Getting it wrong

The prosery challenge for dverse was such a hard one I had to try to crack it. It doesn’t work, in the sense that I would not usually use words in this way, but the phrase is all there, unbroken, intact, and the story came out at exactly 144 words.

“when it is over said and done

it was a time

                  and there was never enough of it.”

 –Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, “A Time”


You only appreciate love when it is over, said and done it. Was a time, and there was never enough of it, when love seemed as though it would last forever, when the words we said weren’t platitudes, when what we did and planned seemed utterly exceptional.

Life teaches us different. It isn’t lines pinched from romantic films or silly presents, flowers that wilt and smell rank that guarantee a life of happiness, it’s the things that never need to be spoken, asked or told. It’s the presents of presence, of doing what needs to be done unbidden, not expecting thanks or praise.

We learned that the hard way, by taking the wrong route, gathering flowers and useless presents that ended up in the bin with the unpaid bills and left our faces with the sour lines about the mouth that never go away.

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.

57 thoughts on “Getting it wrong”

  1. Such wisdom and depth in this wonderfully woven prose piece, Jane! 💝 Indeed, ” it’s the things that never need to be spoken, asked or told.” 🙂

  2. I’m glad you persevered, even though you thought this was so difficult. 😀. I knew you could do it–and beautifully. I agree–we look for the shiny, glittery things, when it’s the actual presence and love that matters.

  3. Wow, so much philosophy and depth to take from this marvelous piece. It is brilliantly and beautifully penned with truth. It’s always about the moments shared with others that is important. ❤

  4. Your closing was a gut-punch, describing my first two failed marriages, so I love your poem, even as I stifle melancholy

  5. I agree there is something about having the rug pulled from under our feet that leaves us longing for the lost times
    Happy Monday


    1. Thanks Dale. I think it’s our expectations that start off wrong. We watch too many romantic films that end before life together begins, and assume it’s going to be that first kiss over and over for ever.

    1. I wonder sometimes, do we as a species ever learn anything important? We’re great at learning mathematical formulae and dead languages, but the stuff that really matters?

  6. It was a surprisingly tricky line, wasn’t it? That tense change…

    Anyhow, you’ve written a story that’s been lived by millions, I should think. I have a friend who used to work in the wedding industry, and I used to shudder at the stories she told, the money people spent on meaningless fripperies, to have the “perfect day”, when it’s much more important to have the basics right.

    1. It was that tense change that disturbed me most of all. I couldn’t make sense of it.
      The big wedding, the huge amounts of money spent on one day, and if it rains? If somebody is sick? There’s a scene? A word out of place? The big day ruined and it was the only ‘perfect day’ you ever expected to have. We do have some pathetic ideas.

      1. And do people fall for it because they’re afraid to trust their own instincts? I often wonder why some give in to media pressure and others go their own way.

      2. You’d think a bit of both. I’d add insecurity too, and lack of imagination. Most of us need something to hold onto. For some it’s tradition, religion, good manners, fashion, anything that requires not working it out for themselves.

  7. So often we lend importance to the wrong things, and time passes by before we realize what was important after all. A good write, sad but true.

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