A Way With Words (Trifecta Challenge)

DSCF1308Condensation trickled from the iron window frames, the rivulets parting company to dodge the greasy smudges my chubby fingers had left on the glass.  As each pane misted beneath my sugary breath, I moved to look through the next, watching the white feathers swirling towards me from a leaden sky.

Nanna was behind me; her lavender fragrance tickling my nose.

“Where do they come from?” I asked, watching the flakes settle over the hedgerows.

“They’re from the angels,” Nanna said.  “They’re making their beds…shaking their mattresses.”

Her words I conjured up images of gentle creatures with folding wings, peering over the clouds, laughing at the way the feathers had clothed the countryside.

Nanna had a way with words.

I remember one summer, at the same window, watching lightning cleave the sky, and waiting for the thunderous crash.

“Come away,” she’d said pulling me into the room.

“What makes it bang like that?” I asked.

“It’s God,” she said, “he’s moving furniture in his bedroom, and that’s him pulling his wardrobe across the sky.”

If Nanna’s explanations were scientifically weak, they were rich in images that were to accompany me throughout my life. Images I’d never forget.

She had an old mahogany moneybox on her dressing table.  When I asked her what she kept in it, she said it was her ‘nest egg’.  I imagined a single delicate blue egg, nestling in a bed of twigs, and sometimes I’d press my ear against the side, wondering when the egg would hatch.

On my seventh birthday, I found her sitting on her bed, her moneybox lying broken on the bed beside her.  She didn’t look like my Nanna any more, she looked hard and angry, her lips pressed into a tight line.  Later, when I was in bed, there were raised voices downstairs.  I’d never heard her speak to anyone like that before, least of all my father.

I wish you could have told me a magpie did it, Nanna. 

The Trifecta Challenge (third definition) this week was:

1: lacking strength: as


: deficient in physical vigor : feeble, debilitated


: not able to sustain or exert much weight, pressure, or strain


: not able to resist external force or withstand attack


: easily upset or nauseated weak stomach>
2a : mentally or intellectually deficient


: not firmly decided : vacillating


: resulting from or indicating lack of judgment or discernment


: not able to withstand temptation or persuasion <the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak>
3: not factually grounded or logically presented weak argument>

– See more at: http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/#sthash.VujAYUDL.dpuf

And now the weekly prompt.WEAK (adjective)
1: lacking strength: as

a : deficient in physical vigor : feebledebilitated

b : not able to sustain or exert much weight, pressure, or strain

c : not able to resist external force or withstand attack

d : easily upset or nauseated <a weak stomach>
2a : mentally or intellectually deficient

b : not firmly decided : vacillating

c : resulting from or indicating lack of judgment or discernment

d : not able to withstand temptation or persuasion <the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak>
3: not factually grounded or logically presented <a weak argument>

– See more at: http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/#sthash.VujAYUDL.dpuf

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.
This entry was posted in By the Way ..., Just Sayin' and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to A Way With Words (Trifecta Challenge)

  1. Jennifer says:

    Family is rough. The story starts so light and then ends so bleak. Great writing.


  2. steph says:

    Sad. Families are rough, as Jennifer says. Stealing from your mother is pretty low. I’m not sure who I feel more sorry for, Nanna or the child. Your opening paragraph is superb, the details are lovely.


  3. jannatwrites says:

    I like how it started out all warm and fuzzy, and then reality crept in. Memories are a lot like that…mostly good, but a few dark ones sneak in.


  4. Sandra – I always enjoy where you take me as a reader. There is a strong melancholy to this, reflecting back to how the ‘real world’ and too harsh truth begin to appear to children. So very well written and that last line just aches.


  5. Best so far; you definitely deserve to win!


  6. Beautiful, bittersweet story that produced a range of emotions. Well done!


  7. syllabubsea says:

    Love the way you evoked the cosy, nostalgic atmosphere. I wasn’t expecting that ending, even when she was angry but I should have known – you never know what goes on within a family.Great read! Marie


  8. Quite the roller coaster. Great writing!


  9. Draug419 says:

    My parents used to say thunder was the clouds bowling.
    This is sad, but I like Nanna’s words too.


  10. jeanmcurio says:

    This made me feel – swaddled my heart and then tugged at it.


  11. Wonderful transition.


  12. KymmInBarcelona says:

    That was a sweet ride along familiar memories to that jarring particular.
    I love the last line!


  13. Grandmothers often has interesting ways of explaining the world to us, don’t they? Gotta love that. I remember my grandmother with great fondness. I often hear her words in my head, just as I think she would utter them to me, at exactly the right moment. 🙂
    I’m sure that dad really got it for what he did!
    -Alicia Audrey


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