The View from Down Here – Friday Fictioneers, February 2016

Copyright Sandra Crook

Copyright Sandra Crook

They’d arrived late, after a long drive.

“Would you,” asked the funeral director, “like to view the body?”

“No!” Ellie gasped, horrified.

“I would,” said David, grim-faced, ignoring his sister. “I’ve never been frightened of Dad, and I’m not going to start now he’s dead.”

Crushed, she lingered outside the chapel-of-rest.

Years passed.

“Would you like to say goodbye to your mother?” says the same man today.

Ellie’s guilt smoulders still.

“Certainly.”

“Sir?”

David recoils.

The sands of time may have shifted, but the moral high ground remains firmly in place.

“God, no! I’m not one for gawping at the dead.”

 


Saying goodbye to friends and familiar places today, before we start our journey north again.  I’ll miss drifting off to sleep to sounds of waves breaking on the beach a few hundred yards away, but not waking up to the sound of refuse collectors loudly emptying the bins on the street outside at 2 in the morning, or the street-sweeper patrolling at dawn.  What is it about Spain and nocturnal utilities?  Thanks to Rochelle for using one of my photos this week, and for her unswerving commitment to Friday Fictioneers.

Advertisements

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.

83 Responses to The View from Down Here – Friday Fictioneers, February 2016

  1. Querida Sandra,

    I like the way you worked in sands of time without it being about the prompt. I for one prefer closed casket. No one ever looks like they did when they were alive. As always, your writing is wonderful. Well done.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    PS Perhaps those nocturnal Spaniards think that no one hears them at night. Maybe?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ceayr says:

    Charming tale of hypocrisy and, perhaps, cowardice.
    Dad is one thing, mum something else entirely.
    I think you have captured the view of many men.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sandra says:

    I had something in there about grey hair on the first funeral, and white on the second but I had to let it go for the wordcount. So ‘sands of time’ was a bit less relevant. And the nocturnal Spaniards – so laid back they would never even register the noise they make. Besos!

    Like

  4. This speaks volumes about relationships with our parents. I’d love to know more about that family.
    Great second sentence, the way you’ve split the dialogue – it adds a sense of tension.

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      I think it says something about relationships between brothers and sisters too. Ellie might learn to wait until the received wisdom has been delivered. Because it’s always going to be different from her take.:)

      Like

  5. Oh, I love how you played this. One guided by guilt, the other by remorse.

    Like

  6. I’ve always been used to going to the funeral parlor to view the open casket. You get used to it. As Catholics, we knelt on a kneeler placed beside the casket to pray. My grandmother and then my dad some years later both looked good. We had my mother cremated after saying “Goodbye” at the nursing home. We had to transport her body quite a distance by car so had little choice. She was buried beside my dad. I guess it’s what you become used to. It looks like your characters found solace in disagreeing with each other. Wel-written, Sandra. —– Suzanne

    Like

  7. Great shift in view. Have a good trip.

    Like

  8. yarnspinnerr says:

    Great post and thank you for a awesome prompt pic.

    Like

  9. This reminds me of a recent conversation I had about how our perspective changes over time. I didn’t even realize the picture was of a sand dial. I took it as some kind of symbol, which I guess it is.

    Like

  10. Such an interesting set of relationships! It seems very cinematic to me, and brought to mind the movie “The Savages” (2007 movie with Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman), because the siblings have to deal with a dying father, plus their complex relationship with each and him.
    Yours is a beautiful, and tersely written, story!

    Like

  11. I have only seen the body of my father… and it was a moment I will always remember.. somehow I grew up that day… the story itself says a lot of the way a hypocrite never can be wrong…

    Like

  12. Brothers and sisters, parents, and the complexities of relationships when it comes to the final time and place. I cannot stand the sight of anyone in that state; I wish I had never seen one. The feelings of the characters tell a lot about their lives and feelings.

    Like

  13. Sandra, this is a great picture and a great story for it. It’s interesting that how they reacted to each death differently tells a lot about them.
    -David

    Like

  14. Carolyn Page says:

    I didn’t make it on time to the viewing of my mother. I don’t regret this; though, my sisters tell me she looked peaceful.
    I’m sure your piece will/has evoked many memories for many. We will all respond somewhat differently.

    Like

  15. Judee says:

    How simply and skillfully you use this very short tale to tell so much about the brother and sister and their relationship. Speaks volumes.

    Like

  16. Pingback: Reading in bed is… | MJL Stories

  17. Pingback: Blue de Nimes | unbuttoned or undone

  18. Pingback: Friday Fictioneers — Swallowed by a Maze | Sarah Potter Writes

  19. Oooo, I feel like punching him in the face! Well written, Sandra. You’ve managed to hit a raw nerve and triggered some memories of times my blood was made to boil.

    Like

  20. trentpmcd says:

    There’s sibling rivalry and then there are people like David.Great story. And a great prompt.

    Like

  21. gahlearner says:

    Ah, the hypocrisy, wonderful and so, so typical for many male-female dynamics still. Typical, too, that she feels guilt. He won’t. Great story, and thank you for that picture.

    Like

  22. liz young says:

    ‘Moral high ground’ – my own brother is good at standing there! Great story and lovely sand-timer.

    Like

  23. emmylgant says:

    Excellent observations of family dynamics. Well captured and masterly expressed

    Like

  24. mjlstories says:

    I wonder which sibling will be looking in on the other eventually.

    Like

  25. Bloggeuse says:

    Thanks for the lovely prompt this week, Sandra! Love your work as ever – and wishing you a safe trip north. Besitos! x

    Like

  26. Jan Brown says:

    Very interesting portrayal of sibling interaction. Very realistic, too. Sibling rivalry seems to last well into adulthood!

    Thank you also for this week’s photo–a great story prompt.

    Safe travels!

    Like

  27. Pingback: Time Capsulated – Friday Fictioneers – The Bumble FIles

  28. Indira says:

    Loved your story and style Sandra. You are always good.

    Like

  29. ansumani says:

    Well written story Sandra.

    Like

  30. Amy Reese says:

    Guilt can be a strong motivator, especially in the final hour. Wonderful writing, Sandra. Thanks for the great photo.

    Like

  31. plaridel says:

    despite the light-hearted tone, the story has a serious streak in it. well done.

    Like

  32. Dale says:

    It’s funny how all that works… when my son died, I wanted open casket and my husband did not. I said people need to see to say goodbye, he said it wasn’t necessary. (For some strange reason, we just could not cremate a baby…) Now that said husband has passed on and was cremated before any viewing was possible, I think it is so much easier. I dunno. Is there a right way and a wrong way? Siblings aside…
    Great use of the prompt, Sandra. And thanks for a great photo! I was stumped for a bit!

    Like

  33. draliman says:

    Quite a turn-around. There’s no way I’d want to see my relatives after they’ve died.

    Like

  34. rgayer55 says:

    My mother once made a remark that if she didn’t see the body at the funeral she felt somehow cheated. My oldest brother, however, was just the opposite. He refused to attend Dad’s visitation (viewing or wake) and didn’t show up at the funeral until the casket was placed over the grave and he was confident it would not be opened. He was also adamant that he have a closed casket funeral and his wife followed through on his wishes. To me, the body is just a cold, empty container once the soul is gone.

    Thanks for the photo. I had fun with it.

    Like

  35. oldentimes says:

    So true, Recently we had a similar situation in our family.
    I loved the photo. It took me down several paths before I landed on one for my post

    Like

  36. I guess this says a lot about how the siblings felt about their parents in life. Interesting. Thanks for the photo Sandra.

    ‘About Harry’, my 100 words!

    Like

  37. Dee says:

    Thanks for a great photo this week Sandra and a great story to go with it. Belated congratulations on your competition win, I would have know it was one of yours anywhere, loved it. Well done.

    Like

  38. Sibling rivalry never ends! It’s an interesting photo Sandra. Thanks for the prompt.

    Like

  39. mickwynn2013 says:

    The first body I saw was my father’s, I never want to see another. Closed casket for me from now on, whatever my sisters say. Great observation on absurd, sibling rivalry.

    Like

  40. Susan Langer says:

    Such rivalry between the two. They will probably not stay in touch much now at this point. Well written story. 🙂

    Like

  41. erinleary says:

    Thank you for a fun prompt this week. Your story feels familiar to me – losing my mom and dad so close together, it was interesting to see how my brothers and sisters reacted. You captured that well.

    Like

  42. Jenn says:

    Ha! Some people always want to have the upper hand. No matter what you do, they would do it differently. Great story.

    Like

  43. Margaret says:

    David’s got issues. Great little study of a disagreeable man – I like your ‘moral high ground’ reference – there really are people like that. Poor Ellie.

    Like

  44. Lori Carlson says:

    Wonderful story, Sandra.. I love the shift in attitude. Well done!

    Like

  45. subroto says:

    David loves having his way it seems, you’ve really captured some interesting family dynamics there.

    Like

I'd love to hear your views; it reassures me I'm not talking to myself.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s