’ happy ending.

****

A brief extroduction…

Our excellent prompt photo this week, courtesy of J Hardy Carroll, reminded me of a thought that’s been mulling about in my head recently regarding the British royal family: Prince Charles and Camilla really need a better spin doctor. Because theirs is a love story.

Years ago, ten years before he had even met Lady Diana Spencer, the young Prince Charles met and fell in love with Camilla. The match was frowned upon and eventually he was married off to Di while she was dispatched to Captain Parker-Bowles. Maybe they went willingly, maybe not; we can never know.

The story we have been sold is that that should have been an end to it: Charles should have accepted his lot, and with it his beautiful, upper class and appropriate wife, leaving the less ‘correct’ Camilla in his past. But love stories don’t run like that, and in fiction most of us don’t want them too. Furthermore, until really very recently, royal Princes weren’t expected to be faithful to the trophy wives chosen for them by ‘the machine’ – and the trophy wives weren’t expected to mind. Charles and Diana happened to live at a tough time for the royal family, when automatic deference was dead, but people still wanted them to be greater than human and without our failings or feelings. Under intense scrutiny and modern expectations, I suggest neither came out particularly spotless. I certainly don’t defend any party’s actions during their respective first marriages.

But Diana has been dead 20 years and Charles has now fulfilled the romantic, love story ambition of a happy ending. He and Camilla may not be innocent, or beautiful, or particularly easy to put on a pedestal, but I suspect they are better for each other than either’s first spouse ever was, and I for one , wish them all the very best in the final act of their love story.

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FF – Footprints

My photo this week, but I’m out and about so I’ll have to catch up properly in a couple of weeks. Also means I can’t add the image from here, but you can see it on Rochelle’s ff homepage.

 

Footprints

The years ticked past as she sat rocking baby after baby through the cries of hunger, teething and fearful dreams. Each one grew, learned to walk, then talk and then push her gently away.

They returned, when the pain or fear or joys heaped upon them by the world were too great for their broadening shoulders to bear. And she, faithful comforter and trusted confidente, embraced them each time anew.

Then one day her chair rocked empty. Gathered around it, they saw for the first time the grooves her feet had worn into the floor, as she had etched footprints on their hearts.

 

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FF – Painting Over The Cracks

With apologies for being a little late this week, here’s my story for the Friday Fictioneers. I was reminded the other day of an old favourite from a few years ago, so if you read this one and want more from me, click here.

For now, here’s the photo from Roger Bultot, that inspired today’s entry. Your feedback is always welcome.

roger-bultot-flower

Painting Over The Cracks

The view was dreary, so Mom picked dandelions to fill the apartment with colour and painted our rooms with cans the store threw out for being mixed wrong. Mine was “Resplendent Ruby”, but it came out green. When it snowed she showed us the beauty in each flake, and bustled us out on ‘adventures’ to scavenge the Clearance shelves for dinner.

For years, we bought it – credulous before our benevolent dictator’s relentless positivity. But even a kindergartener knows food isn’t good just because it’s in date. And that you don’t call Daddy “gentle” just because the bruises don’t show.

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