Friday Fictioneers–Hold me closer, tiny dancer

Posted: August 7, 2013 in Family, Friday Fictioneers
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Taking a break from vacation photos, today I’m focusing on the weekly photo prompt for Friday Fictioneers.  One hundred words create a complete piece of flash fiction, one that hopefully evokes emotion and reaction.  Other writers have different takes and you can read their writings by clicking on the blue creature at the end of my story.  Enjoy.  And come back tomorrow for more of the vacation saga.  Your place, on the porch or on horseback, is waiting.

To my fellow Fictioneers…I’m on vacation, in the mountains, with a slow internet connection and lots to do (especially relaxing.)  Although I always read every story every week, I may not get that accomplished this week.  If not, I apologize.  But at 7,000′, surrounded by family, horses and mountains, things take on a different perspective and priority.  Thanks for your understanding and if you’d like to see where I am and what’s going on, check recent and soon-to-come posts and relax with me.

copyright-Renee Heathcopyright Renee Heath

Hold me closer, tiny dancer

 Sitting on the porch, that day plays again for the thousandth time…

Charlotte’s joyful chatter on the drive to her first performance,
the squeal of brakes,
the pickup flying through the red light,
terrible sounds followed by silence that gradually resolved itself into hospital noise,
the pain of body and mind.

They told me she died instantly.  Grateful for the small mercy, I still wished it had been me.

Rolling my wheelchair to the table, I wind the music box and watch the ballerina twirl, remembering Charlotte’s excitement that birthday morning and her hug as she cried, “Grandpa, it’s perfect.”

  1. Jayde-Ashe says:

    Wow this is so powerful, but so so sad. You have certainly captured intense emotion and a full story within the world limit.

    • The whole thing is a bit odd because the idea for the story came almost at once and didn’t want to let go. Then just now, in a book I’m reading, the same general scenario appeared in a book I’m reading, but after the story was posted. 🙂 Glad you liked it.


  2. vb holmes says:

    Your story is well told with action, emotion and pathos, Janet. Very successful.

  3. summerstommy2 says:

    Janet so sad a tale. Beautifully done.

  4. high five and raspberries says:

    Sometimes the “pen” leads the way to a story..this was heartbreaking. Well written!

  5. misskzebra says:

    This was genuinely quite heartbreaking. Beautifully told. Thank you.

  6. Dear Janet,

    Your muse took you to a dark place this week. i almost could not press the ‘like’ button because your story was so heartbreaking.

    Your joy at being at altitude in one of your favorite places shows through in your introduction. Do work on your relaxing skills. You are a marathon story reader and a faithful commenter. Take a break from it all now. We understand.



    • Thanks for all of that, Doug. I’ll do my best to relax but I do enjoy reading and being in touch as well. As is so often, balance is important if sometimes difficult to achieve.

      As for the story, maybe my subconscious brought up the idea after an incident a few weeks ago. I was stopped for a red light, in the right-hand lane of two in each direction. The turn signal for the opposite direction had just gone and cars were turning, when an SUV flew by in the lane to my left, into the intersection, hit the brakes, hit the back end of a turning car, bounced off and took off again. Turned out it was a police chase (three police cars came through afterwards). I was so thankful I didn’t get hit by the SUV, even though I didn’t realize until later how close it was. The people in the car were fine, thankfully, and the police caught the man later.


  7. C.J. Black says:

    Like Doug my finger hovered over the “like” button but compliments to you, enjoy the your time out.

  8. lewis cave says:

    Fantastic story! It broke my heart but I really enjoyed it.

  9. Gabriella says:

    Nice but sad. The grandfather’s lingering pain is very palpable.
    Enjoy your holiday!

  10. Hi Janet,
    How do you always crank these out so fast? Being on vacation doesn’t stop you either. Don’t know exactly what mountains, you are visiting, but I used to live at 7,000 feet, so I say enjoy the cool, catch your breath when you need to, and don’t be surprised if it snows! Your story captures tragedy and the aftermath beautifully. Ron

    • Ron, I’ve been here when it snowed in June, but it’s fairly dry now, so I don’t think we’ll have snow. Early September, though, could be different. We won’t be here then, so…


  11. Joe Owens says:

    This is heartbreaking Janet. I so mourn the loss of a child in circumstances that are out of the parent/grandparent. What a tragic experience to have to endure.

  12. pattisj says:

    Enjoyed your story, very moving. Have fun!

  13. Dear Janet,

    As a parent and grandparent, I can’t fathom the anguish of losing a child. There’s nothing more tragic. No parent should outlive a child, but it happens all too often. Beautifully told story from perfect title to aching end.



    • I agree, Rochelle. It’s unthinkable, unbearable, and happens too often. Death is difficult enough to deal with in the normal course of life but when the order is shaken, it’s even more difficult.


  14. neenslewy says:

    Hope you have a wonderful time in the mountains – I cannot believe you find the time to read every story every week! I tried and managed this 2 out 3 times – the other weeks I have picked writers and then selected some randomly and unfortunately then run out of time – usually because my replies are epically long – maybe… one week I tried with LIKE and then went back to comment on a selection – even that week I failed to read ALL the posts – bowing to you – Rochelle and other readers who read everything! WOW!

    Off to read about your ‘tiny dancer’ ^^^^ have spent that time trying to get Elton John out of my head, he may not even be the artist for ‘tiny dancer…’

    This is sad – beautifully written and a tale that unravels slowly to reveal more and more of the heartache and memory. The ballerina jewellery box, connecting them. Powerful stuff!

    • Thanks, Neens. The reading is both a joy and a burden, but a burden in a positive way. I like to read the stories, but it can be time-consuming. However, besides enjoying and learning from everyone else, if I want people to read mine, I try to read theirs. If they don’t have time, I completely understand. The responses are what take the time, aren’t they?


      • neenslewy says:

        From attempting it a few times I know exactly what you mean about the burden and you’re also right it is the comments and reading other comments that takes the time – flash stories are a quick and generally easy read.

      • I usually skim through the other comments, often after I’ve made mine, otherwise it can be hard to find something to say that hasn’t already been said. But comments are interesting, too. Just have to find the balance, don’t we?


  15. Honie Briggs says:

    Oh, Janet! Sadness, well done.

  16. helenmidgley says:

    Oh that was great, very, very sad but great 🙂

  17. wmqcolby says:

    Whew! That’s a heartbreaker. Excellent, Janet! Top notch.

  18. Adam Ickes says:

    So sad. I like it, but at the same time, I don’t. That’s not a bad thing though. It’s just that as a father I know how hard it would hit me if something happened to my little girl and I’d rather not think of things like that. Very powerful tale you’ve got here.

  19. Ugh. Horrible. I can’t write any more about it. You did your job well. Randy

  20. denmother says:

    Excellent phrase: terrible sounds followed by silence that gradually resolved itself into hospital noise

  21. That’s heartbreaking but beautiful.

  22. Very sad, very interesting story! And you used the Elton John tie-in I did, but took it in a dramatically different direction.

  23. brainsnorts says:

    Instead of “i still wished it was me…” I think it should be wish. Either way, this piece certainly speaks to and from your human sensitivity. Well done

  24. Very powerful and so sad.

  25. O what a sad stories of memories even sadder… excellently told

  26. rheath40 says:

    Lovely but sad story Janet. Do you by any chance have an email address? I’d love to chat with you more….

  27. elmowrites says:

    I admire you for reading every story each week – allow yourself this week off to relax and recharge.
    As far as your story goes, it’s brief and powerful – you capture survivor’s guilt from the first word to the last. I am left with many questions – particularly whether the accident was Grandpa’s fault or he was another victim, and whether it’s his pickup or another which ran the red. In some ways, this is my concrit, because I’d have liked an answer to those questions. On the other hand, you used your words so delicately, I wouldn’t want you to take any out to “fix” this.

    • Jen, it’s funny that you mentioned wondering whose fault it was. I meant that they were both victims, but looking back at the story, I see that you take it either way. It seemed to clear to me as I wrote it. Why couldn’t you read my mind??? 🙂 When I have a bit more time, I’ll look at it to see whether I could figure out a simple way to make it clear. We’re at a Starbucks in Billings that’s open for just over half an hour yet, then we have to hang out somewhere, possibly the airport, until our older daughter, her boyfriend, and a friend of Megan’s come in–on two different flights and the latest about midnight–followed by about 2 1/2 hours back to Sheridan and the cabin. I’m trying to catch up on the day’s mail, etc. and read a few more stories, so I’ll apply some thought another day. I’m like you–I like to know. I’m always glad for the feedback.


  28. rgayer55 says:

    This was a tear-jerker. You did a great job capturing the sights, sounds, and emotions.
    Now, go have some fun.

  29. annisik51 says:

    Our stories have similarities this week. Entirely different approach. I love yours. The tiny ballerina ‘prop’ adds poignancy. Nice touch. Interested in what you wrote about AFTER you posted. I wonder if you were lightly possessed when you wrote this story? Life is a mystery! 🙂

  30. Janet, this was so sweet, so sad. You captured very well the regret and longing of loss.

  31. Ye Pirate says:

    If anyone can pull real emotion and torment out of readers it is you Janet. This story, again, seems achingly sincere. A powerful read.

  32. troy P. says:

    Damn Janet, why don’t ya go ahead and make me cry a little more, would ya?

    Beautifually done, m’dear.

  33. kindredspirit23 says:

    So very Sad!

  34. kz says:

    it’s really heartbreaking but i loved the description of the flashback, masterfully done. you did a wonderful job capturing the readers’ accident and loss like this would really torment a grandparent.

  35. That’s really moving. And poor grandpa having to live with this.

  36. bennitheblog says:

    The punch this packs–pure power. Loved it.

  37. Incredible piece, Janet. Great descriptions and the tie in of the missed performance to the music box is so well crafted. Now back to your relaxing!

  38. howanxious says:

    Intense and painful. Losing some one so young is indeed sad.

  39. Dee says:

    Well told Janet, as usual. A very emotional and powerful story, it stayed with me a while, the music box just finished me
    Hope you are enjoying Wyoming and your family
    Keep safe

    • Thanks, Dee. I’m glad it touched you so deeply. As for Wyoming, I’m always happy to be here and having the entire family here (plus one boyfriend and a friend), is an added bonus.


  40. Oh, so sad – and I too was caught up with the tiny dancer. But you have an entire sad novel in your 100 words. sweet and sad.

  41. Very moving and heartfelt – thanks, too, for visiting my blog.

What do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this, that or the other thing.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.