Monday, April 16, 2012

Trifecta

This week's challenge: Check out the third definition of observe (below), and use the word exactly as it appears, in no less than 33 and no more than 333 words.

3: to celebrate or solemnize (as a ceremony or festival) in a customary or accepted way



The old man kissed her mother’s cheek and murmured something. Then he turned to Sherry, who stepped back and laced her fingers behind her back to discourage his touch.

“Sherry!” He said loudly, looking just past her as if making sure the whole family could see him and his adult granddaughter finally speak again. “Why is it we only see one another at times like this?”

She nearly snapped, “Because I hate you,” but one look at her mother’s red-rimmed eyes and Sherry chose the path of least resistance and said nothing.

“I’m glad you’re here,” he said absurdly, as though he was somehow the host of this funeral and had invited her. “It’s important to observe events like Ted’s passing with the proper respect.”

She stomped on her own foot to help her hold her tongue and managed a slight nod. Why was it that, when surrounded by family, she had to fight reverting to her rebellious teenage self?

Satisfied that everyone had seen the patriarch enjoy a respectful moment with his troubled and troublesome granddaughter, the old man finally moved on, and Sherry could finally exhale.

Her husband appeared beside her and touched her shoulder. “You handled that like a champ,” he said, steering her away from the family’s earshot.

“That twisted old fuck!” she hissed, unable to hold back any longer. “So it’s ‘important to observe events like Ted’s passing,’ is it? I think it would have been nice for him to show affection for Ted in life, when it mattered. I know no one likes to be reminded of their mortality, and it was hard to see Ted at the end. But Ted was his son! How dare he play  powerful head of the family when he didn’t even have the guts to come to the hospice to say goodbye to his own child? I was there. Every damn day.”

“That’s why you were such a spectacular niece,” her husband said, stroking her hair.


11 comments:

  1. Very poignant. Sadly there are power plays like that at funerals much too often.

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  2. Oh, the way you keep us interested till the end. I like your writing.

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  3. Ive been to gatherings like this, and felt that same way. *HUG* You brought this across very well and it was very easy to relate to.

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  4. Whew! You set the tension well in your writing. Like they say, "you could cut it with a knife". Nice job!

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  5. Sad. I hate stressful gatherings like this. I loved your ending line. Perfect.

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  6. Oh how I find wakes uncomfortable and sometimes awkward. Brings people out of the woodwork. His son? Nicely done.

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  7. I was fascinated by what was clearly the patriarch's perception (or Sherry's perception of her grandfather's perception) of Sherry as troubled and troublesome contrasted with the truth of her as a loving niece. And oh yeah, to agree with what others said, I've seen several funerals where some jerk (or jerks) tried to use everyone's grief to their own advantage. http://jesterqueen.com

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  8. What a terrible situation. Sherry is a strong character. Nicely done. :-)

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  9. The looking past her as if to make sure others were watching. Such a true moment. I was right there, seeing it. Nicely done!

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  10. I've really enjoyed your pieces since you first joined up, but this is one of my favourites for sure. I love how much of the characters' personalities you bring out in a relatively short piece. The grandfather is perfectly portrayed and his hypocrisy and selfishness is in stark contrast to the granddaughter's selflessness -- her ability to bite her tongue for the sake of the occasion and also her caring for Ted when no one else was prepared to do so. Thanks for sharing this one with us. Hope to see you back at the weekend.

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