An Unlucky Star…Friday Fictioneers.

The doors of Alcatraz slammed shut on Jack’s trip, and the key turned one way and wouldn’t turn back. Indeed, that damned key was jammed in the keyhole. Wouldn’t budge.
Jack was 16 years old and about to launch out of the nest on the school trip of a lifetime… Sydney, Berlin, Munich, Rome, Pompeii., Paris. Then, it all went up in smoke thanks to the coronavirus. Why did it have to happen now? Right at this very moment in time? Gran was right. We were born under an unlucky star.

Now, all he had was his new cap:”Stay Home”.

13th March, 2020

100 Words exactly.


This has been another contribution to Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wishoff-Fields. This week’s featured image was kindly provided by  © Jan Wayne Fields.

This story is more fact than fiction. Just over a month ago, our son was supposed to be flying out of Sydney’s Kingsford-Smith International Airport bound for Berlin on a school history excursion. It was a strange thing sending him on this trip, because my husband and I haven’t been overseas since our honeymoon almost 20 years ago. Of course, it would’ve been nice to go ourselves. However, sometimes you make those sacrifices as parents, the same way mine have done for me through the years. You’d give your kids the shirt off your back at times. Besides, our son’s been through a lot due to my health most of his life and I sort of viewed this trip as a kind of compensation package. Yet, it wasn’t guilt money. It was a gift straight from the heart, especially for that blond curley-haired 3 years old who saw me looking absolutely wrecked in hospital and asked: “Mummy better?”

I felt absolutely shattered when the trip was cancelled. That this very special treasure we’ve all but handed over to him was smashed to smithereens and destroyed.

That was on the 2nd of March when the NSW Health Department banned all out of state travel due to the coronavirus. It was at least a week before the WHO declared a pandemic, and while we were starting to think that the trip might be cancelled, it still seemed a bit premature when the axe fell. However, their decision was on the money. A day or two later, the coronavirus struck Italy with a vengeance, and the rest as they say, was history. We are very thankful that the trip was cancelled and the group wasn’t overseas when this all happened. Indeed, like the rest of us, he’s had to stay home along with mum, dad and his sister. In many ways, he should be thanking his lucky stars and yet…

I guess there a lot us out there wanting to hit the coronavirus over the head with a baseball bat and put it out of action. You can add us to the list, but our concerns go beyond the loss of his trip. We’re very aware of all the people who’ve lost their lives and the grief of their family and friends. Each and every one was loved and cherished. I have acute lung issues and know many people who are equally vulnerable as well as our seniors. We all keep hoping it will all just blow over, but it seems to have a mind of it’s own.

I hope you and yours are well and safe and please take care.

Best wishes,


PS I’m sorry I’ve been away for so long. I started researching my Great Great Uncle’s service in France during WWI and the project snowballed into a pending book (which still has a very long way to go!!)

30 thoughts on “An Unlucky Star…Friday Fictioneers.

  1. Iain Kelly

    Such a shame. An awful lot of best laid plans have been ruined this year. Here’s hoping that once this is finally under control your son gets to make his trip in some form or other.

  2. Nobbinmaug

    Heartbreaker. This will be over eventually then… family trip. You can make it into a blessing in disguise.

    Good luck with your book. That should keep you busy during the lockdown.

  3. msjadeli

    Sorry your son’s trip had to be canceled. You all will remember this time together and cherish it when you look back. I’m glad he and you and your family are safe.

  4. Susan A Eames

    Such a poignant story – and I’m sorry to hear it’s based on your son’s experience – or lack of. But, as you say, better that things didn’t strike while he was overseas. Take care.

    Susan A Eames at
    Travel, Fiction and Photos

  5. trentpmcd

    Sorry about your son’s travel plans and travel bans… I have a niece who went to Iceland this year – I think they went just in time before the bans.

  6. Rowena Post author

    One of my close friends from school went on an extensive once in a lifetime trip through Europe to celebrate her 50th birthday last year and I’ve reflected on how lucky she was and how everything fell into place just over a year ago. Had out 50th birthdays been this year, it would’ve been a totally different story. I’m glad your niece made it to Iceland. Travel in and out of Australia is a long way off unless you’re returning home and going into quarantine in a hotel for two weeks. We’ve had such good results here and we naturally want to maintain it.

  7. Rowena Post author

    My friend’s daughter was on a student exchange in Canada and had a really fraught time trying to get out of Canada and onto a plane. That helped my road to acceptance a lot. It’s been hard to tell how the cancellation has affected our son. He hasn’t been to Europe, so in a way that was good because he didn’t know too much about what he’s missed, but he’s traveled in Australia and does have this sense of missing out we don’t talk about.

  8. Rowena Post author

    Don’t you wish you had a magic wand and wish you could make it all just go away? That said we’ve learnt a lot from this and the environment has certainly appreciated a halt in our pollution.

  9. Rowena Post author

    Thanks for encouraging the book project. It’starting to come together but I’m enjoying the research side a little too much. I’m still adding stories to the mix.

  10. Rowena Post author

    This virus is just like one of those people who always have to rain on your parade. I don’t know anyone personally who has had the virus let alone passed away because of it. However, through church and my Facebook and blogging friends, you get quite a cross-section of comments. One friend just started uni this year and had really been looking forward to life on campus and hanging out. Being a student. His classes are online for the foreseeable future. Students in their final year are wondering about whether their formals will be on. They’re relatively small fry compared to people dying but they still matter.
    I am trying to soak up as much as I can about what is happening and how people and artists etc are responding around the world. It’s fascinating.
    Take care and best wishes,

  11. Rowena Post author

    Thanks, Neil. We’re starting to get the money back so we’re hoping we could go over to Europe as a family.
    Hope you’re staying safe.
    Best wishes,

  12. Sandra

    So many dreams have gone up in smoke this year. I feel sorry for all those who were planning big wedding celebrations too.

  13. draliman

    Another best laid plan gone, both for your protagonist and your poor son. Better that than the possible alternative, though.

  14. Keith's Ramblings

    My trip to Cuba’s been cancelled but I can go another time. But a 16-year-old is at a developmental time in his life and taking the trip now would form an important part of his education. Right now my town should be thronging with school kids on exchange trips from abroad, mostly from Europe but many from Japan and beyond. But the language schools are closed and It’s very quiet here without them!

    My short story

  15. Rowena Post author

    It’s interesting that you mention the quiet, Keith. My son was back at school yesterday for the first time in a month. With only a fraction of the kids there due to social distancing restrictions, our son commented on ho quiet it was an how he could hear the trains.
    You are very perceptive about how good the trip would have been for our son. We were hoping it would expand his outlook and give him a blueprint for visiting Europe down the track. It looks like we’ll be doing some Australian travel instead.
    Best wishes,

  16. Varad

    That’d have been a huge disappointment to the youngster. We were planning a Italy trip in 2020 (our little one hasn’t traveled abroad yet), but looks like all travel plans need to wait for a year or two at least. Better to stay safe and healthy now.

  17. Rowena Post author

    Yes, Varad. We’re just starting to get to a point where my husband and I could possibly travel without the kids, but overseas will be a way off, although we might head to New Zealand. They’e looking t opening up a travel bubble between Australia & NZ.
    I agree with you about the need to self-isolate and stay healthy now, even here in Australia where are stats are quite enviable. We’ve worked hard to get here and don’t want that to change. Initially, cases in NSW where we live were on par with early days in Italy and it’s easy to forget that when we’ve experienced such a different outcome.

  18. Michael Humphris

    Good to see you back, I like how you used Alcatraz. We are due to visit Rome this month, now I would settle for meeting a friend for coffee in my local town, but even that’s out.

  19. Alicia Jamtaas

    So many best-laid plans shattered these days. We’re lucky to live in the woods so we can go outside at will. We also have a Community Garden to work in ~ six allowed in at a time. You caught the feeling of disappointment very well.

  20. New Journey

    I feel for your son. That would of been a trip of a life time. But thank goodness he hadn’t left already and was caught in a different country in the start of this pandemic. My daughter had a trip planned to England and had to cancel that as well, I miss jumping in my car and heading to California to see my kids. Its a good 15 hour drive, but always well worth the journey. I hope your son will get to do a short jaunt here and there as soon as it is safe. xxk

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