Microfiction #writephoto: Tryst

This is for Sue Vincent’s #writephoto prompt. Inspiration didn’t come immediately for this one. When I started the story, hesitantly, just setting the scene, I didn’t know what tale the character was going to tell. I let her tell it in her own way, and she did.

summerhouse

 

We used to meet here every evening, just as the sun was going down. If my father had known he would have disowned me. If your father had known…I don’t suppose he would have cared. Your honour wasn’t at stake after all. The park was well kept in those days, and families would crowd around the bandstand on fine Saturday afternoons. Often we would see you, your mother’s arm tucked in yours, and you would tip your hat with a polite smile, but the twinkle in your eye was just for me.

The evenings were ours. Bats flitted back and forth between the shadows and the light in the sky. The moon lit our way through the crowding rhododendrons, and you would take me in your arms, so firm and strong, and we would kiss and make promises, hot and fervent.

That was before the war, before we could be wed, before we had time to know one another. It was a time of dreams, plans and unknown futures. I never recovered from your death. They told me I should be ashamed, that the menfolk were dying in their thousands to protect us, and I had no business crying. But I cried. I cried so much Father wanted to have me locked up. In the end, nobody had the time to concern themselves with me. When Fred was killed, Mother retired to her room and never came out. That I floated around the house like a wraith was neither here nor there. The death of a brother, a son, an heir was a tragic loss. That I was still alive was almost too hard for Mother to bear.

I still come to the bandstand though it has been silent for so long now. I still wait for you to find your way here from that field in Flanders where your life ended. Perhaps you never will. Perhaps your spirit was dispersed like your body and you wander among the stars now, looking for me and waiting. I watch the stars on summer nights and try to make out your face, but the glitter gets in my eyes, and the tears blur the sky. They say I was mad. Perhaps I was. Perhaps this is what happens to mad people; they can never let go. The wheel goes round and round beyond death, beyond longing.

I part the rhododendrons and climb the wormy steps to the bandstand. The bats flit back and forth, and the stars glitter like the light in your eyes. Perhaps this will be the evening you come to me.

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Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

50 thoughts on “Microfiction #writephoto: Tryst”

  1. I loved this Jane. I had an aunt whose husband was killed in 1917 in France. She was just a new mother, her son born after his father left for the war. She lived until the 1980’s and never remarried but lived a life as a single woman and mother. I often wondered if she thought about him, I was too young to ask and she lived away from where I lived. Her son died a few back aged 94…..

    1. It was the lost generation in every sense. The young men were killed and the young women lost their sweethearts had no one else to marry even if they’d wanted to. A great-uncle of mine was sent to the Somme when he already had five children! It’s hard to write about war in any way but tragic.

  2. This captures so much of the essence of those times, the tragedies and losses, not only personal and familial, but also in a grander scale. Great write Jane.

      1. my pleasure – and yes, yes, you’ve definitely gotten it completely right, in my opinion and estimation …. spot on – wouldn’t change a thing as such ….

      1. Put it this way, if I had to defend it in a court, I would. I wrote it; I take responsibility, but it’s the value of it I can’t judge, or even if I was totally in control of the words that came out. Sounds stupid put like that…

      2. No I understand, sometimes it is hard to tell if anothers opinion is genuine when they are ‘ virtual’ rather than looking you in the eye. But it is particularly good.

      3. It’s more my own opinion I don’t trust! But you’re right about ‘the virtual’ praise. I don’t mean yours, but when you write a piece for a prompt and all the contributors are in the habit of commenting on all the other contributions, there’s usually not much except wholehearted praise. People want to be nice.

  3. Oh Jane – you said to get the hanky out and you were right! Such a sad tale, I think this must be a sad image. Lovely, if heart-wrenching, response.

    Like you, I wasn’t sure where my response would go, all I had was the opening sentence. But in the end it was a break-up story…

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