Requiem – Friday Fictioneers, September 2018

Copyright J Hardy Carroll

She reacts like a startled deer when I slide into the pew beside her.

“Shall you miss him, my dear?” I say conversationally.

A heartbeat, then “Won’t everyone?” she parries.

“Well, none more than you, I suspect.”

She’d bolt, but I’m firmly blocking her way.

“He was well-loved,” she says.

“And thoroughly too,” I add, “I’m surprised there aren’t more of you here.”

I regret that immediately, and take her hand, painfully registering the contrast in our skin.

“I think he loved you.”

“But not enough to leave you,” she whispers.

They always want it all, don’t they, these girls?

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness… love it!  This has been the final week of the writing competition for which I’m a member of the judging panel.  There have been some eye-openers, particularly an almost universal trend amongst the under 18’s to deliver dystopian, post-apocalyptic stories which, when read one after another, would drive you to the medicine cupboard.  Looking forward to a little light relief from this week’s Friday Fictioneers, under the leadership of the gracious Rochelle Wisoff Fields.

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.

78 Responses to Requiem – Friday Fictioneers, September 2018

  1. neilmacdon says:

    Revenge is a dish best served cold. Nice one, Sandra

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Aww I actually felt for them both!

    Like

  3. Martin Cororan says:

    Ohh that’s good. Men!

    Like

  4. Iain Kelly says:

    Love is a complicated thing – sounds like he has left quite a trail of hurt behind him, although they seem quite accepting after his demise. Nicely done Sandra.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. jillyfunnell says:

    The apparently throwaway reference to her suspicion that there might have been more “like you” there, the contrast in skin – subtle and brilliant.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Dear Sandra,

    Oh, I could feel the tension, thick as clotted cream between these two. Claws at the ready. Well done as always. Perhaps it’s all those dystopian stories. 😉

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Excellent story, Sandra. I loved your little touch that vividly showed these two women: and take her hand, painfully registering the contrast in our skin. Masterfully done!

    Susan A Eames at
    Travel, Fiction and Photos

    Like

  8. Saturated with emotion, yet spare. I like this piece a lot.

    Like

  9. Abhijit Ray says:

    One man loved by two ladies. Lucky!

    Like

  10. pennygadd51 says:

    That is an absolute cracker, Sandra! I love it!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Prior... says:

    emotional and some parts were dense to really have me ponder – like the “contrast in our skin” and love conundrum

    Like

  12. gahlearner says:

    Ah, the dilemma. I admire the wife’s acceptance and bitchy-humorous forgiveness. When you’re young you think you can get what you want. Great story.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I think in the end his heart was not big enough I guess… and afterwards the mistress get nothing.

    Like

  14. michael1148humphris says:

    I enjoyed how you paced this piece. And how you delivered nuggets of information

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Oh, I see a trail of women in this man’s past. You portrayed hurt, longing, a pinch of anger, all covered with a sprinkle of raised hackles. Nicely done.

    Like

  16. Dale says:

    Now that he is gone, maybe they can become friends 😉
    Buahahah… No? Maybe not. And yet, they do have something in common…

    Like

  17. A great sense of pathos there, yet peace, for the wife seems to accept her late husband’s follies in a matter-of-fact way.

    Like

  18. I wonder if I would react the same, she is tough but gracious.

    Like

  19. I wonder if it ended there? Nice one Sandra

    Like

  20. draliman says:

    I like the initial air of “polite confrontation” followed by almost camaraderie.

    Like

  21. Kalpana Solsi says:

    I could feel the pain and bitterness at his funeral. very sensitively handled.

    https://ideasolsi65.blogspot.com/2018/09/uncertain.html

    Like

  22. Laurie Bell says:

    Ooooo ouch. She was certainly stong to even sit there without losing it.

    Like

  23. elappleby says:

    This was great. Especially that first line, you have a wonderful way with words.

    Like

  24. subroto says:

    Ah! Loved the dialogue in this one. She thrusts and parries and draws blood. But then she has been wounded too.

    Like

  25. Liz Young says:

    The man was lucky to have such an understanding wife!

    Like

  26. Rowena says:

    I’ve read this few a few times Sandra to try to digest the subtleties and my take of the wife’s stance. They both seem very calm for a funeral of a husband/lover. No tears. Able to speak. The wife clear knew about this other woman and suspected others but she hadn’t left and I wonder whether she was quite fine with him having these affairs. Perhaps, their own attraction had faded but they were still friends, loved each other and wanted to stay together. Quite an interesting scenario you’ve created here. Well done.
    As a parent of teens, I become concerned by some of their dystopian, post-apocalyptic stories. However, thinking back to myself at the same age, there was a lot of angst about being dumped which probably inched way to close to the end it all scenario. My grandmother used to suggest I take up floral arranging to lift my spirits. The funny thing was that my cousin became a florist and she’d suggest she do more reading. This seemed inconsistent until I later realized that she gave each of us personal advice which was probably striving for more of a balance. After reading my dark poetry, she’d say that she’s looking forward to reading something when I fall in love and meet my future husband. I think I’d be saying much the same thing to my kids as I’d find such interaction with the dark side, a big concern.
    Best wishes,
    Rowena

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      I think the point I was trying to get across was that the wife had accepted her lot, having at least his presence in her home and her life. The mistress had the love, but that would never be enough. I think the young contestants in the writing competition must have been given a steer by their teacher – surely not all would go down the same path unbidden. Or maybe they would. Thanks for dropping by.

      Like

  27. Wonderful! I felt the tension from the first sentence and felt sorry for them both in different ways. Somewhere along the line, the main character has come to terms with his infidelity and even encourages the young woman; she regrets her harshness, takes the woman’s hand, and encourages her by saying, “I think he loved you.” Much communicated and very few words. I learn a lot from reading your stories.

    Like

  28. ooooooooo. Yep, it takes a certain type of character to show up at the funeral of your lover and sit next to his widow; probably the same type of character to undertake an affair in the first place. Well done, like the bits of snark.

    Like

  29. Oh my … such a sad thing for them both in different ways.
    Of course, now, they’ll find a new man. Hopefully, it isn’t the same one.
    Isadora 😎

    Like

  30. Hmm they don’t really seem to miss him too much. Perhaps they or one of the others did him in? Nicely done.

    Like

  31. lisarey1990 says:

    Wonderful tension & emotion.

    Like

  32. Sarah Ann says:

    A strong woman this wife. A loss for all of them though. You paint the wife’s oneupmanship and tenderness, as well as the shock for the girlfriend being approached, so well.

    Like

  33. Enjoyed your story but I must admit your post script even more. (lol)

    Like

  34. Love the way the dialogue carries such a subtle and passionate dynamic between the two women. very skilfully done.

    Like

  35. I really enjoyed this piece. The voices were spot on. I couldn’t work out exactly the narrator’s tone – Sympathetic? Revengeful? Resigned? Teasing? – but enjoyed it all the more for this. I suspect this is what she (and you) were hoping for 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  36. StuHN says:

    That will teach her not to leave an empty seat next to her.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. pennygadd51 says:

    I’ve just read the story again. It’s just fantastic. So very, very well written. That last line is an absolute killer conclusion. Well done, Sandra!

    Like

  38. plaridel says:

    it only shows that love is a complicated thing but we still fall for it anyway.

    Like

  39. Sounds like he was a bit of a player but his going leaves them only regrets and nothing to fight over anymore.

    Like

  40. Susan says:

    Sandra, beautifully written. I felt for both woman, who loved a man who could not be faithful to either. Nicely done.

    Like

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