Friday Fictioneers – Breaking Up

Every week, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (thank you, Rochelle!) hosts a flash fiction challenge, to write a complete story, based on a photoprompt, with a beginning, middle and end, in 100 words or less. Post it on your blog, and include the Photoprompt and Inlinkz on your page. Link your story URL. Then the fun starts as you read other peoples’ stories and comment on them!

FF - Breaking up sequence 200212

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

I’m afraid I’ve cheated this week, writing three separate stories for the prompt. I’ve put them together because they’re on a single theme, and form a sequence. So that’s how I’ve cheated – I’ve written a 300 word story in disguise! I hope you’ll all forgive me!

 

Breaking up, breaking down

Robert looks cold and aloof.

“I just prefer her,” he says, quietly. “It’s nothing you’ve done. Can we stay friends?”

I clamp my jaw, shake my head.

“Better a clean break,” I manage.

I shudder uncontrollably as I walk to the station to catch the train home. It’s full. I huddle in my seat and weep, heedless of stares.

What more could I have done to keep him?

My phone chimes. A text message. I can’t read it for tears.

As the train pulls into Manchester my crying stops, and I feel the ice crackling and crystallising around my heart.

Breaking up, breaking out

Robert looks cold and aloof.

“I just prefer her,” he says, quietly. “It’s nothing you’ve done. Can we stay friends?”

I look at him and remember what he’s said in the past.

‘I find commitment difficult.’

‘It was a fling – it didn’t mean anything. I’m sorry.’

‘I don’t like you seeing other men.’

‘I don’t like you dressing like that – it makes you look like a tart.’

“Friends? Forget it!” I say, and stalk out.

Outdoors, the wind is icy, but my overcoat keeps me warm. I feel energised. Let Robert play his mind games; I shan’t be joining in!

Breaking up, breaking through

Robert looks cold and aloof.

“I just prefer her,” he says, quietly. “It’s nothing you’ve done. Can we stay friends?”

Prefer her! When’s he had a chance to find out? What a rat! I punch him, hard, on the jaw, then gasp. ‘What have I done?’ I think, horrified.

We look at each other.

Suddenly, he grins, then laughs, a great belly laugh.

“Your face!” he hoots.

“I’m really sorry,” I stammer.

“It’s my fault. I was being outrageous. I’m sorry.”

We sit down, side by side, and talk. The ice between us melts as we understand each other better.

Inlinkz – click here to join in!

46 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers – Breaking Up

    • Dear Susan
      Thank you for reading and commenting so kindly. I’m glad you liked the different ways of dealing with the situation. It was the title of the first story that prompted the second and third stories.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Like

  1. Dear Penny,

    What a curious chain of events. I think he had that sock to the jaw coming. Men can be so clueless. I liked the repetition of the first two lines in all three of the stories. Cheating? There are three 100 word stories, after all. Not like you wrote a continuous 300 word piece. 😉 Clever you. Delightfully well done.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Rochelle
      Thank you for reading and commenting. You’re right that Robert had that sock to the jaw coming – he even admitted as much. But I was glad they sat down and talked it through. Do you know what? I think they had a long and happy marriage together!
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the movie Groundhog Day, but the MC’s day keeps replaying until he gets it right.

    As to the word count, I once posted a longer story with a disclaimer at the 100 word mark. It read something like – DANGER 100 Word Limit – proceed at your own risk. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the idea of this! It could play out in a much longer piece too.
    I have been dealing with a horrible administrator/finance person this past week who actually wrote me the line, You have left me with no other option but to blah, blah… And I thought what nonsense, there are always multiple options if you put your mind to the problem!
    Thank goodness for creativity and creative people like yourself – there are always different outcomes to consider.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Miranda
      Thank you for reading and commenting so kindly. You’re right – it could work as a structural device in a longer piece, although it would need great care in setting up. For this post I just had the idea and did it! I could imagine something like this as a sub-unit of a novel – which intrigues me, but I’ve got too much on my plate to chase it up at the moment!
      I hope you managed to sort things out with your awkward administrator!
      With best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Linda
      Thank you for reading and your very encouraging comments. You’re right in a way – the set of stories was pretty much a technical exercise. The first one was my immediate emotional response to the prompt. I just wrote it, revised it, thought hard about the title, and then realised that there are many variants possible. So, since the first story was very adolescent in its emotions I thought I’d make the girl more mature and street savvy. She can see how the Robert of the second story has been attempting to control her, and she says “No way!” Then I wanted a happy ending, so I tweaked the girl’s character to make her feisty but psychologically well balanced, and imagined Robert as being less of a control freak, and there we were – honest interactions (including the punch!), a willingness to talk, a willingness to admit when you’re wrong, and there’s the happy ending!
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Tannille
      Thank you for reading and commenting with such insight. Each of the Roberts was able to detach – in the first story, fairly honestly; in the second in order to manipulate the girl; and in the third story it was a minor part of his character, but he was also capable of commitment. You are dead right that the one doing the hurting is more likely to want to be friends.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Ali
      Thank you for reading and commenting. I think in the third story Robert was completely serious about dumping the girl. However, her punch caught him completely by surprise and he suddenly became aware of all sorts of aspects of her personality that he’d overlooked. She was suddenly much more interesting and attractive!
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Francine
      Thank you for reading and commenting. I’m delighted you enjoyed the three versions. I couldn’t resist a smile at your disbelief of the third story, because it’s true – yes, even including the punch!
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Like

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