A Chip Off The Old Block (Friday Fictioneers, July 2014)

Copyright Claire Fuller

My father has made an art form out of inscrutability; emotions, his or mine, have represented an inconvenient ripple on the mirrored surface of our peaceful co-existence.

Over the years I’ve learned to sublimate my feelings, maintaining a cool interchange of political or literary opinion whilst engaging with him in detached observations on the human condition.

It’s worked for us both…perfectly.

But now, through the long nights, we sit together, he and I … and the elephant in the room.

“I’m afraid,” he mutters.

“Fear is only as deep as the mind allows,” I observe.

See how perfectly I’ve become him.

Perfectly inadequate…

Friday Fictioneers kicks off with a new prompt this week, and Rochelle is firmly back in control and probably already kicking ass.  🙂   My attempt at ‘humour’ last week seemed to fall largely on stony ground, and it’s too soon to go back to ‘dark’ … so now for something a bit… well, worrying. 

About Sandra

I cruise the French waterways with my husband four or five months a year, and write fiction and poetry. 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.

73 Responses to A Chip Off The Old Block (Friday Fictioneers, July 2014)

  1. Dear Sandra,

    I’m not sure you should refer to me as kicking anything. 😉

    “He and I… and the elephant in the room.” A sad commentary on too many. I read this twice. I’d call it a tragedy. Well done.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Like

  2. elappleby says:

    A stone cold story! I feel sorry for the old man whose child refuses to allow him to express his fears, but it sounds like he brought it on himself. A very clever bit of writing.

    Like

  3. mscwhite says:

    A wonderfully written story! You had me hooked from the first paragraph!

    Like

  4. Indira says:

    Excellent story Sandra. It touched me. In 100 words you said it all.

    Like

  5. Sandra, Unfortunately she learned the lesson well. It’s a shame for both of them. Well written as always. 🙂 —Susan

    Like

  6. This might be my favorite of yours so far. Reminds me a bit of the Harry Chapin song “Cat’s in the Cradle.” (I’m gonna be like you, Dad.)

    Like

  7. So heartbreaking, even more for the fact that she is aware of her shortcomings.

    Like

  8. Powerful, heart-breaking, and so familiar to many. I hope this was fiction for you. Gave me a chill.

    Like

  9. Liz Young says:

    What a shame they couldn’t connect towards the end.

    Like

  10. blawson834 says:

    Each person has something to learn, its what we do with what we have learned that is important.
    Very good story.

    Like

  11. paulmclem says:

    Some nice writing in here. Don’t totally get the ending, but it doesn’t really detract from the piece too much.

    Like

  12. Nice! So many ideas wrapped up in 100 words.

    Like

  13. Such lovely writing Sandra. A wonderful cool tone of voice to go with the character.
    Claire

    Like

  14. We do pick up the more awkward traits of our near ones. Well illustrated.

    Like

  15. Good job, and really too eloquent for “The Cat’s in the Cradle” to be running through my head, but “the cats in the cradle and the silver spoon, Little Boy Blue and the man in the moon. When you comin’ home, son? I don’t know when…” ARGH! 🙂 Great story, Sandra.

    Like

  16. Lucy says:

    What great writing. Reminds me of my dad. Well done. Lucy

    Like

  17. dianathrelfo says:

    Enormously insightful and sad. And so interesting given the photo prompt.

    Like

  18. Clever, and subtle – and real, but down to the smallest detail: he ”mutters”, does not quiver, whine or say. Very very good. Rich style, quite unique.

    Like

  19. draliman says:

    Very clever. It must have been a joyless household, and now at the end she is unable to offer him comfort.

    Like

  20. Very interesting story. He taught her well, and I understand his fear. Great job.

    Like

  21. Nan Falkner says:

    Dear Sandra, Great writing – and I see this playing out through your words. Excellent! I can’t identify with the estrangement with a father because I had a really good relationship with my daddy. He died the day before my 32 birthday and it was unexpected and so very sad. You did a great job with this subject Sandra. Nan 🙂

    Like

  22. camgal says:

    I do believe there is some agony in being cold…and your story depicts that perfectly.

    Like

  23. rgayer55 says:

    Sometimes people put up walls around their emotions thinking self-protection, but ultimately it becomes self-destruction. Bridges are much better than walls. Great writing, as always, Sandra.

    Like

  24. storydivamg says:

    Sandra,
    This prompt seems to have brought a nice, varied collection to the Fictioneers table this week. I enjoyed your contemplation of family and the changing roles.
    All my best,
    MG

    Like

  25. They are like strangers to each other. You made me sad for both of them. Well done, as usual, Sandra.

    Like

  26. K.Z. says:

    sadly, i can relate. impeccably written as always Sandra!

    Like

  27. MythRider says:

    Powerful and sad. Unfortunately true for too many.
    Well done.

    Like

  28. I think we are more like our partents than we care to admit but not as much as we fear.

    Like

  29. So much said in so few words…both in and out of the story. We all have those elephants in the room.

    Like

  30. Pratik Kirve says:

    Fear is only as deep as the mind allows – so true!! 🙂
    Thanks for sharing this insight.

    Like

  31. This was one of the most beautiful pieces you have ever published here on the Fictioneers site. One of the only ones not told in dialogue, nor hooked with a clever twist at the end. Your prose was both perfect and perfectly evocative of a real relationship and the confrontation with the unspoken. Gorgeous.

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      Thank you for that Lindaura! 🙂 I’ve not been too satisfied with a lot of the work I’ve done recently, but I came reasonably close with this piece so I appreciate your endorsement.

      Like

  32. Well written, Sandra 🙂

    Like

  33. MrBinks says:

    Really liked this. Well done.

    Like

  34. hafong says:

    I recognize these people – too close to home. I really like it though.
    Lily

    Like

  35. “Fear is only as deep as the mind allows,” I loved that!
    Nice 🙂

    Like

  36. aj vosse says:

    There’s power in the truth, even when fictionalised! 😉

    Like

  37. Sandra, this is a wonderful piece all the way through. I think it’s all too true in many cases, where people become one of their parents and both are trapped in what they are, unable to communicate even in the last a/o most difficult moments. Terribly sad, but beautifully written.

    janet

    Like

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