Friday Fictioneer 100 Word Story: Parents

Parents

They’re tearing down my old house, the house I grew up in. I had to see it one last time. Everything looks so much smaller. Of course, my room was made smaller when they built that stud wall to divide it in two; my little sister was going to need a room. Mine was ugly, but it had the window, hers had the pretty wallpaper that I coveted. She didn’t care about the wallpaper, she wanted to see, to be, outside. When she died they kept everything the same, me in the ugly room, hers a shrine to someone else.

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53 comments

  1. Dear Carlos,

    My apologies for not getting to your story last week. Soon come. Remedying that lapse by hitting your first this week.

    You nailed the oft thought about but rarely mentioned impression that things seem smaller when we’re older and we revisit the places of our youth. Was it that the world was boundless and vast then? The wide open eyes of a child taking it all in? Great ending to a sad and bittersweet tale.

    Aloha,

    Doug

    http://ironwoodwind.wordpress.com/2012/05/04/the-nerve/

    • Thanks, Doug. On a trip 5 years ago we visited my wife’s childhood home. There was a lightswitch there that she remembered her sister banging her head into; it was still there, still cracked, but it was the lowest lightswitch you could imagine, about three feet off the floor.

      • My grandson was killed in a car wreck at age 15. His parents made his room a shrine to his life leaving his sister ‘out there’.
        I could feel what I have heard her express in this short piece. That may not have been where you were going with it, but it is where it hit me.

  2. So sad and on so many levels. I can feel the surviving sibling’s pain and what makes it so poignant is the focal point isn’t that one has been lost.

  3. Well that was a strange bittersweet tale for you, Carlos. I read all the comments, but I am not sure I understand why you wrote “hers a shrine to someone else” and not just “a shrine”.
    But that’s me, with the dog basket no one noticed…

    • Yes, I guess it was more obtuse than I thought. Oh well; a lesson to me. The room was a shrine to the person her parents thought she was, but she wasn’t. I was thinking of the first person/narrator as a boy, who actually wanted the pretty room, but I didn’t expect that to come across, and that part didn’t really matter anyway; it could have been a girl. That she didn’t care about the wallpaper and “she wanted to see, to be, outside” was meant to indicate she was tomboyish. To further be clear, it’s not a story about gender dysphoria either, just about how parents see their kids as they want them to be. There, I’ve explained it all!

  4. Carlos – sorry for the late comment – but the story was so good I had to tell you so. The sense of a brother who is bitter at his parents, not because they put him in the ugly room but because they didn’t seem to understand his sister — even after her death — is so well done. A great story with a sharp end.

    -Brian (http://pinionpost.com/2012/05/04/renovations/)

    • The older I get, the more those memories crop up. I last month drove by the house I lived in 5-11 years old. I didn’t go inside, but it even looked smaller on the outside.Thanks for your comments.

    • Thanks, KB. Yes, maybe about all parents… I didn’t have siblings, but suffered, as we all do, from being a different person to the one my parents wanted me to be.

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