Last One Standing – Friday Fictioneers, August 2020

Copyright J Hardy

It’s always a balancing act; her mood flickers across the full spectrum in response to words or deeds imperceptible to most of us.

You learn to tip-toe around her, to cajole, reassure or sometimes just step back for a short while, give some space.  Good friends do this; it becomes second nature.

It becomes wearing too, and though friendship is a slow-burning flame – exasperation and lassitude eventually snuff it out.  The others make their excuses, slipping away for ever, shoulders raised, palms upturned.

You realise there was a moment, and you missed it.

Now you cannot be the last to leave.


The last Friday Fictioneers of the summer of 2020.  How time flies even when you’re not having fun.  Thanks to Rochelle for leading this international group through all seasons, all eventualities.  



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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46 Responses to Last One Standing – Friday Fictioneers, August 2020

  1. Ananda says:

    so much packed in so little


  2. neilmacdon says:

    I loved “You realise there was a moment, and you missed it.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Sandra,

    We all have had someone in our lives like that, haven’t we? I had one and recently she flushed me from her life. Have no idea what I did to offend. But it never took much. 😉 Well told as always.




  4. I know people like that. I guess they are doomed until they do something about it. Painfully realistic, Sandra!


  5. Iain Kelly says:

    Exasperation and lassitude is a good way to describe it. It takes a lot of hard work to stop any relationship falling into these states. Great stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Mike says:

    This is one fine piece of writing,

    Liked by 1 person

  7. ceayr says:

    Superb dissection of the human condition.
    Brutally, beautifully, accurate.


  8. Rowena says:

    You raise some really important philosophical questions in this piece, Sandra. If you ask most people, they’d say they would desert a friend when they’re at the end of their ope and of course, everyone wants to make a difference. However, there are these difficult cactus-like people and perhaps there comes a point where even the most altruistic of friends feels the need to pull the plug. There are also people we identify from a distance as “trouble”, “needy” and steer clear. Cross the road. It also depends on what’s going on for us at the time. We don’t always have room in the tank to take these people on. However, it’s very hard when we’re the last one standing. Do we have any other ethical choice, but to stay? Ideally, you can increase their circle a bit and take the pressure off.
    Meanwhile, your story could well be about my person. I’d say your story could well be the precursor to mine and their luck isn’t on the way up.
    Hope you’re going okay.
    Best wishes,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sandra says:

      Yes, it can be difficult to know when to cut and run, and there’s always the hope that things will get better. But it’s important not to be the last one to go. That makes a difficult job even more difficult. Thanks for reading.


  9. Superb writing. I like your word choice.


  10. msjadeli says:

    Weighing worth in any relationship reduces it to something tangible, which demeans it. It doesn’t mean that it isn’t sometimes necessary to do. Good articulation in few words, Sandra.


  11. Liz Young says:

    We’ve all been there – the too-needy friend you can’t abandon. Well observed.


  12. After reading this I sat for a while and cast my mind back. It really struck a chord.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. pennygadd51 says:

    Wow! So accurate, and written immaculately. What a great take on the prompt, too. This is terrific, Sandra!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. You took many elements from this photo – balance, the weird light, the shoulders holding another person – and worked them into a perfect piece of writing. So very well done. Lish


  15. Dora says:

    I was totally unprepared for this take on the picture: but it fits like hand and glove. The psychological swings of such a friendship really does become a balancing act, and in the end, wearing. Well done, Sandra. Enjoyed this!


  16. plaridel says:

    friendship is like ballroom dancing. it takes two to make it work. it ends when one doesn’t follow the beat and slip away.


  17. I totally love this; unexpected take on the prompt and nuanced portrait of a delicate relationship between two who feel deeply in different ways!


  18. Nobbinmaug says:

    Sounds like bipolar disorder or depression. Somebody should suggest help/medication. I’m sure she would decline and fight it, but it’s better than abandoning someone who needs help. Of course, emotional responses are more readily available than rational ones. This is a deep piece. I feel bad for everybody involved.


  19. Sue says:

    Well done! I can relate to this story. It seems we all have “that friend” who tests our patience, and maybe for others we are that friend.


  20. Bill says:

    Nicely done, Sandra. Enjoyed the story more than the reality of many relationships.


  21. Friendships take time to blossom and I guess take time to go out, a really brilliant piece


  22. Dale says:

    Excuse me but summer ends September 21 (though I suspect, like me, you’re done with this season!)
    As for your story, sounds so much like my sister (who’s birthday is the 22 Sept – 1st official day of Autumn 😉 ..) and we tiptoe around her too… Not able to quite walk away…


  23. Great story! Love the phrase “friendship is a slow-burning flame.”


  24. draliman says:

    Sad for the person your narrator is talking about, and a difficult situation for your narrator. Beautifully written.


  25. granonine says:

    Sandra, this is a perfect description of someone who perhaps has Borderline Personality Disorder. Eventually, she sucks her relationships dry. Very unhappy, they are constantly in search of a new best friend. Well done.


  26. Danny James says:

    There are some beautiful words you put together. One can learn from them.


  27. It’s sad. Those who are so easily offended and not open to feedback end up leading a very lonely existence, never understanding why everyone has abandoned them. The friend in your story sounds like a long-suffering good friend, well worth knowing. I enjoy your thought provoking deep stories so much.


  28. Tannille says:

    Difficult people… This story is so relatable. Triggering. Well done!


  29. robprice59 says:

    Interesting take on the photo prompt


  30. siobhan1967 says:

    This was sad with a real bite to it, powerful writing. I know that kind of person though and it’s utterly exhausting trying to keep up with their moods, even though it’s not (always) their fault. It’s definitely easier to walk away.


  31. Laurie Bell says:

    Wow, this is great, digging into some very heavy emotional responses and fear of triggering an explosion. Well done


  32. subroto says:

    As a recently flushed from someone’s life person this resonated with me. Very well done.


  33. ahtdoucette says:

    A powerful story that makes me feel vaguely called out. ^_^ I feel like this person would probably do well to leave and not keep enabling this behavior. Sometimes alone with ourselves is exactly where we need to be. Interesting take on the prompt.


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