Monday, June 18, 2012


This week's challenge: Using between 33 and 333 words, write a response including the third definition of the word:

BLUE (adjective)

3  a : low in spirits : melancholy
    b : marked by low spirits : depressing

She tried to follow her mother’s example and simply skate across the surface of life, where it was safe.

But as much as Tess loved her mother, she was simply too smart for that. She couldn’t resist delving deeper, where the reality of the past and present reside. It was painful, but she was compelled to do it, the same way she probed a cavity with her tongue when she was waiting to see the dentist.

Now, as her mother’s life was drawing to a close, Tess would have to redouble her efforts to just skate along. What good would it do now to discuss (yet again!) the sexual abuse Tess had suffered at the hands of the revered family patriarch? Or the cruel way Tess’ grandmother had systematically diminished the little girl’s self esteem? To maintain peace, Tess would have to outwardly accept her mother’s view that these things couldn’t have happened, “at least not that way,” or simply weren’t “that bad.”

Tess wanted her mother to leave this realm finally enjoying the peace she deserved. She didn’t need Tess’ voice ringing in her ears, challenging her. “Why didn’t you protect me? I was only a little girl!” Tess was tempted to ask (again), “How can you still display their pictures in a place of honor on the mantle?”

But what good would that do? Mommy had lived nearly 80 years on the surface, skating along where the ice is always smooth and there are no obstacles in sight.

Every visit with her mother these days left Tess a little blue. Not because she knew she was going to lose her beloved Mommy, sooner rather than later. She accepted that as the natural order of things.

What hurt was that she and Mommy had spent their entire relationship on the surface, without ever truly knowing or understanding one another, and now they never would. 


  1. Very touching story.
    It seems like a lot of families from those older generations had that mindset. My grandma is in her 80's and she always wanted to sweep anything and everything that wasn't pleasant under the rug.

  2. Beautiful, story and touching.

  3. Anonymous8:01 PM

    This is a great story. I can relate to the 'on the surface' part because my family is very much like that. They don't talk about the 'bad' things, or those things are polished so they aren't so ugly.

  4. Anonymous6:29 AM

    So sad. That moment when we understand it's too late to fix a relationship is a terrible one. Well done.

  5. Beautifully crafted. Heartbreaking, but lovely.

  6. Beautifully said. I love the image of skating on the safe surface. Lovely.

  7. Anonymous8:38 PM

    this story does run deep, yet it still seems to barely scratch the surface
    it's sad to know all that blame and guilt and pain rested below the surface of what seemed to be a relationship based on love
    you touched the heart with this tale

  8. Anonymous6:35 AM

    Thanks for linking up with Trifecta this week. I enjoyed your extended metaphor of skating throughout this piece. A sad tale, indeed. And a common one. Hope to see you back soon.

  9. This was the case in our family. Mom denied until her life was ending. Thank you for an honest, moving assessment of the unfairness of forcing kids to keep secrets. This held my attention and is the subject of many of my poems as well. Thanks, Gal. Peace, Amy

  10. On the surface... I wonder how many times had Tess wished she could just rip the covers off - like a bandaid - that may tear at the skin but expose what needs to be aired out.


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