20 March 2015

Published March 18, 2015 by rochellewisoff

Snorkeling in St. Thomas

Undersea St. Thomas 4 Meme

FF copyright banner finalThe following photo is the PHOTO PROMPT. What story does it tell you? Share it in one hundred words or less.

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Genre: Realistic Fiction

Word Count: 99

GULF

On fragrant spring afternoons, on the mossy stone patio in Arlene’s backyard, we shared sandwiches, secrets and giggles as only little girls can. In summer we waded in the creek that ran behind her house and tried to catch tadpoles that tickled our bare toes.

When we entered junior high, Arlene withdrew and when I tried to talk to her about it, she turned away as if I no longer existed. I never knew why or whether I had done something dreadful to offend her. 

The questions, answered by silence, scarred my heart. Fifty years later, the ache remains.  

***

Rochelle with Ami 1961

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” –E. E. Cummings

There’s no time like the present to get over the past and  get on with the future.  

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154 comments on “20 March 2015

  • Dear Björn,

    I didn’t know why until a couple of years ago and things now make sense. Understanding brought resolution although the ache will always remain to some degree. Life is grist for the mill. 🙂

    Thank you, as always, for being faithful with your comments.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Liked by 1 person

  • Good story as always, Rochelle. I’m glad, as you said, you finally found out what the problem had been. Things happen in other’s lives we’re not responsible for and can’t help. That doesn’t keep it from hurting though. Congratulations again on your book being published. 🙂 — Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Suzanne,

      Alas, when you’re twelve years old, it’s hard to see the bigger picture and, at that time, there was no one to show it to me. I feel fortunate in learning the truth, even after so many years. It was never me. Knowing that lessens the hurt tremendously.

      Thank you for the congrats. Now the work begins.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • Dear Rochelle – even before I saw the word ‘realistic’ I knew this was written from experience. The griefs of childhood are so harsh, but as you say, they are also grist to the mill. We are lucky to be writers – how on earth do other people cope?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Liz,

      Some years ago a friend of mine was dealing with abuse issues. I suggested to her that she write a story about a girl who gets back at her perpetrators in violent ways. She wasn’t particularly a writer. When she ran my idea by her therapist he told her it was a great idea.

      Thank you for your comments.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

    • Dear Jessie,

      Through the miracle of the internet I’ve been back in contact with quite a few of my school chums and that’s how this issue has been resolved.

      Thank you for your kind comments and the congrats.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

    • Dear GAH,

      I’ve no doubt that I’m not the only one who’s experienced this kind of hurt. Even though resolved it tends to color every relationship with a certain amount of mistrust.

      Thank you for the comments and congrats.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • Hi Rochelle – this is heartbreaking stuff, and so well written. The sensory phrases are what make it for me – the fragrant spring, the tickled toes, the remaining ache – well done.

    I get a sense of some external drama rather than fault of the narrator that caused one friend to withdraw, but that might just be me projecting.

    Cheers
    KT

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear KT,

      You are spot on in your assessment, although it wasn’t until a couple of years ago I found this out. The friend who withdrew had major things going on in her life that no child should ever experience. This has brought so much relief and resolution to me. Of course the ache does remain and colors the way I approach relationships. Live and learn.

      Thank you for your compliments to my writing as well. Naturally I love those.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Rochelle,

    I loved your remembrance and the way you evoked the memories but I especially loved the idea of a body of water in your back yard. Imagine the fun you’ll have when it is finally finished. Good job. For Jan.

    Aloha,

    Doug

    Liked by 1 person

  • Unfortunately, many of us have experienced just such a thing and you’re right, the scars last. It’s the not knowing that hurts, I think. If there’s a reason, even one we don’t think is correct, it might be easier. Your small descriptions made it so real.

    janet

    Like

    • Dear Janet,

      I’m fortunate that I did finally have closure a couple of years ago. But the hurt remains, but now, knowing the truth, I hurt for Arlene as much as for myself.

      Thank you for such a nice comment (and clandestine comma-ments).

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • Oh I know just how your main character felt. Childhood is studded with incidents that you couldn’t understand at the time, and so they became internalised. If only we could revisit all the old hurts and slights to see them in their true perspective. Great story Rochelle, beautifully told.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Sandra,

      I don’t believe we outgrow those childhood incidents. I hope I never gave my children the impression that they would. I am fortunate in that I found out the true nature of that separation.

      Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

    • Dear Kimberly,

      No one gets out of this life unscathed. Emotional bumps and bruises are part of the deal, I think. I am lucky to have finally had the issue resolved. It’s still a painful memory but not nearly as much.

      Thanks for the congrats. I’m pretty jazzed. 😀

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • I’d love to know how your mind made the jump from the picture to this — but as always, the writing was sweet — bittersweet and lonely this time. I felt that longing sadness. Sometimes we just never know why we grow apart.
    BTW the can of worms has been opened. Mu HA HA

    Like

    • Dear Helena,

      The jump from the prompt to this story was a short one for me. If you’d seen my friend’s patio, you’d understand. In fact, I shared this story with a mutual friend who agreed, it reminded her of that patio as well. Yep. The story’s true. Fortunately through the same mutual friend I’ve come to understand what happened. It was never about me, but the scars do remain and tend to color how I approach relationships. But that’s another story, isn’t it?

      Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • Lovely piece of writing Rochelle. It made me think of a friend I have had since 6th grade and several years ago something similar to this happened and it is very painful. I look forward to reading your books when they are out Rochelle. Congratulations!!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Great news on the book deal! Much deserved.

    Your fiction this week is so clearly from the heart, and reads all the more vividly because of that. It’s so hard to see a person’s life and perspective; our heartbreak is always our own.

    Like

    • Dear Jenn,

      Until recent years this was a total mystery to me. The heartbreak is less because I know the story behind it but there’s still pain but resolution makes it easier to bear.

      Thank you for the comments and kudos. Always appreciated.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • Dear Rochelle,
    First, congratulations on the book deal. Great stuff, and I can’t wait to get a copy of the bound volume in my hot little paws (signed by the author, of course).

    And you continue to crank out lovely little gems for Friday Fictioneers too. This week’s is wonderful. The ending works beautifully. It isn’t easy to write about pain–especially a pain that we have known personally. I’m so glad you have been able to find paths to healing through your art. That’s part of why all of us do what we do.

    All my best,
    Marie Gail

    Liked by 1 person

  • “…answered by silence”…such a gripping phrase! As a therapist, I’ve worked with numerous adults who withdrew from their support systems due to a crisis such as abuse or alcoholism. The silence was probably more about her than you, yet we tend to answer silence with self-blame. Again, CONGRATS on the book deal…you are so very talented!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Chris,

      I had no idea you’d been a therapist. As it turns out the silence was about her and not me. However, when you’re twelve and the silence is sudden, it’s hard to put it into perspective. I blamed myself for over forty years and have happily been set straight.

      Thank you for the comment and the congrats.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • When facebook drew us all together I was reacquainted with several childhood friends. Once we all gathered together around a large kitchen table and pots of coffee. We astounded each other with stories we never realized and assumptions that were way off base. 30+ years later, it was quite eye opening but like you say, the scars remain.

    Like

    • Dear Dawn,

      Four years ago I was part of the planning committee for our forty year class reunion. (That long? 😯
      I’d never really been friends with most of the others, but like you and your friends, Facebook brought us together. It’s amazing what growing up can do, isn’t it? We all became good friends, sharing our adolescent experiences. I don’t remember when I’ve had more fun.

      Healing is possible but scars do remain.

      Thank you for such a great comment.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • When we’re kids, we always think it was something that “we did”.

    It’s only when we grow up that we get a more mature perspective and realize that most times it has nothing at all to do with us and everything to do with what has happened to the other person.

    But the hurt and rejection takes a while to leave us.

    Ray the Pizza Man Mazie

    Like

    • Dear Pizza Man,

      This is one incident that took forty years to realize it was never had anything to do with me.

      Unfortunately, this event still effects my relationships. Trust issues? C’est moi? Oui…me.

      Thank you for coming by. No pepperoni on mine, please.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • Rochelle,
    to start out with the good news, congratulations on the books being published! I am so happy for you. Let us all know when they come out.
    Back to the 100 words, this is such a inexplicable, heart-wrenching thing that it rings immediately true. The world is such a messy, broken place sometimes, without the neat wrapped up endings of fiction. Unfortunately.

    Have a great week,
    David

    Like

    • Dear David,

      Thank you for the congratulations. Needless to say, I was about to turn cartwheels when I opened my email last Friday. However I think it would’ve been dangerous to do them in the bakery.

      As for my story, the only fiction in it is the name of the friend who pulled away. Those early adolescent years are tough. Do any of us come away from life unscathed?

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • Rochelle,

    Congrats on the publishing deal! 🙂

    Great story this week – touching depiction of the loss of childhood. I think it happens a lot – this growing apart – sometimes in big ways, sometimes in small, as the world breaks through the bliss of childhood. I’m glad you found some resolution.

    Like

    • Dear Lisa,

      Resolution has certainly made the pain more tolerable. Adolescence is such a tumultuous time as we try to make sense of who we are as human beings.

      Thank you for your comments on my story and congrats on my book. 😀

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

    • Dear Ali,

      I happen to know at this stage of my life what happened to Arlene and there was much cause for worry. I only wish she could’ve told me. As for childhood…there were certainly idyllic moments. 😉

      Thank you for your lovely comments.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • Sadly, I had a friend like this, only it was a case of she went to Africa with her parents to teach for a year. When she came home, she never spoke to me again. At the time (before she left) she was the only friend I had in the world. Even now, I find it hard to make friends and never want to get close to anyone.

    Like

    • Dear Novellajunker,

      My heart goes out to you. I do know how that feels. My experience with Arlene, even though I know the circumstances that I didn’t know then, it effects every relationship since I hope you find healing.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

    • Dear Raymond,

      Welcome aboard! As far as linking is concerned, you only need to put your link on the list, which you did. Putting it here, too, is okay but not necessary.

      The credit for the photo goes to Rachel Bjerke and I thank you for the nice comment on my story.

      I look forward to seeing you again.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • Dear Rochelle,

    I have a granddaughter of twelve and seeing her as she is now, reminds me of how it was being that age myself. One side of her is twelve-going-on-eighteen and the other side still a little girl. There’s the rush of hormones, there’s the gregariousness one minute and the withdrawal to solitude the other. There’s the longing to grow up versus the fear of doing so.

    I don’t know what happened to your friend but, at a guess, it was probably something that robbed her of her childhood too early — loss, betrayal, abuse, illness — but whatever it was, I can imagine that you, as a loyal friend, would have felt so wounded by suddenly being cut off like this. I’m glad you got to find out a reason later, although it sounds as if it was a reason learned too late.

    Your words above, portray so well your hurt and confusion at what happened.

    All best wishes
    Sarah

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Sarah,

      I’m not exactly sure why, but your comment has brought a sudden rush of emotion. Perhaps it’s because you soundly and directly hit the nail on the head and laid bare every thought and feeling I had. Arlene was definitely robbed of her childhood and, well, you said the rest so eloquently I won’t repeat it.

      Thank you for your kind words and for understanding so completely.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • This happened to me too, in high school. I still don’t know why or really what went wrong but now I am friends with that particular girl on facebook and she talks to me like nothing had ever happened. I’m not 100% sure if I even want to know why anymore.

    You captured the hurt of it all perfectly, Rochelle! Lovely writing. And thank you for choosing my photo 🙂

    Like

  • Dear Rachel,

    I’m so sorry that happened to you. Who knows the reasons with adolescence. So often kids fall into different cliques and, for whatever reason, they no longer consider the old friend cool. It’s what I assumed for years with Arlene. I was rather relieved to find that it was never about me.

    Your photo is beautiful and really does remind me of her backyard. As you can see it’s inspiring a wealth of unique stories.

    Thank you for the lovely comment and the congrats. 😀

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Like

  • Dear Abilene Annie,
    Your story reminds me of a poem I once wrote entitled “Drift Apart.” I had a very close friend years ago, whose dad once remarked, “If one of you took a laxative, you’d both have to go shit.” It was a pretty accurate description at the time. Thirty years later, there’s still an empty place in my heart he used to occupy.
    Blessings,
    Abe

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Abe,

      It sounds like the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree where you and your dad are concerned. 😉 Funny how those early wounds still hurt…well not funny…but you know what I mean.

      Thank you for sharing that.

      Shalom,

      Abilene Annie

      Like

  • I have been encouraged to join the bandwagon of Friday Fictioneers by Sarah Potter. Intimidated at first, I’ve decided to put my big-girl pants on and give it a try.
    Och! I should not have read yours first, though! What a story that could be from my own memory (though all happened at an older age).

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Dale,

      Welcome aboard! However, just in case Sarah hasn’t warned you, this is highly addictive. I started three years ago when Madison Woods was the facilitator and I just have to have my weekly FF fix.

      Seriously, it’s a great way to fine tune your writing for larger pieces.

      It seems that many of us have similar memories. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • Sometimes shame doesn’t allow even our closest friends to face us anymore. I hope she was able to overcome whatever trauma, real or imagined, and grow into an open, happy and fulfilled adult. So sorry that weighed on your heart, so heavily and so long.

    Your book news is certainly happy! Now the work of editing begins?? It will be a labor of love, I’m sure 😀

    Like

    • Dear Jan,

      Today I know the why and the reasons. They were quite real unfortunately but she has grown into a strong woman.

      A lot of work ahead on the book, although the publisher said it needs little editing. 😀

      Currently you can catch the character studies my agent suggested to arouse interest.

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • A sad tale, beautiful images.
    I read somewhere that many young animals (humans included) have incredible memories because they don’t yet have good judgement, so they store the information wholesale to refer to later. It certainly explains why vivid childhood experiences can jump right back into our heads, with all the attached emotions like hurt and confusion still there.
    A lovely story full of many truths and with a real linger-factor.

    Like

  • For some things, there are no explanations. Best to leave it as is. It was a hard lesson for me to learn. I always want to know why.
    Congrats on your books! So exciting.

    Lily

    Like

    • Dear Francesca,

      It’s always nice to know that other writers enjoy my writing. A friend of mine made the comment one day, “People fall off of people.” I’m fortunate in finally knowing the reason why in this case.

      Thank you for the congrats and for generously sharing the link on your blog.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • Ahh .. what comes to mind is my approach at looking at things. There are friends for a reason, a season and a lifetime. It was time to move along and grow emotionally and spiritually.
    The image this week, for me, has created another intense story. I suppose I’m in that zone presently.
    Have a wonderful weekend, Rochelle.
    Isadora

    Like

    • Dear Claire,

      Since the only similarity in our stories is the sandwich reference, I hardly would think you copied anything. 😉

      Thank you for your lovely comments and sharing my excitement.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • “… sandwiches, secrets and giggles …” Fabulous use of language. It took me right back to a hedgerow running alongside a field of corn. Sad tale, it often happens, too. Life poisons innocence. 🙂

    Like

    • Dear Joseph,

      I’m sure that you as a pastor know the truth of that. Those past wounds color relationships and how we approach life in general to the third and fourth generation.

      Thank you for reading and commenting.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • A poignant story that is obviously resonating with many readers – the delightful images of tadpoles and sandwiches as well as the heartache. So sad. Congratulations on the publication news.
    Cheers
    Margaret

    Like

    • Dear Margaret ,

      It does seem to be striking a few chords with people, doesn’t it? I think most of us have been there at one time or another.

      Thanks for the comments and the congrats.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • Interesting how isolation from those we care about played into a few of this week’s stories. I suppose the picture really does give a kind of sense of quiet loneliness doesn’t it? Or perhaps it tells of something much nicer made into ruins by time. Either way, a very reflective choice for the picture and very touchingly true story.

    Like

    • Dear Michael,

      Actually, for me it wasn’t the feeling of isolation in the photo. My childhood friend had a patio at the end of her back yard that looked a lot like Rachel’s patio in the picture. My mind just went there.

      I really enjoyed your story.

      Thank you for reading and commenting on mine. Glad you liked.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • Dear Rochelle, Once again you have impressed me with your talent! I had a feeling that something had happened to your friend and that was what ended your friendship. I have seen this happen before and know the longing of innocence that can never come back. Very well written and tadpoles do tickle your feet! Nan

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Nan,

      I wish I’d known then what I know now but, then again, I don’t know that it would have changed anything. It still felt like abandonment.

      Thank you for your comments and compliments.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

    • Dear Ellespeth,

      Junior high was a nightmare. If I could be that young again I think I’d find a way to avoid it. We’re already going through so many changes physically with hormones and body changes. I don’t know who decided that JH was a good idea. It’s a jarring transition from childhood.

      Okay…so much for that soapbox. I’m pleased you liked my story. And thank you for the congrats. It’s been a labor of love thus far. I know there’s more work ahead.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • Early friendships (and even later ones) can end without at least one person knowing the reason why. For that person there is the constant feeling of loss and wondering why it ended and depending on how deep a relationship it was depends on how deep the hurt will run. I wonder what had happened to Arlene to cause this rift. You wrote this with such beautiful language and in a way that it would resonate I think with all your readers. I am sure that everyone has lost a friend along the way and wondered why.

    Like

    • Dear Irene,

      Arlene was a first for me, but there have been other inexplicably lost friendships since. Each time I’ve been left with the feeling that I did something wrong. I have found out, in recent years, the story behind Arlene’s withdrawal and that’s brought some closure.

      No one comes through life unscathed, do they?

      Thank you for your kind words.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

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