The Evening Commute – Friday Fictioneers, December 2018

Copyright Dawn Miller


Those fleeting insights into other people’s lives…

Lights flicker over someone leaning on his spade, staring up as we pass.  A family at dinner, glimpsed through undrawn curtains; a tantalising shadow on a blind as someone dons or discards their glad-rags.

I see long barren stretches of unlit fields, headlights threading through hedgerows and strafing the winter skies, smoke curling above cosy barges bobbing on the trackside canal, and planes winking slowly earthwards.

The train slows, brakes squeal, doors slam.

And, two stations before home, the greatest insight of all.

You, on the platform, in someone else’s arms.

All change then


Well, got through November without plumbing the darkest depths, as I usually do, and now just two and a half more weeks before the days start getting longer… 🙂  I wonder when the WordPress snowflakes will start?  Thanks as ever to Rochelle for leading the Friday Fictioneers onwards and upwards.

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.
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88 Responses to The Evening Commute – Friday Fictioneers, December 2018

  1. neilmacdon says:

    Wonderful, Sandra. Elegant metaphors, a layered story, and a poignant ending for the girl on the train

    Liked by 2 people

  2. ceayr says:

    Ah, Sandra, you draw us in with such apparent ease, then deliver the coup de grace so elegantly.
    No change then…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful imagery, some lovely metaphors. Wonderful writing Sandra. Just a small question… was the last line ‘All change then… or, did you mean all changed then? Just a small query. Thanks again for a wonderful story.


  4. Dear Sandra,

    I felt her anticipation as she takes in the well described scenery. And I was in the last gut wrenching, disappointing moment. Well done as always.




  5. I was alongside you watching the ever-changing scene from the window then along came that final image. Beautifully written Sandra


  6. Heartbeak. These things should be filed under “don’t want to know,” but there is no unseeing betrayal. Well done.


  7. Reena Saxena says:

    Oops! The guy did not know about your schedules? 🙂


  8. Iain Kelly says:

    Who knew people watching could be so dangerous. All change indeed – great last line.


  9. I enjoyed the imagery from the train window and then felt heartbroken for her as her world changes so horribly. The last line is brilliant.


  10. lisarey1990 says:

    Beautiful imagery.


  11. granonine says:

    Such a sense of normality, peace, homegoing—SMASHED! in one sentence. Wow. I’m breathless.


  12. Sue says:

    Oh, fantastic use of a few words!!


  13. Such simplicity at first: a family dining, a man leaning on a spade, open fields.
    Then the rug gets pulled out from under him/her? I love that you don’t let us know.


  14. Such simplicity at first: a man leaning, a family dining, empty fields. The BAM the reality that he/she is being betrayed. I love the fact you don’t let us know if a man or woman is looking out the window.


    • Sandra says:

      I was conscious of the ‘gender-free’ aspect as I wrote it, wondering whether any tell-tale words would naturally emerge. I have a preference to leave my characters nameless, and now I’m wondering whether subconsciously I’m going a step further… 🙂


  15. jillyfunnell says:

    So beautifully written, Sandra, phrase after phrase that pulled me further in – a gentle journey, well observed, that ends with a nightmare discovery. Fine storytelling!


  16. I love it… all those little details, to see or eavesdrop into other’s lives… maybe even judging until you see that flaw in your own… yes after that everything changes.


  17. plaridel says:

    love it except for the unexpected ending. 😦


  18. Dale says:

    Shouldn’t the WP snowflakes already be fluttering?

    Wonderfully told story of a most rude awakening…


  19. Rommy Driks says:

    The metaphors were neat little slices of life, but that last one. That was clever and devastating.


  20. Lovely descriptions of views from the train until they come upon the last view. Nicely done.


  21. This is amazing. You suggest the insights into other’s lives, which intimates possible transgressions and then find one near the end. Your writing is so so well done!


  22. Those last three sentences kick expectations right in the gut. The setup works so well. I was reading comfortably, listening to the murmur of the train, watching the outside happen, when that sight caught me by surprise… All can change in a moment, indeed.


  23. Such beautifully descriptive prose. And then, your trademark ending. I’m so jealous as a writer 🙂


  24. Abhijit Ray says:

    Nice description through the eyes of a person commuting regularly. Nice story.


  25. This paints such a vivid scene it’s extraordinary. And I’ve learned a new word – strafing – which is always a good thing!


  26. aFrankAngle says:

    Over from Dale’s. Well done. Seeing the picture, the story in my head was broadly similar to yours … that is, riding along then see something unexpected. Very good writing on your part!


  27. draliman says:

    Beautiful, and great last line. Daydreaming about others’ lives only to have your own turned upside down.


  28. Liz Young says:

    Uh-oh. Your lovely warm cosy journey took a trip into a cold shower.


  29. pennygadd51 says:

    Fabulous writing, Sandra. The delightful descriptions were reminding me of ‘Wind in the Willows’ – one of my favourite books – when all of a sudden, BAM! and you turn the world upside down. That story really is an object lesson in how to write a Drabble – perfectly paced and absolutely to the point!


  30. wildchild47 says:

    Superbly worded. Loved the details about the clouds and the planes winking to earth and lights threading through hedgerows. And thanks for explaining in the comments the last line. It’s definitely not familiar to my knowledge to N.A. “train terminology” although I did suspect the gist of it.


  31. I really enjoyed that. The views into other peoples lives as the train passes, outward looking, and then a revelation into their own life. Brilliant.


  32. Violet Lentz says:

    Wonderful. You lulled me into comfort only to dash me upon the tracks!!!


  33. i b arora says:

    the story had to end this way, great story-telling


  34. After reading Neil & C.E.’s comments, there wasn’t much left for me to say. In my opinion, you set the Gold Standard for how to write Flash Fiction.


  35. michael1148humphris says:

    Lovely descriptions and a great last line.


  36. Well told. You are a master of the art Sandra.


  37. Russell says:

    Awesome story! Very well written!


  38. James McEwan says:

    I loved the descriptive narrative, so real and such a gentle lull into a satisfactory world – then bam!


  39. magarisa says:

    A heartbreaking final image. Beautiful, vivid writing.


  40. Although the end was sad, the journey was enjoyable.


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

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