Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Stone Soup

She’s been waiting for him.  Camped out on the porch, front door propped open so she can hear the Philco in the sitting room. It’s close to dusk and Helen Forrest is singing “The Man I Love.”

He pulls up, emerges from behind the wheel of a sapphire blue Nash Coupe, and waves-all smiles and plaid wool and stubbly chin.  Quite a contrast to the clean-shaven, double breasted flannel, laid-off despondency of a week ago.

Her “Welcome home, honey!” hooks his heart as her arms encircle his waist.  “Catch any fish?”  His answer is muffled against her Coty-powdered cheek and tawny pin curls.

“As a matter of fact, I did.  This morning. Served with a couple of eggs, over easy, short stack and cup of coffee.  The buck and two bits Angler’s Special. ”  He winks. 

He looks younger than his 47 years. Four days by the water have done him a world of good. Softened the worry lines around his brown eyes, despite his misgivings about the extravagance of the trip. She insisted, though-the imminent need to penny-pinch a weak excuse for denying him.

“I brought you a present, Emma.”  He rummages around in the back seat clutter of tackle and dirty clothes, and hands her his split bamboo fishing rod.

“Gee, thanks, George,” she laughs.  “But I seem to recall giving you this for Christmas!”

“Oh woman of little faith,” he counters, rummaging some more, his fingers ferreting out a small brown-paper sack.  She peeks inside the bag, delighted to discover that her gift is a dozen or so colorful river rocks. 

“I’d pick ‘em up sometimes, when the fish weren’t biting.  You’re lucky I didn’t bring you a whole car load.”  He winks again.

She’ll never tire of seeing him this happy. 

“Haven’t you ever heard of stone soup?” she teases.  I’m told it’s good-with or without fish.”

She squeezes his hand, the memory still raw. 

How watching him cry almost killed her.

 

http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/2013/08/trifecta-week-eighty-nine.html

51 comments:

  1. How powerful this story is. You amaze me at your ability to tell such a complete story in so few words.

    You have a great way of creating characters. You make me see them, both via description and with words that capture the warmth and strength of their relationship:~)

    I enjoyed this read very much:~)

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    1. Sara, thank you so much! I owe you a visit, my friend, because I know I'm missing out on your stunning writing as well! xx

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  2. This is so sweet! I really like the characters in this one and I am left wanting more! I want to know what happens to them next!

    I agree that sometimes you do need to get away, even if it's not the best financial decision. I'd be thrilled to get a gift of colorful river rocks hand picked by my hubby :)

    PS - Thanks for the nice comments today about my photos! :)

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    1. Tammy-thank you for such a sweet comment-and as for your photography skills, I could go on and on. You really do have a gift!!

      And I agree about the river rocks:)

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  3. OMG! I can't believe the similarities in our stories: short stack, unemployment and an awesome marriage. :) I adore your characters. Their love is palpable. Thoroughly enjoyed reading this!

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    1. Thanks Ivy! I really enjoyed reading your story too-and it's fun we had so many similarities this week:)

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  4. This is a great story. I was very wrapped up in it. I didn't want it to end.

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    1. Thank you Jennifer! I was sorry when I reached 333 words with this one too:)

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  5. Very well-written story! I too would like to read more.

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    1. Gabriella-thanks! I might have to expand this at some point:)

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  6. Poignant. Real love holds you together when life sucker punches you.

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    1. I couldn't have said it any better, La Tonya! Thank you:)

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    1. Thanks Lisa-that says a lot, and I appreciate it so much!

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  8. Valerie - this is so very moving! The specifics seem to make it even more universal.

    I can't believe the detail and the emotion you've been able to incorporate into this gorgeous story. I'm quite overwhelmed right now as I've been through something so very close to this. I feel like you must have overheard or been standing beside me when it happened.

    Absolutely gorgeous writing, Valerie. Now excuse me, I need to have a weep. Wow!

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    1. Jo-Anne-this piece took me hours to write, and I felt emotionally drained when it was done. I always thought writing was supposed to be easy;)

      Your comment is so heartfelt that I can't tell you how much it means to me-and that it struck such a strong chord leaves me in awe once again of the power of the written word to evoke strong emotion. What leaves me more in awe is that I'm able to do so with words myself-and I mean that in the humblest of senses:)

      Thank you, from the bottom of my heart!

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  9. Very moving, indeed, as Jo-Anne said. The love she has for him oozes from the page. They are lucky to have each other. I love the river rocks - and that last line gets to us. And your details are excellent!

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    1. Steph-thanks! I wrestled with this piece well into the wee hours of the morning. It was all finished, except for the ending,and then that last line simply floated into my mind. It's that aspect of writing that terrifies me, and exhilarates me all at the same time!

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  10. I read this earlier today, but I started crying so I had to put a pause on the comment. This is so freaking good, from the delicious specificity of the (seemingly) small detail that root the story in time, to the beautifully subtle characterization, to the exquisitely (and restrainedly) emotion of the story.

    Simply amazing.

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    1. Oh, Kallan Annie, I'm so touched by that! Thank you!!

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  11. Yes, like Lisa, I want more. This beautiful and moving excerpt from a life--it mirrors our experiences, and gives us the chance to participate in the story itself, wanting to see ourselves identified in the emotions and actions of Emma and George, and afraid, too...

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    1. Thank you, my eloquent and beautiful friend! Your comments are so praise worthy-and I appreciate them so much!

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    1. Thank you, thank you, thank you! My heart is pounding over your comment:)

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  13. This was a beautiful and touching story. I love how they came together in difficult times rather than turning on each other, as people often do.

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  14. Oh, that last line. It brought tears to my eyes.

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    1. Jennifer-thank you! It makes me cry too. The image of a man in his flannel suit, worried about his future and in tears just broke my heart.

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  15. Superb, Valerie.
    I pulled up Helen while reading, terrific touch.
    You really brought this piece to life, especially that tenuous place between tragedy and felicity.
    Just gorgeous. Bravo.

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    1. I need a kleenex now Kymm. I'm just so humbled by that. And that song is a killer too:) Thank you so much!

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  16. You did it again! My sweet Valerie, how do you write such things from an era you didn't live in? I love it. You bring my parent's romance back to life!!!!!!!!!!

    I am having a great week [blogging] and otherwise. I sure love hearing from you and when I don't I sincerely miss you.

    When will we meet?

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    1. Thanks Renae-I love those bygone eras, or I should say I'm completely fascinated by them. Your parents generation had to struggle through so much-but they did, and I'm grateful:) xx

      See you soon, too:)

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  17. Wham to the heart in the last line. Beautifully written story, Valerie! We both have Emmas ;-O

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    1. Thanks Maggie! And I'm glad we both have Emmas!

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  18. Beautiful. You manage to put those vivid details in all the right places.

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    1. Thanks, my friend! And congrats on your latest, amazing article!!

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  19. This is beautiful in its sadness.

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  20. I don't even know these characters and I could feel an attachment to them growing as I read your piece. Lovely work. Thank you for linking up!

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    1. Thank you! That means a lot to me! Being part of Trifecta means a lot to me as well. What a wonderful community!

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  21. Oh, that last line. My heart. Your stories never fail to pull me in and make me feel. This one is no different.

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    1. You honor me with that comment! Thank you so much, and I can easily say the same about your writing:)

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  22. OH Val,
    this was beautiful and stunning and so very romantic.
    Doing something for the person you love, honoring them like that is nothing sort of a miracle sometimes. Your words gave us all that, a love story for the ages.

    TGIF. xo

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  23. Kir, you are awesome! Thank you my friend!

    TGIF to you too!! xo

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  24. What a sweet story. It oozes love, sacrifice, and selflessness.

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    1. Alicia-thank you so much! You honor me with that comment:)

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  25. Wow, this is richly described. Beautifully written with engaging characters I came to like very much. I suspect this is the depression-era? In any event, this brings about the feel of it's time very well.

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    1. Thank you so much! You are exactly right-it takes place during the depression. I seem to write best when I write in other eras.

      I'm touched by the kind thoughtfulness of your comment-and I appreciate it so much!! :)

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  26. I would love to be there in that moment, sharing in that love. Wonderfully done, dear!

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  27. Thank you, my sweetest t. Me too:) xx

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  28. I enjoyed this Valerie. Truy awesome.

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