Friday, February 18, 2011

A Last Message

This is a short piece of fiction using a character from a short play Chris and I wrote. I wrote this based on a prompt from The Red Dress Club. The prompt was to write, in 600 words or less, about a lost article of clothing found in the back of a drawer or closet, including what it is, how it was found and why it is important to you or your character.

A Last Message

Betty sighed as she opened the doors of the armoire. This was a task she had been dreading since her beloved Jim dies. She knew she could postpone it, leaving his things exactly the way they had been, trying to fool herself that he was still there, but she wasn't very good at lying to herself.

Piles formed on their bed - no, her bed now, Betty had to remind herself - as she sorted. A small pile of things to keep was dwarfed by the growing mound of clothing to donate. She moved methodically from shelf to shelf, then drawer to drawer. A trash bag slowly filled with unmentionables and things too worn to pass along. Finally she opened the bottom drawer. She pulled out a pile of socks, then swept her hand toward the back of the drawer, making sure it was empty. Her hand brushed something soft and silky. Pulling it out of the drawer, she found a pale blue scarf.

Her breath caught and tears welled in her eyes as she held the filmy piece of material, rubbing it between her fingers without realizing it. She lowered herself to the floor, her legs suddenly too unsteady to support her. As she quietly cried, she smiled in memory: she had worn this scarf tied around her pony tail the first day they met, back in 1956.

She hadn't thought about that scarf in years, hadn't even realized it was missing. Hadn't it been cleaned out of her own armoire ages ago? And her Jim had kept it, treasuring it. She had always considered herself the romantic one, but in his own quiet way Jim had outdone her.

After a time, Betty reached for a tissue to wipe her eyes. She clutched the scarf to her chest as she blew her nose. She sniffed one last time... and a sense of peace came over her.

"You always did know just what too say," she said to the empty room. "I miss you. But I'll be ok."

She carefully folded the blue scarf and set it on Jim's pillow.


  1. This is very sweet. It hits a little close to home bc my neighbor just lost her husband. I hope she will have some peace and good memories when she goes to clean out his things. Thanks for sharing!

  2. So. Very. Sweet. I love how it builds on the character from the could really take her and turn her story into a book, you know? Not that you don't already have enough going on. ;-)

  3. I agree with Amber. Such a lovely way to continue the story of Betty. The interesting thing about life is, even when we think it won't, it still keeps going on around us. This would be a lovely denouement to your play, or as Amber said, a way to turn the whole thing into a longer prose book.
    You're inspiring me to go back, and try a prompt or two myself.

  4. My grandmother lost my grandfather after 60 years of marriage.
    I don't know how she went on, but she did. She had no choice.
    This story is lovely in that it shows that we are capable of more than we know...that we are more resilient than we realize.
    Lovely job.

  5. Thanks for the feedback. Amber and Amanda - I don't know that this would fit with the structure of the play since it's all a conversation with her granddaughter, but it was fun exploring the character some more.

  6. What a touching and poignant story. Beautifully crafted and something I think we can all relate to...even if we all pray we don't have to go through it.

  7. What a beautiful and touching post.


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