Alice Westerly, aged six, placed a chair beneath the bedroom window, as she had seen her brother do when listening for Father’s train. But Alice climbed upon the sill and slipped into the night air, listening for airplanes, hoping for silver wings.
you may ask yourself, well, how did i get here
Meg, you are a magician with words. Your pieces are always among my favorites. The last line in this short story is fantastic. And the name Alice Westerly – SO.GREAT. I wish my name was Alice Westerly. Karen.
I’m so deeply honored — I feel the same way about your work, most especially today’s. I’m really glad you liked this. It has a bit of basis in reality. When we were little and my father had left us for a short time (I don’t know how long, but he intended to leave for good), my brother and I used to climb up to the window in the bathroom and listen for trains. I always thought we should listen for planes because we didn’t have a passenger train rail, and my dad was a pilot. Anyway, that was the genesis for this…and then it turned a bit darker. Oops. (I want to be named Alice Westerly.)
How horrible! Now Tears in Heaven is going through my head.
Awwww, sorry, Stacie! I forgot about Eric Clapton’s son. Heartbreaking.
Superb! A completely sweet story in four un-indented lines. Nice job.
Oh, I missed the word ‘slipping’! She fell OUT the window. And what came through?
The sounds of trains and planes came through. 😉
Thanks for reading and commenting, Angie. It could still be seen as “sweet,” in that she wanted to see her dad. As I noted below, what came IN through the window were the sounds of trains and planes. What went out was Alice. I keep trying to write happy stuff but my mind somehow veers off into darkness.
What a tragedy, but loved your writing!
Thanks so much for reading and for your kind words, Mridubala.
Beautiful and sad. We love our dads, and our dreams, us daughters.
Yes, we do! So much that we lean a little too far to reach them sometimes. Thanks for your comments and for reading, Habibadanyal.
This is very good, Meg! Like Angie said, a full story coming in through the window. Great post.
Thanks so much, TIZ. I was really trying to go for a story, rather than just imagery, which is what I usually do. Glad it worked.
Oh. No. Such a sad, yet sweet tale!
Thank you, Kymm! Appreciate your kind words.
Oh, man! “Slipped into the night air” is such a gentle phrase for a hard turn of events.
Yeah, it is! Thanks so much for commenting and reading.
I hope she found her wings.
I think she does, LHN. Thanks, as always, for your generous reading.
I’m so glad.
Loved this. I find it very interesting that she comes through the window outside, changing the ultimate perspective of the question in the first place.
Thanks, Michelle! I was thinking about the sounds coming in the window and Alice going out. A little twist.
Good, good writing. You managed to tell a tragic story in lovely words.
Appreciate your kind comments, Wizard Susan!
Oh, no! Oh, no! See what you’ve done, clutched my heart in 42 words. Or maybe, after reading again, I will pretend it was a first-floor window…
Awww. You clutch my heart with all your lovely poems, Jennifer. Thank you. <3
Thank you, sweetie pie! Miss you. I’ve been lost in grant-land, gardening, cleaning, writing. xoxo
Ah, Meg, you do it every time. This is wonderful! I know what you mean about writing the darker side of things; I keep trying to be positive too but somehow, the darkness always pokes through. It makes for a wonderful story, though, and I really enjoyed hearing about its genesis.
Maybe if we keep writing, the light will come through? Geez, I hope so. I’m always afraid people will see my blog name and think, “Oh, dear. Another dark story is ahead.” 😉 I’m grateful, as always, for your generous comments.
No, never. People see your blog name and think, “ooh, I know this one will be great!” Always a pleasure 🙂
Sooo heartbreaking. I love, love your writing!
Thanks so much, Jen. I love your writing too.
Beautiful and tragic. Or maybe beautiful because it’s tragic. Either way, I love everything about this.
Awww, thanks, Suzanne. Means a lot to me.
Oh, she couldn’t wait for her father to get home. She wanted to fly to him. That’s both sweet and incredibly heartbreaking. Poor Alice.
I keep thinking of that book, “Go Ask Alice,” and now wish I named her something different. Hah!
So sad and yet so beautiful. I hope Alice found her silver wings.
I think she did, Sarah Ann. At least, let’s pretend so. Thank you for reading!
Yes, very dark indeed, but I felt it also had a magical quality. Slipping into the night air made me think of flying. So sad. I liked reading your personal connection to this in the comments.
Thanks so much, Marcy. I’m glad you felt a bit of magic instead of just tragedy — I think that’s why I used “slipping” instead of “falling.” Made it a little more ambiguous.
I agree with Tienne. You’ve done it again here. Heartbreaking story and flawless execution. If you ever decide to teach a class on micro-fiction, sign me up!! 🙂
Hah! I’m still learning. Thank you for your kind, kind words, Genna. Muuahh.
Very tragic and so elegantly told!
Oh, thank you so much, Shailaja.
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