My Way (Friday Fictioneers, August 2012)

This week’s photo prompt on Madison Woods’ Friday Fictioneers came courtesy of Stacy Plowright.  I’ve done funny, I’ve done sci-fi, I’ve done menacing.  It’s time for one that’s  just downright depressing! 😦

We watched from the balcony as the storm growled its way across the suburbs towards us.  Through our laced fingers, I could feel the tremors in her hand, the opening salvo of this affliction working its way like a malevolent tidal wave through her body.

“We’d better go inside,” I said, tugging gently at her arm.

“You go; I’ll just be a minute.”

I poured a glass of water, laying her chemo pills on a tray.  Grey and blue ones; another gathering storm.

Lightning hissed, thunder exploded above.

I turned, and she was gone.

“My way,” she’d said.

No goodbyes.

About Sandra

I used to cruise the French waterways with my husband four or five months a year, and wrote fiction and poetry. Now I live on the beautiful Dorset coast, enjoying the luxury of being able to have a cat, cultivating an extensive garden and getting involved in the community. I still write fiction, but only when the spirit moves me - which isn't as often as before. I love animals, F1 motor racing, French bread and my husband, though not necessarily in that order.
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53 Responses to My Way (Friday Fictioneers, August 2012)

  1. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Sandra,

    Sorry, but this was in no way depressing. There is no better way than ‘my’ way. Your story was perfect for the prompt as well. “You go, I’ll just be a mintue” can be read two ways. Did you write it that way on purpose. Loved this tale, my dear early bird.




    • Paul says:

      I agree with Doug! Not depressing at all. Maybe because your writing is just so real for lack of a better word. Nothing is forced. Every choice your characters make, every word they speak, seems inevitable. Mind if I follow?


  2. Sandra says:

    Hi fellow early bird! Originally I had, “you go, I’ll be there in a minute” which I suppose is equally ambiguous. In fact it might have been better now that I think about it. The other change I made was to change the story from ‘him’ to ‘her’. Amazingly, I felt much more comfortable about that, though I can’t articulate why.

    Have a good night. Thanks for commenting.


  3. I wouldn’t call it depressing but I would call it a story of a sad time. Beautifully written Sandra!


  4. Sandra says:

    Thank you! I appreciate your dropping by.


  5. boomiebol says:

    Very nice, a bit of sad, still I really like it.


  6. Cindy Marsch says:

    Excellent grasping of the opportunity! You capture just the right details with the gathering storm, the pill colors, the parting of the interlaced fingers. It’s a gasper, though! And I’m glad you have a denouement instead of just an empty balcony at the last.

    Here’s mine:


  7. claireful says:

    Beautiful writing Sandra. Very moving.


  8. Karmic Diva says:

    Love what you did with this. She found her freedom.


  9. Mayumi-H says:

    There’s a lot of beautiful, hidden, melancholy meaning in these words. Excellent work, as always, Sandra. Your heroines are always full of life and strength, even at the edge of it.


  10. vbholmes says:

    “I could feel the tremors in her hand, the opening salvo of this affliction working its way like a malevolent tidal wave through her body”–perceptive description of the devastation which lay in wait for the patient.


  11. Hon, not depressing. Depressing is torturing yourself with medicines that don’t help in the hope of surviving for another week or so. Although, I’ve been told the new medications aren’t as devastating as before. I think the line “You go; I’ll just be a minute.” was perfect. It projected just the right balance of ambiguity and truth.


  12. Joyce says:

    Oh! How terribly sad. I really can see this. The horror of suffering through a cancer, and taking her life, shortened by what is left of one terminally ill? Very real images, and can see where it may be a reality to some who suffer so. My heart aches for the loved one, (husband or son?) who watches with horror.


    • Sandra says:

      Thanks for commenting Joyce. I usually write from the female point of view, and when I wrote this the other person was a ‘he’. Then I changed the other person to a ‘she’ and found it immediately added depth to the story. At first I read it as a mother/daughter relationship, and then as two female partners and then two sisters, and each time I found it changed the dynamic of the story. I’ve not had this happen to me before and I might try applying this to future stories to see whether it enhances or diminishes the story.


      • Joyce says:

        Yes. A POV (point of view) is so important along with plot, and worth trying new ways to tell a story. It worked really well the way you told it.


  13. “My way,” she’d said. No goodbyes.” what a stunning few lines. This really is a whole story, beautifully told.


  14. JKBradley says:

    I found this to be empowering.


  15. Carrie says:

    not totally depressing but sad. Sad that she felt she had to make that type of choice


  16. Jess Schira says:

    This is a beautiful story which made me think about a good friend who’s currently going through a similar situation. You did a wonderful job weaving a story around the prompt.


  17. Bravo! I had instant admiration for her command over her own life, and her courage.


  18. Pingback: Satisfaction Brought them Back « ironwoodwind

  19. A stellar piece, Sandra. I’ll have to go back and read it again to savor it. It seems the clouds took us to similar places. i’m #18 on the list.


  20. billgncs says:

    it was beautiful, but she should have said goodbye. maybe she already had. I hope for his sake.
    nicely done, it makes me think.


  21. elmowrites says:

    I’m with the other commenters, Sandra – not depressing, just beautiful and sad. I looked at those people on the balcony for a long time, but couldn’t fit them into the story I went with in the end. I’m glad you have, and so movingly too.
    I’m over here –


  22. Well-written. Didn’t see it coming.


  23. unspywriter says:

    This is very well-written and captures the essence of leaving this world “my way” perfectly. Such eloquence softens a difficult subject.

    Here’s mine:


  24. A brilliant story, Sandra. Very poignant imagery and an excellent metaphoric take on the prompt, and very well written, diciton and all. I really love this piece. Well done. Mine is here:


  25. Really liked the weaving of water images throughout


  26. What a great way to take one’s freedom. I’m sure this story could be sad but to fit cancer and know you might loose… She won her battle. Great story.


  27. John Hardy Bell says:

    There’s nothing depressing about this one Sandra. This one is all heart! What a talent you have!


  28. rgayer55 says:

    Sandra, you outdid yourself this week. I love the depth of this story and how every word contributes to the whole. The more I read it the smoother it flows. Great job.


  29. flyoverhere says:

    Not depressing, just real feelings and search for solutions. Anyone, including me, who has faced catastrophic illness or who has had someone close to them face it understands. Very good take done with simplicity….


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