Past Indicative, Future Imperfect

Copyright D McIlroy

She snapped the light on.

“You’ll ruin your eyes.”

He quickly flicked to another screen as she approached.

“Anything interesting?”

“Usual garbage,” he muttered, rising from his chair. “I’ll lock up, shall I?”

She lingered after he’d gone, before tentatively pressing the email icon. Her lips tightened.

“I’m needed in Tokyo next week,” he said as he returned, placing an arm round her waist. “Problems with the deal… don’t mind do you?”

“Just say you’ll come back to me,” she said, leaning into his embrace.

“Haven’t I always?” he teased, “twenty years now.”

Would that ever be enough? she wondered.

A lovely photo prompt from Doug McIlroy this week – just love those slippers.  🙂  Friday Fictioneers is gearing up again this week, with Rochelle at the wheel.   I don’t know how you find the time to do this Rochelle, but I’m very glad you do. 

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 Friday Fictioneers, Just Sayin' and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

84 Responses to Past Indicative, Future Imperfect

  1. suej says:

    Very good….


  2. Dear Sandra,

    Something tells me that email icon didn’t lead to a business letter. I wonder how long she’ll settle for leftovers. Well written straight to the heart.




  3. Impeccable description, and timing as always…..lucky man….for him I mean


  4. Horus says:

    Doubts and its results.. eternal killer of love.. nice !


  5. Very touching story, well written.


  6. Perfect title, Sandra! That heartless cad. I hope she sends him an email while he’s in “Tokyo” telling him to enjoy his “usual garbage!” Grrrrrr.


  7. I got the impression that there might be other persons waiting just as eagerly… and the lies will be repeated again for his second lady… 20 years — a long time to live on a lie…


  8. elmowrites says:

    this is so true-to-life and all the more heartbreaking for it. She knows, perhaps he knows she knows, in which case he needs to get a grip, or one day she’ll have her own Tokyo to run to (and I don’t necessarily mean a lover).
    GREAT stuff this week, Sandra. One of my favourites of yours.


  9. Sandra, When you write a story, I always know it’ll be good. Poor woman; some men get careless and underestimate us. Well written. 🙂 —Susan


  10. paulmclem says:

    Superb dialogue, Sandra.


  11. “I’m needed in Tokyo next week,” he said (LIED!) Nicely done. Who cares if he always comes back. Leftovers aren’t always that good. Well Done.


  12. DCTdesigns says:

    I see the sequel coming. The Return. Sandra this well showed. The little moments people often miss between the truth and the lie. Excellent.


  13. Awe, sad. We’ll written.


  14. So much unsaid in this, and all the more beautiful for it. A really good one this week, Sandra.


  15. Jan Brown says:

    Well done. And well titled. The future is indeed imperfect, especially when we settle for less than what we deserve. I hope she finds a better life than he is capable of giving her.


  16. Indira says:

    Very nice Sandra as usual.


  17. Some women will put up with “sharing” to keep their way of life and security. I don’t judge.


  18. helenmidgley says:

    Well done, as usual 🙂


  19. After twenty year, she’s still not number one? My mind races to understand why she would do this to herself. Very moving.


  20. Sandra, the title is present perfect as is the story, wrenching in the choices she faces.



  21. Great story to follow the prompt – very touching. I enjoyed it very much. Thanks, Nan 🙂


  22. I like the way you eased the conflict into the story. Wonder what she’ll do about it?


  23. Liz Young says:

    She’s put up with him playing away for twenty years? Silly woman!


  24. Very beautifully carved. I hope she gathers courage in the future and stands up to her own rescue.


  25. When he said, ‘Haven’t I alway?’ it became obvious he’s done this many times before. You’ve told a heartbreaking story very well, Sandra.


  26. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Sandra,

    You are the master of the canal story. i can see you now, writing in the shade as you motor sedately along in the shade and sunlight. This story makes me want to write about a murder…. Well done, as ever.




  27. EagleAye says:

    Her worry and anxiety is palpable. A scene I could easily picture in my mind. Nice!


  28. Sandra, I love the way you opened this one. “She snapped the light on.” It snaps me to attention and yanks me in. I feel for this character, as we have all had a moment when the ground shifts. I’m glad mine hasn’t shifted in this direction, but I feel it in your writing. Wonderful, as always.


  29. Helena Hann-Basquiat says:

    Oh my… my heart was in my stomach for this one. Would twenty years of being the other woman ever be enough. Sigh. Such a good story, Sandra.


  30. Great story and an interesting look at how some women accept their husband’s infidelity as part of the package


  31. elappleby says:

    Very clever writing. It’s so tempting when you’ve only got 100 words to spell everything out, but so much more impressive when you leave some of it unsaid. I loved this.


  32. MM Jaye says:

    The title is a story in itself. Straight to the heart, indeed! Loved your take!
    Greetings from Greece!
    Maria (MM Jaye)


  33. wmqcolby says:

    Sandra, that was truly awesome! I could see this as a Hitchcock TV episode. You really could have written for that series — or the movies.

    You’re making me want to see if you have a movie script! 🙂


  34. K.Z. says:

    killer last line, Sandra. so good. i personally don’t think i can stay married to someone like that for 20 years… but she has her reasons, i guess, so no judgement here. powerful story as always.


  35. Alice Audrey says:

    If my guy strays he can just stay gone.


  36. duskyisbeautiful says:

    great story.Its difficult for me to understand how some women can live with the fact that their men are cheating on them. Even I was wondering if it will be enough? ever?


  37. sandraconner says:

    Very well-written, Sandra — as always. Shows the truth about a lot of lives out there. And unfortunately I know so many women who put up with second-rate lives just to have a husband. But I did love Patricia’s comment: “Some men get careless and underestimate us.” Would that were true for more women.


  38. unspywriter says:

    The age-old question–do you want to know or be in blissful ignorance. You provided the answer. Great story.

    Here’s mine:


  39. storydivamg says:

    The best part about this story, Sandra, is everything you leave unsaid.

    All my best,


  40. MissTiffany says:

    So much story packed into only 100 words! Well done. Poor woman.


  41. maru clavier says:

    I like the title… so much. A complete story that may be the life of more than one.
    She chooses to stay and wait for him. It’s her decision.
    May be not so imperfect for her, in spite of the last question.


  42. subroto says:

    Very well written and much unsaid left to the reader’s imagination. Not easy to judge why some people stay where others would have left long ago.


  43. Sarah Ann says:

    Such a wonderful titl to describe this story. I’m with Rochelle – I don’t know how she can put up with her husband’s behaviour. You leave so much unsaid and push us down one route. Of course, we have no idea what she gets up to while he’s away.


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