Published June 8, 2012 by rochellewisoff

One photo prompt is worth a hundred words. Here’s my story for this week’s Friday Fictioneers. Thanks Madison Woods.

When my mother was pregnant in 1958 she took an experimental drug to quell morning sickness. Seven months later she delivered a daughter with limbs too small to ever be useful.

Leslie never complained about her deformities. Instead she made jokes about them and dreamed of flying.

Once we took a hot-air balloon ride. She tossed sequins over the side. They glittered to the water below.

“In my next life,” she said, “I want to be a bird.”

From the same balloon I pour out her ashes. Mixed with sequins they spangle the sky.

Today my sister is free!

40 comments on “WINGS

  • A very moving way to ascribe a painful, probably very regrettable mistake on the mother's part, but a beautiful way for the sister to honor her request and memory. Nicely done.


  • Beautiful, touching and heartbreaking. You outdid yourself once again, Rochelle. I will be posting mine in a few minutes…you know where to find me…


  • I'm entering another comment just to try and figure out why my previous comment showed without my name and with strange block kerning. Your story was good enough to get two comments anyway!


  • I remember being at a rodeo in Redding, CA, when I was very small, it must have been about 1949-50. There was a woman sitting in front of us who had no arms; her hands came out of her shoulders. She was wearing western garb and cowboy hat. She terrified me but I couldn't take my eyes off her. That was the reaction of a 5 year old; now I think how brave she must have been to face up to fright and ridicule.


  • Very nice downward swoop of emotional pain, then uplift at the end with her freedom. I knew the sister of a friend who had a fingerless hand, maybe from the same drug. So sad but sometimes pain can lead to strength.cheers,Laura


  • You have a gift of delivering disturbing stories in such a way that they don't feel sad or disturbing at all sometimes, Rochelle. I'm glad the sister was able to scatter her ashes with the sequins. For a fiction story, it sure elicited some strong emotions!


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