A Story for the Weekend

The Last Dance by Sophie Khadr:

There is a shelved alcove in the living room. Neither of them has ventured near the top shelf in years; it is an unspoken rule between them. That is the urn’s place, its curves reminiscent of the way their daughter’s body might have flowered given the opportunity. At ten, Cassie had been lithe and boyish with the beginnings of small, olive-like breasts. She loved to dance. Charlie remembers how she danced with her mother, their laughter bouncing around the room trying to keep pace with their feet.

The rest may be found at Flashquake. It has a surprising ending.

Flash fiction seems perfect for the digital age, where we are consuming art and entertainment in new ways an in smaller chunks. A powerful, rounded thought in your coffee break. A bittersweet moment when you wait for the bus.

Adam Maxwell runs his own Flash Fiction lounge, with a playbill theme not unlike my envelopes. Read his essay on the difference between microfiction and flash fiction.

My recent efforts are, of course, available too. I may post another soon, you never know.

5 Replies to “A Story for the Weekend”

  1. Olives?? Has this person ever seen an olive, or a ten-year-old?

    This story makes me want to puke. The sexualisation is disgusting, frankly. Pathetic, cheap, and sickening. And how come the woman doesn’t cut her feet on the jagged shards? This story sucks on so many levels. It’s pathetic.

  2. Surely ‘olives’ is a metaphor. You might not think it is, physiologically, the best description, but it certainly beats the cliche of ‘budding’. Likewise with the jagged shards – I see no problem with the artistic license there, although a bit of blood in the desecration might have been appropriate.

    I don’t see how making a reference to the onset of puberty necessarily means sexualization, however… at least not in an objectifying way. Surely the great tragedy of a child’s death is the stolen adulthood which it entails. What’s wrong with drawing attention to this aspect, especially in a story which is about parenthood/motherhood? The allusion to breasts, a feminine form, fertility – its about both Cassie and Estelle’s lost motherhood. I think its an interesting alternative to the Peter Pann-ing that we normally read about.

  3. You might have a point, Rob, if only the father wasn’t fondling the oh so voluptuous womanly urn….

    Evidently olives is a metaphor, but it’s a risibly inaccurate one. As such, it also reads as disrespectful and faintly mocking.

    It is not the reference to puberty per se that I object to (though in relation to a female child, this almost invariably does imply sexualisation I’m afraid), but specifically in the sexualising context of the repeated and unnecessary references to the sexual characteristics of the child’s body.

    Also, the thing is, that being female does not actually entitle one to fecundity. Cassie’s motherhood was not a foregone conclusion solely by virtue of her gender, thus it was only a potential loss, and not an actual one. Presumably, and no less ridiculously, there are potential lost earnings to consider also…

    Also, if I lost a child, or wanted to depcit the loss of a child, I really wouldn’t choose to represent that loss by referring to breasts. Why would someone do that when there are so many far more apt allusions that could be made? Hmm? Nothing to do with the double cultural meaning I presume…

  4. I thought the story was pretty rubbish too, but I did like yours.

    Glad that what were previously known as zoomers are making a come-back. I really love them.

  5. I thought this was a very sad story but perhaps there was some hope in that they were going to move and start a garden, there are other ways of being fertile apart from having children. I am not sure I agree with Claire about the sexualisation although the line about caressing the belly of the urn was unfortunate and unnecesary. I guess its a story about letting go and moving on.

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