Friday Fictioneers: Erasure

PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

The photographs are dry and faded, curled like autumn leaves. They burn even better than I expected.

They are the last thing that connects us. I sold our belongings when I sold the house, forty years of a shared life distributed among house clearance auctions and charity shops, ready to be re-purposed or sent to landfill. There’s something fitting about that last, your jumpers chewed and clawed, used to line rats nests.

I watch the flames die, wait for a sense of freedom to descend but none does.

I can’t burn the memories.

***

Written for Friday Fictioneers, the writing prompt run by the wonderful Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s. See here to join in the fun.

64 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers: Erasure

  1. That line about the jumpers/rats nest lends another dimension to a tale of loss, Lynn. You have me wondering now. It’s so good to see you back, your work has been missed.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Lynn,

    As always, your beautifully descriptive words both humble and thrill me. So much said in few words. Nope you can’t burn memories. Well done and so good to see you back in the FF queue.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

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    1. Thanks so much for the lovely comment, Rochelle! Had me smiling. You’re right, sometimes those memories never fade, no matter how much we’d like them to. Thanks again

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  3. Ooft. Wonderfully bitter. Loved the rat’s nest line Lynn. Realised that I had unconsciously assumed that it was a female narrator. I then went back and found that you had left this ambiguous. Curious. Was I right or was this entirely unconscious bias on my behalf?

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    1. Ooh, glad you liked the rat’s nest. I felt it was an indicator of how the relationship went. And it’s true, I did imagine the narrator as female, though, of course, there’s nothing saying it couldn’t be a man. Thanks for reading, Matthew

      Liked by 1 person

  4. And I do wonder what caused the final rift. Or was it death. Memories are the killers when it comes to break-ups. You can move away, you can start a new life, you can be happy, or so happy. And then that memory hits. No going back, no way to change what was said or done, no second chances.

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  5. So many people will relate to this, me included. The timing made me shiver. Just a couple of days ago yet another shit-storm rose from a criminal act carried out 30 years ago. The ashes of the perpetrator languish in an urn, yet the waste he scattered continues to pulsate, and the horror still haunts me. I can’t burn the memories, and the damage can never be undone. He skewed the course of the lives of all of my family, but we build on what he couldn’t steal from us.

    Lynn, your words are few, but they say so much. Your huge little story is exquisite xx

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    1. I’m so sorry the story hits home in such a personal way, Jane. That you’re still suffering the fallout from someone else’s actions after all these years is horrifying. But it’s also a testament to your strength that you build on what remains. Strong foundations, Jane. All good wishes to you x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It comes and goes, Lynn – it’s no big deal. I just happened to catch your story at a particular moment. All is well now – except I’m all over the place as Laura’s labour is being induced tomorrow. I’m looking forward to meeting little Joshua.
        Wouldn’t it be great if I bought her flowers from the flower shop where you work? Although I suppose it’s some distance from Southmead xx

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      2. Be thinking of you all today – hope Laura and Joshua are doing fine by the time you read this. So excited for you to be a Grandma again. Southmead’s not so far from the flower shop – we’re in Clifton. Take care all of you x

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  6. What an anguishing portrait of a grieving man. Love this line: “There’s something fitting about that last, your jumpers chewed and clawed, used to line rats nests” Time may help them fade but they will never go away 😦

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    1. Very true! Glad you liked that line – I wanted it to convey the state of the MC’s feelings towards their ex and it seems to have come across clearly for many readers. Thanks for reading

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Very relatable experience, trying to purge the last vestige of a bad relationship. It’s true that you can’t burn out the memories the same way, but at least it’s easier to forget for a while when you don’t have constant reminders all around your house.

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  8. Beautifully written, Lynn. It’s fascinating to compare your story with Iain’s. He has imagined an abused woman seeking to cover her past by buying photos and inventing appropriate memories; your MC does the reverse and burns photographs – but with the same end in view.
    While toxic memories have a long existence, their power over us can be reduced. Professional help can be really effective in allowing us to let go.

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    1. I like how you’ve pulled my and Iain’s stories together, tying them with that common thread. And you’re right, even if we can’t undo the past, sometimes we can learn to deal with it and carry on towards a better future. Thank you for reading Penny

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  9. A powerful story with great descriptions, Lynn. I have the feeling he caused deep and searing hurt. She’s tried to clear him out of her life completely but the memories still linger. —- Suzanne

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