The Decline: Friday Fictioneers

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Photo prompt supplied & © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

As a child he swung me over his shoulders like a sack of potatoes. He was tall and strong, like the oak tree in the garden, his arms like branches that offered love and protection. I listened to his wisdom and strived to live up to his standards and expectations.

Bit by bit I watched him droop as the life in him burnt out like the oak we were removing from the garden. Mum leaving started it but when I was raped his shoulders became incapable of taking the weight of any potatoes. He hadn’t protected and he hated himself.

Thanks to Rochelle’s prompt for Friday Fictioneers and who also supplied this weeks photo.

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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49 Responses to The Decline: Friday Fictioneers

  1. James says:

    My question is could he have protected. Did Dad fail to act or was this something he was powerless to prevent? Admittedly in either situation, it would be crushing knowing your little girl needed you and you weren’t there.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. neilmacdon says:

    Guilt weighs heavier than potatoes. Good one, Irene

    Liked by 3 people

  3. He must feel unbearably hurt. Emotions can be overwhelming in such dire circumstances.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. calmkate says:

    seldom do they feel remorse 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Moon says:

    Was he ill, perhaps a mental illness and perhaps that’s why her mother left and perhaps that’s why he couldn’t step up even though he may not have been that far away( physically)?!So much story in just100 words.
    Great story, Irene.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Iain Kelly says:

    A traumatic and harrowing downfall – and a father’s worst nightmare.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Lynn Love says:

    I can’t imagine how awful a parent must feel when their child is hurt and they’re helpless to do anything to help. It must utterly crush you. Well told tragedy Irene

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Gosh, such a sad family. You’ve managed to convey so much in so few words! Well done.

    Susan A Eames at
    Travel, Fiction and Photos

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Sandra says:

    A terrible burden for him.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. susansleggs says:

    Such a sad story with a great metaphor. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Dale says:

    Loved the comparison to the tree… and no father should have to carry such a burden.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. This tale just breaks my heart. I can empathise with MC, father-figure and tree equally. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  13. yarnspinnerr says:

    Trees are often revered as protectors in this part of the globe – yet they are not protected. Wonderful write.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. pennygadd51 says:

    I love the description in your first paragraph.
    It sounds as though the girl came through the experience of rape more robustly than the father. He needs someone who can help him forgive himself.
    I wonder whether the girl is now questioning his wisdom and his standards – not because he didn’t protect her from rape, but because he has not been able to support her emotionally. I’m sure, though, that her love for him remains strong, and she hates to see him brought low.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. What a powerful and intense story Irene.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Rowena says:

    You’ve done a wonderful job with this painful subject. When I was younger, I used to get so annoyed with my mother who went to pieces when something happened to me and I wanted and needed her to be strong and to carry me. However, as a parent myself, I now realize that being a bystander and watching your child suffer, no matter how old they are, is a suffering of its own.
    My daughter started high school this week and I’m becoming more protective of her now. I’d better improve my right hook. Or, I could apply a few lessons from Friday Fictioneers. I’m a good cook. Watch out for the poisonous brownie.
    xx Rowena

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL I’ll remember not to accept a brownie from you Rowena. Seriously though – yes you want to protect but you have to let go as well and it would be so hard if in this process something happened. High school – does that mean you don’t have to drive as far?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Rowena says:

        Yes, I won’t need to drive as far but I didn’t go up to Wyong often, but I was at the station every afternoon. ATM she’s still wanting me to pick her up after school which I’m trying to discourage but I do see the benefits and she’s talking to me more about her day so I’ll keep it up. Well, at least for now.


  17. Varad says:

    I don’t know whom to feel more sorry for. A very harrowing tale.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. A sorrowful story skillfully told Irene. I can’t help but sense the sadness.

    Click to read my FriFic!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Dear Irene,

    Such a beautiful use of the prompt. I felt for the father. Such a heavy burden to carry. You can’t be with them 24/7. Well done.



    Liked by 1 person

  20. granonine says:

    A sad a realistic tale, well done.

    One grammatical suggestion. Your first line had me a bit confused. “As a child, he swung me. . .” would indicate that “he” was a very strong child who could swing her over his shoulders. Better: “When I was a child, he could swing me. . .”

    Liked by 1 person

  21. OMG…that is so sad!


  22. Oh Irene. Reading along then the precise deliberate axe strike of the word rape and how it cut into the story and into the family. And that the narrator holds the axe so steady is powerful. I am glad that she is not diminished, though what weird guilt might she feel that the assault on her brought down her father.
    (Wow, I was just coming by to see what you were up to. Vacationing soon I think?)


  23. It’s so hard, but i feel that it’s he who needs to be protected now… wonder if that’s possible?


  24. subroto says:

    Sad story, guilt is indeed a heavy burden to bear. Maybe by showing her strength by surviving and regaining her confidence the daughter will help the father stand again.


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