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If Chairs Could Talk

My thanks are due to Ted Strutz for this interesting picture which gave me four flash fiction stories in quick succession. Why have I chosen to publish this one? Now I am wondering what makes a story readable and worth publishing.

Photo copyright
Photo copyright: Ted Strutz

Miss Catherty realised that memories are strange things, but today of all days to remember that dreadful day her brother disappeared through the ice. For this memory to surface just as she was sitting her finial examination to qualify as a doctor – It beggared belief. Then again her drive to cure people stemmed from that terrible moment. Didn’t it?

As she looked down on the examination paper she realised that she was skating on thin ice. Just like Tom she was in danger of falling through the ice but there was no wooden branch for her. So she walked out.

Coffee and conversation at Filmore and Union
Coffee and conversation needed at Filmore and Union
This Post Has 52 Comments
  1. I’d have been interested to see the other three. I love defining moments in life, moments of choice. You might want to clean up the number of days in “today of all days to remember that dreadful day”

    1. Thank you Neil – I thought about posting another two stories but there are plenty of stories posted this week. As for Miss Cafferty she will qualify, but beyond that her future is unclear.

  2. An interesting character, there is a contradiction in her wanting to help people but than abandoning her exam, makes for a compelling take that could be developed more.

  3. Gosh, an interesting moment for the character – and one of clarity, I hope. No doubt there was a reason why the deeper, more intuitive workings of the mind threw up that memory at that time. Well told, Michael.
    It’s great that you got four stories from the picture – it seems to be sending people off in all sorts of directions

    1. Thank you. This story has taken hold of me, in my mind I can see so much to tell about Miss Cafferty. Good and Sad. I have written notes on the other stories, but now they will have to wait.

  4. Reading the comments, really brought your character to life for me. They asked more questions about why she walked away from something she wanted so much. This is something I’ve seen time and time again with my kids. My daughter loves dancing and was auditioning for the Dance Team at her Dance School. She can be quite shy, anxious and a perfectionist with at times, crippling self-doubt which can errupt in crush self-loathing under stress. All of these collided with the audition and she was refusing to go, Adamant that she didn’t want to do it anymore when I knew she was longing to. Personally, I’m glad her Mum’s a bulldozer and that I don’t let her succumb to these self-sabotaging thoughts.
    She made it into dance team and her teacher said her rendition of singing “Quiet” from Matilda have her shivers. She will be sitting for a selective school’s exam in a month and she’d better not run out!
    Yes, I definitely think you could extend this story.
    Well done!
    xx Rowena

      1. Hi Michael,
        That issue of self-doubt is interesting. I have frequently noticed that the more you know, the less you think you know and you have that quest to fill the void.
        Then there are those who think they know it all and so many of them have such gaps.
        Our son has always been quite the know-it-all and I remember seeing these 6 year old boys all bragging to each other and so sure of their knowledge. We heard a quote on TV one night that summed it up so well: “often wrong but never in doubt”.

  5. I liked your story Michael but I was distracted by the punctuation. Now I am no expert, for sure, just a hobbyist, but to me the two sentences “For this memory to surface just as she was sitting her finial examination to qualify as a doctor. It beggared belief.” should have been one, separated by a comma instead of a period.

  6. I think it’s better in those defining moments that the answer grabs you and you make the decision like this on the spot. Otherwise, it might take years to get to that place again. Lovely story, Michael.

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