Thursday 26 September 2013

Flash fiction - The Break Up

Over at Studio30Plus there's a new prompt. Actually, that's a lie. There's two. You can choose one. Or both. They are HURT and BUTTER. Here's my effort:

The Break Up

On the other side of the door, she sat. I assumed she was sitting because that's what I had always done. I would wipe myself down the back of the bathroom door and stay with my face buried in the half-wet towels. What would a few more tears matter? They were always dry by morning.

Different house, different times, Diane. Focus. "Darling? You OK?" I kept my voice light, though I thought afterwards it made me sound as if I didn't know that, quite obviously, she wasn't all right.

"Go away." The two words a mother ignores again and again. I will never go away, my child. Please don't ever think that I will. I won't. One day, you will go away: but I will never leave you.

"Darling, open the door. Talk to me."

My daughter played the same game I had with my mother until she died. I had always wanted to tell her everything, be her best friend; but I tried to keep things back, have those teenage secrets. In the end, she always knew and I always told. But for a while I would pretend my life was all mine and only mine. Shannon was better at it than I was. She held everything so quiet and close to her, I would only find out days, even weeks later. And she'd then treat it as if it was ancient history and I was a pain for trawling backwards. I wanted one moment in the now. 

"Come on, Darling. You can't stay in there all night. You don't have to come downstairs, let's just go to your room. You don't have to tell me. Just come out."

I heard my daughter thinking about it as the muffled sobs fought their way back inside. There was a beautiful silence before the taps ran and, then, slowly, she opened the door.

That angel's face, blotched with the hurt of a young love that in such a short time will mean very little. I stepped forwards and wrapped her hunched and unhappy shoulders into my own being, wanting to push my heart into her chest and take out her shaken one. 

I didn't expect it, but she collapsed right there and then on the landing. She shuddered heaves of tears onto my cardigan and pressed her elbows into my hips. It felt wonderful. Not since her excitement of her cross country win in middle school had her touch been so meaningful.

Later, in bed, my husband said, "She'll have to have breakfast. She can't not eat and turn into the Turners' girl."

I looked at him and smiled. "I know. She will. It will pass."

"Your first broken heart isn't nothing, Di. But it's good she talked to you."

My face must have misted up for he put his book down, turned to me and said, "I think you quite enjoyed it really."

I did. Oh, I did. 


  1. At that age it feels like everything, though. What a great mother helping her work through it. I love the line, "wanting to push my heart into her chest and take out her shaken one."

    1. Thanks for the read and comment, Katy! I just read your ode to your friends... I am going to attempt NaNoWriMo this November. The more I tell people I will, the more I'll have to dive in! See you there??

  2. I think I enjoyed this as much as the mother has... GREAT story, so well written. I"m glad you linked up.

  3. Thanks Marie Nicole, so glad you liked it.


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