Saturday, February 25, 2012

Five Sentence Fiction - Yearning

Sara swung her duffel bag several times before she caught enough momentum to lift it up onto the sedan’s backseat; at Christmas, her partner Linda had given her a new chocolate brown leather satchel, but most days it was too small to carry all the unmarked essays and term papers that journeyed home with her.

After stopping at Dunkin’ Donuts to refill her travel mug with dark roast, Sara drove for two miles to the on-ramp that turned into eleven miles of highway, then exited onto the lane that flowed onto University Parkway; twenty minutes later, depending on traffic, she parked in the lot located directly behind the Liberal Arts Faculty. 

On these drives back and forth from work, 1997 accompanied her in the car: the Verve singing Bittersweet Symphony, Ellen DeGeneres coming out on television and Sara attending her first series of women only parties in the Student Union upper ballroom, dancing free yet entwined with Emily Burke. 

Gripping the steering wheel, familiar landmarks moving past the car’s windows, Sara remembered her summer wind happiness at the many possibilities open to her with Emily at her side.

And every morning, right about the time she was turning onto the parkway, Sara felt the same ache move through her when she glimpsed the single knowing look that had told she was no longer loved and that the choices that would determine her life would not always be her own.

16 comments:

  1. Bittersweet, yes, and a mix of nostalgia and realism which is hard to resist. What is it about 1997? And what is it about Emily? Does she yearn for that summer too now? Only a jazzlover could have written this: hugs...

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    1. You are an absolute dear Honoré. I adore this comment!

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  2. This is lovely and a little tragic: "...the choices that would determine her life would not always be her own."

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    1. Thank you for reading and commenting Cara. Our life paths are always a mix of joy and tragedy, aren't they, and perhaps remembering back to the days when we first tasted freedom (if we were lucky enough to experience freedom at all) are the bittersweet components of yearning.

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  3. Very good characterisation again, Jo, well done. Who Sara is really comes across well in this and, as mentioned above, that's a gorgeous last line :-)
    If I could suggest one thing, it might benefit from losing the place names in the second paragraph: they tend not to add so much and for readers who don't recognise them, they can act to distract from the story.

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    1. Not surprisingly, as soon as I read your comment, I went back an edited. You know of what you speak Chris:)) I was trying to get at the drudgery of the daily commute, but you're right - it didn't work in the first version. Thank you as always for your candid comments my friend. ((hugs))

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  4. Love the last line! Well done, Jo-Anne.

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    1. Thanks so much Ruth :)) Very much appreciated.

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  5. Oh so lovely with a hint of sadness. Perfect!

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    1. Thank you very much Angie - very kind of you!

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  6. Thoughtful, left me feeling a little sad. Very evocative, well done Jo-Anne :)

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  7. Thank you Rod for reading my story and commenting. Always pleased to see your name here :)) I've been thinking a lot lately about patterns in our lives and how our lives are affected (good and bad) by other people's choices. Thought I would try it out in a shorter piece like this first.

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  8. Very sad feeling at the end, but very well written.

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    1. thanks Steven. It felt sad writing it too but it felt true to the theme (at least I hope it is!

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  9. A lovely, bittersweet, poignant story. You're so good at layering in the detail--just enough to capture a mood or bring an image to life, never overwhelming the forward momentum of the story.

    Also, I love the phrase "1997 accompanied her in the car." Beautiful!

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    1. Thank you Ms. Kern. I appreciate your comment very very much my friend.

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