Road Block…Friday Fictioneers.

A huge, amorphous rock with haunting facial features and a crutch, had parked itself right across my path and wouldn’t budge. Indeed, on second thoughts, it wasn’t a rock at all, but a humungus, black rain cloud metamorphosed into a rock just to spite me.

Screw positive thinking! It was no coincidence, that I was The Chosen One. Otherwise, why would a huge, black rock from outer space, suddenly land on MY PATH? It must’ve had geo-tracking honed to my very coordinates. Mum, was right. We’d been born under an unlucky star.

That’s when I saw her shoes sticking out.

…..

This has been another contribution for Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wisoff Fields.  PHOTO PROMPT© CEAyr.

Given my health problems, I have naturally pondered why bad things happen. Well, more than the bad stuff. More the really traumatic stuff, which also challenges our notions of fairness such as the death of a child. Sometimes, I know I’ve certainly felt targeted or singled out and that was hard to take.

These were some of the thoughts which went into my take on this week’s prompt.

What are your thoughts about why we experience adversity? I love to hear from you.

Hope you’re having a great week.

Best wishes,

Rowena

43 thoughts on “Road Block…Friday Fictioneers.

  1. pennygadd51

    What Neil said. Plus, it’s nicely plotted, leaves us wanting more, reveals the character of the narrator and all those good things. Well done, Rowena.

  2. gahlearner

    Oops. Poor mum. I know it’s not funny, but it still gave me a chuckle because it reminded me of the bad witch of the west. Why do bad things happen? Coincidence, carelessness, hatred. Because people are cruel and evolution, physics, chemistry et al. don’t care for the individual…

  3. Joy Pixley

    Looking at the other comments, I realize that I totally misinterpreted this — I had thought it was a costume her mother was wearing to fool her (except for her feet sticking out the bottom). But now I see that the narrator is so unlucky that her mother gets killed by the rock falling right in her path. Either she really is the Chosen One or she’s got an overactive imagination!

  4. Christine Goodnough

    Looks like a few of us thought of the Wcked witch. 🙂 Now, as to why some seem to have it worse, we tend to do limited-range comparing. I might have it worse than some, but those of us who have the very worst “luck” in our day still have a lot better life than, say, a plantation slave in 1850.
    A reporter writing about life in Afghanistan 20 years back wrote, “Afghani women are routinely beaten, raped, and sold.” I try to recall that statement when I feel unhappy with my lot.

  5. Nan Falkner

    I don’t know why bad things happen and they happen everyday – sorry. I think everyone experiences an enormous loss during their lives which doesn’t help any but that is the way of life..
    As for your story – This reminds me of the wicked witches feet in the movie – Wizard of Oz curling up under the house after Dorothy’s house fell on her.- This is so cute – thanks for the entertainment!

  6. Rowena Post author

    Thanks, Nan. I was thinking about that scene in the Wizard of Oz recently. I’ve been sorting out my house this year after being sick for many years and it’s been such a massive project and one day that image from the Wizard of Oz came to me and I felt like the house had landed on top of me. I wasn’t dead. My feet were still wriggling but the weight of the house had defintiely pinned me down. So many of us have felt that way. I’m far from alone and fortunately, all that work is paying off. I can see the light.

  7. Rowena Post author

    I agree with you. We can lose sight of how bad it can really get when things go wrong for us. There’s always someone worse off, and quite often the worst doesn’t happen to us and we dodge a bullet. I’ve dodged quite a few, which have seemingly scraped my nose and done a u turn. Not sure where they went after that and hope they just dematerialized rather than hitting someone else. I have also realized that there’s quite a lot I can do to improve my lot and my chances. I don’t have to let the waves of fate roll over the top of me and carry me off. I also try to encourage others.
    That probably seems a bit ironic given the bleak pessimism of this flash. While I am largely optimistic and believe in taking a proactive approach to living with and overcoming your struggles, I also get a bit pissed off with this idea out there that we can don anything and have it all. We are who we are and while we can extend ourselves, everyone has limitations. Bad things happen to everyone. You just can’t swallow a magic pill and live happilly ever after. Indeed, I believe that type of thinking is landing some people in trouble. What are your thoughts? I am quite intrigued by suffering nad adversity xx Rowena

  8. Rowena Post author

    That’s alright, Keith. It’s been interesting for me to read the comments about the character under the rock. When I wrote it, it was intended to be her mother. However, after reading the comments, you could interpret it a couple of ways. It could be that the rock landed on the Wicked Witch of the West as per the Wizard of Oz. In this scenario, the rock has been a blessing, not a curse. On the other hand, you could say that while the rock has blocked her path, it’s actually killed someone else. So, she could be worse off and should count her blessings. Too often, we can be so consumed by own own troubles, we lose sight of what’s going well or how things could be worse.
    xx Rowena

  9. Rowena Post author

    We all know someone who can do that dying swan routine to perfection, even ourselves at times. However, all that exaggerated doom and gloom can seem quite amusing from a distance. My interpretation of the last line has changed since I wrote it. It was intended to be her mother. However, I’m now thinking it’s there as a reminder that there’s always somebody worse off.

  10. Rowena Post author

    Joy, the beauty of these flash fiction pieces is that they’re so open to interpretation and this week, like so many other weeks, the readers have added to my own understanding of my flash and that’s such a blessing.
    Sometimes, really bad stuff does happen to you and you do feel singled out and perhaps in so many ways you were. However, I have found personally that when you step back a few paces, you realize that everybody suffers and goes through ups and downs. That said, some clearly have a heavier load than others and most of the time, no one knows their story.
    What inspired this story is my own struggle to get back on my feet after having chemo to treat my auto-immune disease 3 years ago and wanting to be there for my kids and pursue my writing and paid work. It is hard to juggle all of this in my head, let alone in reality. My youngest starts high school so I’m spending this year getting sorted and have had more than a few big rocks land across my path, which I haven’t dealt with…just retreated. I do know I have to keep writing seriously and working towards getting a book published. There’s no compromise there, which is one of the problems with returning to work.

  11. Rowena Post author

    The other causative factor, is yourself. Too often, we are our own worst enemy. Shoot ourselves in the foot. I am no exception!

  12. Rowena Post author

    Thank you very much, Penny. I’ve been knocked down by the flu this week so it’s comforting to have some positive and encouraging feedback. Haven’t moved far on a physical level.
    xx Rowena

  13. Rowena Post author

    Thanks, Neil. Needed that twist at the end. My idea was that the rock had actually landed on her mother, but after reading the comments, I prefer it as either a case of someone worse off and what are you complaining about. Or, as in the case of Dorothy’s house killing the wicked witch, that the rock might have done her a favour. It might have blocked her path but it stopped her from being murdered as well. Interesting how many ways you can interpret fate.

  14. Joy Pixley

    Hearing all of that gives the story of the big rock falling down in the path in front of you so much more depth and meaning; thank you for sharing. That is so much for you to deal with, and I know how hard it is to juggle multiple demands and priorities when you’re still pushing just to be well and whole, I wish you luck and strength in the struggle to get your life back and to find your healthy space.

  15. Rowena Post author

    Thank you very much, Joy. I wish you well on your journey too. I am becoming more resilient and certainly more compassionate. Yet, there’s also the undertow which grabs me like an octopus at times. Fortunately, as time goes by and I’ve been in remission for a few years now, that I’m better at fighting the octopus off.
    I’ve really been enjoying a few of the discussions which have taken off in the comments this week.
    I love to think.
    xx Rowena

  16. Joy Pixley

    Oh yes, I recognize that octopus-like undertow! I just keep fighting it every day, and recognize that some days I won’t be as successful as I’d like. I’m celebrating my tenth year cancer-free (thyroid), and these days I hardly ever think about it, which is a wonderful freedom of the heart and mind, after so many years of dreadful anxiety. Take care!

  17. Christine Goodnough

    I agree with you that it’s a rather deceptive thinking: you can be whatever you dream, if you only put your all into it. You can get good at almost anything with enough practice, but everyone has limitations. A person in a wheelchair because of MS can’t just get up and run races and bring home blue ribbons.

    I saw a blog post once with a poster where this boy was going to be the greatest batter in the universe. It was all about determination, kids pursuing their dream. But there’s a difference between a child thinking, “I’ll do the best I can” and thinking “I’m going to be the greatest ever.”

    When I saw this post I’d just read an article about teens struggling with depression, how they’ve been given such high expectations from life, find them unattainable, and get depressed because life isn’t delivering what was promised.

    As to suffering and adversity, along with overly high expectations, my own feeling is that we should all study history more. History is an anchor; it fixes us in time, it shows us where we fit into the story of Earth’s peoples. Our society is so me-centered, our focus so small. Once you start seeing how other people have lived and what they’ve endured, you realize we’re floating in the cream.

    Sometimes I do get blue about how I feel physically but I still think having access to any proper heath care puts me in (probably) the top 2% of all the people who’ve ever lived. Even today, If I were born in most any other country and developed the disease I have (leukemia) I’d be dead now. Living in a country that has never seen combat, and regular bombing of civilians, where most citizens carry no emotional scars from war, puts me among the extremely privileged. Etc. But then to see teens in our ultra-privileged society committing suicide because they have life so tough — that’s when I think we NEED to study more history and get a better picture of where we are in the grand scheme of things.

  18. wmqcolby

    When I want to get back at someone’s smart-alecky remarks, I say, “I’m from Kansas and I’m going to drop a house on you.” Good story and a good metaphor for anyone for any time.

  19. Rowena Post author

    I love that, Bill. I promise I’ll be be very nice to you in future. I don’t need the weight of a second house on my shoulders. One is quite enough!

  20. Rowena Post author

    Thanks so much for your detailed reply. I really feel that we’ve stumbled on fertile philosophical ground with this rock prompt this week.
    I have two kids who are 13 and 11. My 13 year old son, doesn’t ask for much. I am pretty impressed with that about him. OUr daughter seems to have a very quick mind which is great academically but it also means her wants expand expedentially and it’s really difficult to manage. I am getting better. Realized she needs boundaries and accept she can’t have everything she wants.
    I often think about how kids used to leave school at 12 and might even need to support their family. My grandmother and husband’s father did. They were both bright but there was the Depression. They find it an imposition to empty the dishwasher, unless my husband is home. They expect to be waited on hand and foot. Hello!
    I am a bit unsure about teens committing suicide. Some certainly have very high Some could well be missing the sense of community and family that used to be around. There was someone to talk to. My grandparents and my dog were all pretty pivotal for me getting through my teenage years, in addition to my parents. We all need the village.
    I’m sorry to hear you have leukemia. I don’t know a lot about it, except that treatments have improved a lot and outcomes are a lot better.
    I did honours in history at uni and do quite a lot of historical research for pleasure and the blog in addition to my family history. I have found researching my own family history very sobering. There was so much suffering and yet they didn’t give up. That has really encouraged me through my own hard times.

  21. Life Lessons of a Dog Lover

    I did read this as a reminder that to remember there are people who are experiencing worse trouble then you are. Nice take on the prompt.

  22. justjoyfulness

    Oh dear! First I thought it was a prankster wearing a rock outfit to scare her until I realised the rock had fallen on someone. Good grief! What a disaster. Things got from bad to worse 😦

  23. Rowena Post author

    Thanks very much, Miles. My thoughts at the time I wrote it, was that it was her mother. That the random rock landing on her, confirmed that she was born under an unlucky star.
    However, after the ensuing discussions, I now think it as someone who is worse off. That the character is feeling sorry for themselves, a targetted victim but their current path has only been blocked off my the rock and that might be a bad thing…or even a good thing, especially if it was the wicked witch out to get her.
    I was really struck my the multitude of perspectives which could be taken with this scenario and how it made a great illustration that it’s not just what happens to us, but our perceptions, which determine our response.
    I hope that makes sense. I have seemingly used a lot of words to say something relatively simple. xx Rowena

  24. Rowena Post author

    The power of negative thinking should never be under-estimated. I initially wrote this piece as a bit of a shot at all that talk that we can be anything and do anything we like, which totally ignored our limitations, strengths and weaknesses. I might’ve taken that a little bit further with the rock landing on somebody else…not be be negative or anything…
    xx Rowena

  25. subroto

    It did feel like a wizard of oz moment (actually that was my first thought upon seeing the photo). But then I read it again and see the dark humour in it. Noice one.

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