Published August 16, 2012 by rochellewisoff

This week’s Friday Fictioneers’ photo prompt is from Lura Helms. It’s always fun to read the different imaginings that emanate from one photo. Here’s my 100 word offering.

In the woods on the outskirts of town is the Tree of Life. Not to be confused with the original this one earned its name from a century of discarded oddities which have grown into its branches.

Jason and I carved our names into the bark the day before he left for Viet Nam. We’d marry when he returned.

When the final letter came my heart cratered to my stomach.

He’d met Trinh-Lee, his true love.

Today you can still read the crude print that says, “Jason loves Karen.”

Just below it, imbedded in the trunk, is my disengagement ring.

29 comments on “CASUALTY OF WAR

  • Looks like I get to be first too. What a sappy story–no, just kidding. I couldn't pass up a tree sap pun opportunity. When you said he went to war, I expected the final letter to terminate the relationship, but not in the way it did. You fooled me–I like that in a story.Thanks for reading mine first. I feel truly honored. Here's my link for others


  • Good story. "A century of discarded oddities which have grown into its branches…" more stories to be told.Like Russell, I too thought a different ending was coming. Trinh-Lee was every kid's true love over there. Jason got duped but got what he deserved for dumping Karen. That's my spin. Randy


  • Nice surprise…I expected him to have died, but no. The disengagement ring given to the engraved tree to hold was a marvelous touch.cheers,Lorelei


  • Dear Rochelle,A Dear John letter in reverse. Great twist. "…my disengagement ring" is a great turn of phrase, if you will. A very sweet, then sad, but in no way sappy (Russell) story. I enjoyed the Tree of Life imagined by you. I think every town should have one.Aloha,Doug


  • At first i thought the letter carried news of his death…glad he didn't die but then i was like no wait, how can he do that…NOT FAIR. Very well written Rochelle. You know how to tell captivating stories. Thank you so much for stopping by mine


  • Ha Ha. Jason will now always sort of just 'hang' around on the old tree where he can feel right at home with his name carved there, and all the other oddities there. Good place to leave the ring. Good story. Yep. I wish I could explain away all my goofs and misspells or syntax errors in my writings on my aging deteriorating eyesight, or having 'senior' moment. Ha. But guess it all comes down to just plain ole careless boo boos. We'll all have to be one another's editor. LOL


  • I liked the twist – I think that letter was harder to read than one announcing him KIA on many levels. Glad to see she moved on.One comment – "embedded" may be the right word in the last line.


  • Ok…got it…however…we reversed gender. She got jilted and he (my Zach) got jilted. Maybe we should do some old-fashioned "matchmaking" and get them together. lol.


  • You never hear about the women left behind like that. Funny I was engaged when I joined the service and broke it off six months after getting to my ship. Luckily we were very best friends and were able to talk it out instead of breaking each other's heart. karen does not sound so lucky. Way to make one reflect. Great story. Thanks for commenting on mine.


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