Ashes to Ashes

This is a Friday Fictioneers submission for 13th March. It’s 100 words exactly, though I suspect that, in adhering to the discretionary word limit, I might have lost something from the story but, hopefully, it’ll still work on some level. Thanks to Sandra Crook for the picture :).

*******
Their parents didn’t approve. Too young, they said; their futures too important to waste on childhood romance. Sally and Anthony didn’t listen. It was love; their folks were too old to understand.

Their parents wouldn’t let them see each other so every night, Anthony would climb that tree in her garden and they’d sit at her window ledge dreaming.

Eventually, resignedly, the old ones relented. The couple married and, over time, settled into a sober approximation of their parents’ lives. Later, they had a daughter of their own and Anthony chopped down all of the trees in their own garden.

2015/03/img_2313.jpg

*******

Incidentally, this song by Brian Wilson has the vibe I was actually going for. It’s a lovely little song, possibly his best recording post-Beach Boys, and Van Dyke Parks’ lyrics reflect the transition from youth to parenthood beautifully.

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50 Comments

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50 responses to “Ashes to Ashes

  1. The old ones do understand, as it turns out. But they understand something that it is impossible to communicate except by experience.

  2. Would chopping trees by Anthony’s father-in-law stopped him from going for his love? 🙂

  3. Dear Etienne,

    “Sober approximation of their parents’ lives…” beautifully worded. This is definitely one of your best and I’m sure will remain a favorite of mine this week.

    The photo is from Sandra Crook. Her “signature” is on it, but I’ve also gone back and rectified my negligence. 😉

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

  4. Indeed. those trees can be dangerous.. a great story of how we age and only see part of our youths.

  5. This is exceptional story and it is so true. We are often blinded by our youth, refusing to acknowledge that our elders know more and wish the best for us. When we are sober enough, we are also old enough.

  6. I’m smiling at this. There’s nothing so “dangerous” to a child as a parent who has gone through the same things and knows what to look for and look out for, especially if that parent is a father! 😉 Even though this is a story that repeats itself, your telling is simple, lovely, and to the point.

    janet

  7. I like how you came full circle with this although I am not sure I like Anthony.

  8. Dear Etienne,

    No lumber jack in the word can stop the tree of love from growing or from being climbed. What a wonderful story. I loved the words ‘sober approximation’. Very much on the mark. Well done.

    Aloha,

    Doug

  9. I love the ending and how Anthony learned from his own experience but, I also love what Doug said, chopping down the trees won’t stop love that is suppose to happen. This is a lovely story that I enjoyed reading.

  10. I love how you have taken them forward a generation in so short a space without the story feeling like it had been clipped.

  11. how things change but remain unaltered, nice story

  12. I find it rather bitter that he choppes down that tree. That speaks of broken dreams and regrets. Great story.

  13. I bet he did. Don’t we all. We forget; or maybe we remember! Nicely done.

  14. I found this hilarious! As we grow we keep finding ourselves to be more alike to our parents that we care to admit, but I loved how he didn’t seem to even think about it or discuss it, he simply knew and took care of the “problem”.

  15. Wise move, Anthony 🙂

  16. Dear Etienne,
    This story works well in 100 words. I’m glad you disciplined yourself to shape it into a smaller work. The editing process has revealed something better than many of your short stories. Good work. I especially like Anthony cutting down the trees. It’s a great way to show so much in just a few words.

    All my best,
    Marie Gail

  17. Lovely, futile circularity. I wonder if Papa’s motives spring from being protective of his daughter, or regretting his own tree-climbing. Either way, love won’t be stopped.

  18. That is one of the saddest stories I have read this week. What a shame thier love turned out to be not worth the effort.

  19. I smiled widely at your last line. Of course, today, the young couple would be chatting online–no trees required 🙂

  20. Oh yes. That’s exactly what a father would do! Very nice ending. I’m sure Anthony’s daughter will find a way, regardless of the lack of trees.

  21. Don’t do as I do. Do as I say. LOL. Only a parent can understand. Great take on the prompt.

  22. A full cricle of life expressed in 100 words!

  23. A happier outcome for Sally and Anthony than poor Romeo and Juliet had but he’d become a typical father wanting to protect his daughter by the time she reached the age they were then. Selective remembering on his part leading to selective tree chopping. Well done.

  24. Nicely written and oh so depressing!

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