Tag Archives: Marriage

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 – Pillars

Friday Fiction again and this week a photo from veteran player, Sandra Crook. I think she must have been with us at least as long as me, right Sandra?

Your thoughts and critique of my writing are always welcome.

crook3Pillars

Edith took the news with a sigh.

“I know you don’t approve, Mum, but the marriage just isn’t working for us.”

“I remember when marriage didn’t work for you, you worked for it. Things got a little rickety, you propped them up. Added a pillar. Or you leant harder on the ones you had.”

“And when there’s no pillars left?”

Edith glanced over at her grandsons. “You’ve three great pillars right there.”

“I don’t love her any more.”

“Well. Love’s the weakest pillar of all. I haven’t been in love since the Great War. And certainly not with your father.”

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FF – Grandma’s Clock

It is Friday, after all. So, better late than never, here’s my story for Rochelle’s own picture prompt this week.

It’s arguably not a story, but it came to me all at once, and when I typed the last word you see below, I noticed it was 100 words exactly, so I couldn’t resist the feeling it wanted to be posted as is. Apart from changing one adjective that didn’t seem quite in keeping, I haven’t changed it at all, but I welcome your feedback.

 

antiques-along-the-mohawk (1)

Grandma’s Clock

Everything in Grandma’s house was old. Grandma herself, obviously, had been alive long enough to remember black and white television, Nixon and the Civil War, and she had a telephone that plugged into the wall and you had to stand right there in the kitchen if you wanted to talk, because you were tethered there like a goat.

But the oldest thing in Grandma’s house was the golden clock. It never moved. Uncle Joe said it was right twice a day, but Grandma said it told the time she met Grandpa and was always right. I liked Grandma’s version better.

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Friday Fiction – The Installation

Turns out that whilst having a newborn is enough to stop me FFing, the internet going down is. I was in the dark ages for 48 hours, but now I’m back, folks! A literal interpretation this morning. My excuse is I’m too hungover (exhaustion not alcohol, I should add) from the Canada Day picnic & fireworks to be clever 😉

I welcome your honest feedback.

cars-in-sand

Jack watched the corners of Fiona’s mouth twitch. Fifteen years ago, she’d have smiled, made some understated quip, like ‘that’d be tough to explain’. They’d have laughed together for a few miles and enjoyed the journey all the more for the strange sight of three cars deliberately half-buried in a field.

But they weren’t kids anymore and Fiona wasn’t that Fiona.

“What a mess!” she scowled. “You’d think the council would have them take it down.”

“What, and deprive you of the chance to bitch about it?” Jack snapped, wondering not why he’d married her, but why he hadn’t left.

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Friday Fiction – Sparks Fly

A brief intro this week – I think I may have mistaken the picture (courtesy of long-term fictioneer, fascinating writer and kind critiquer, Marie Gail Stratford) when viewing it on the small screen of the phone, but as Rochelle says, it’s what you see not what you look at. Enjoy! I welcome your feedback.

crystals

Sparks Fly

In the early days, sparks flew – when they touched, even when he smiled – and she knew it was love. As the years went on, different sparks kindled a different temper – muddy boots on the carpet and that bulb in the bathroom he never changed.

Then an old flame flared out of the darkness and the fire blazed in her heart once more, but she couldn’t help feeling this was a fire that would burn and scar. So she turned from its brightness and whispered gentle breaths on the fading embers of marriage, praying sparks would burst again from the hearth.

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Friday Fiction – Sheffield Should Never Be Thrown

This week’s FF prompt comes from Jan Wayne Fields. My story is inspired rather than illustrated by the pic, so don’t be confused by the fact that it clearly doesn’t fit in the details. To be honest, there’s a lot about this story I’m not sure about, but time is not on my side this week, so I post it and anticipate your comments and critique. More (and less) polished responses can be found via FF HQ.

dining-room

Sheffield Should Never Be Thrown (VERSION 2 – old version follows)

Tarquin has set the table immaculately: my Waterford glasses, porcelain dishes, Sheffield cutlery perfectly straight beside.

But the settings are wrong. Just two after our wedding, his birth added a third – plastic initially, then metal. Sheffield only when I was confident it wouldn’t be thrown. Then he grew and left us and we stared across the table again – conscious of the empty space on my left; his father’s right.

Two places again today: his own opposite mine. The Prince ready to accede. I cannot challenge him, so I remove the Sheffield from my own setting. Sheffield should never be thrown.

OLD VERSION:

Tarquin’s set the table immaculately: my Waterford glasses, porcelain dishes, Sheffield cutlery perfectly straight beside.

But the settings are wrong. Just two before he was born, his arrival added a third – plastic initially, then metal. Sheffield only when I was confident it wouldn’t be thrown. Then he grew and left us and we stared across the table again – conscious of the empty space on my left; his father’s right.

Two places again today: his own opposite mine. The Prince ready to accede. I cannot challenge him, so I remove the Sheffield from my own setting. Sheffield should never be thrown.

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Friday Fiction – Displacement

I’m one of those people whose mindset and mood are often influenced by the books and TV I’m embroiled in at the time. For example, The Good Wife is making me highly suspicious, Breaking Bad made Bjorn Rudberg’s photograph – this week’s prompt – look like a drug lair and either the news from Gaza or having recently finished The Book Thief is responsible for the war-torn setting I envisaged for the story below. Those who know I’m now reading a book about transsexuals shouldn’t read too much into the last line, however!

Your comments on my story are welcome. Thanks to Rochelle as always for hosting, and to Bjorn for what is almost certainly not a surveillance snapshot.

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Displacement

Oskar could hear Ma cursing the pot on the stove for holding too much water, too little of anything else. She hated it for starving her family, for giving them hard choices. Who’d chew the meat tonight? Not Oskar, that was certain. Ma? For the sake of the baby growing inside her? Or Father in order to be better able to earn something to put in the pot tomorrow?

He was late again. Earning money, or spending it on beer to ease the admission he’d come home empty-handed.

Oskar kicked a stone and hoped he’d never grow into a man.

 

***

Notes on double entendres can be found here and here, if you are interested.

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Friday Fiction – True Love

Something very different for me this week. First, a true story (in parts); second, brazenly exceeding the word limit. This story, all except the bit about the photo itself, is based on the romance of my maternal Grandparents. The story of how they met, fell in love and married is worthy of its own novel. Even at 150 words, this version merely scrapes the surface, so I hope you will forgive me its length.

Marry in haste, repent at leisure, so the saying goes. I don’t think my grandparents ever felt the need to repent – their love, friendship and companionship was evident to all who knew them and an inspiration to those of us who come after.

When he died, after more than 60 years of marriage, my Grandad was in the arms of his beautiful bride; she still misses him every day. And she still, when telling how they married, says “Married in a rush”, with a playful wink.

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True Love

“Married in a rush,” she’d say, with a playful wink. They were, but not for the reason it implied – their first child wasn’t born for another seven years. Their hurry had all to do with avoiding separate postings. “There was a war on,” she would add.

There’s only one photograph. They keep it beside their bed.  She in a simple, grey dress; he a grey suit. The dress was blue in real life: a favourite, but worn many times before and since.

But what did it matter? They were in love, they had been happily married for fifty-nine and three-quarter years. A white dress is no guarantee of happiness. Still, when he saw it, he couldn’t resist. He pulled £100 from their pension savings – the very amount her father had insisted he prove he had before giving them permission to wed – and opened the door of the second-hand shop.

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Friday Fiction – Every Journey…

This week’s Friday Fiction photograph comes from Sarah Ann Hall. When I saw it, I was immediately reminded of the “white picket fence” story I wrote for another FF prompt a couple of months ago. I’m still proud of that story, and I almost just posted you a link to it and got on with something else. However, the muse doesn’t lie down once she’s been woken up, and she kept on whirring in my head. Eventually, she gave me a first line, as she so often does, and once I’d written it, she led me like a faithful pony to the rest of the story.

For those who want to read it, I’ve included the original version. It’s 150 words and includes that first line the muse provided, which had to go when the editing began. As ever, you are welcome to just read the final version, which appears immediately below the photo, and I welcome your critique on whatever you read.

One final note – Once I had the story, there was only one name I could use for the main character: Sandra Crook is a fellow Fictioneer who spends far more time than I do on the river. I hope she will forgive me borrowing her name and one aspect of her life story. The rest is entirely fictional. Well, except the danger of shaving on a narrowboat, which as my husband will testify, is not!

aqueduct-sarah-ann-hall

Every Journey Begins With A Single Step

 Sandra eased the boat through the narrow entrance to the aqueduct, keeping her eye out to be sure she didn’t hit the rubber runners on the bank. Ian was shaving, and the tall stinging nettles wafted dangerously close to the open bathroom window.

Sandra smiled.

“Shropshire’s hardly the Seychelles!” her friends had laughed, when she’d told them about her honeymoon.

But Sandra had never been happier. Two weeks had turned into twenty years and that first step onto the narrowboat had been the best she’d ever taken … after the fifteen steps up the aisle to Ian’s side, of course.

 

Version 1:

“Every journey begins with a single step,” her grandmother had told her. This journey had been no different, she supposed, except that first step had been the only one.

Sandra eased the boat gently through the narrow entrance to the aqueduct, then kept her eye on the left side to be sure she didn’t hit the rubber runners on the bank. Ian was shaving, and the tall nettles wafted dangerously close to the open bathroom window.

Sandra smiled. When Ian proposed this honeymoon, her friends had laughed.

“Two weeks in Shropshire? What happened to the Seychelles?” Alison mocked.

But Sandra had never been happier. She had Ian to herself, the weather had been kind and the river welcoming. What more could she ask for?

That single step onto the narrowboat had been the best she’d ever taken … after the fifteen steps up the aisle to his side, of course.

 

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