22 November 2013

Published November 20, 2013 by rochellewisoff
  • As always, writers are encouraged to be as innovative as possible with the prompt and 100 word constraints. 

    Henry David Thoreau said it best.

    “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”


    Write a one hundred word story that has a beginning, middle and end. (No one will be ostracized for going a few words over the count.)

    THE KEY:

    Make every word count.


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      • Shalom,


    • Copyright - Sean Fallon

      Copyright – Sean Fallon

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Genre: Literary Fiction

Word Count: 100


“Goodbye, wrinkles.” Cynthia glared at her reflection.

After forty years of marriage, seeing her trim figure clad in a clingy silk nightgown still excited Lester. She slipped into bed and snuggled against him.

“Don’t do it, Cynthia.” He curved his arm around her slender shoulders and reveled in her perfume’s scent. “Please.”

“I’ll be gorgeous again.” Her lips, as she whispered, tickled his ear.

A week later, the surgeon’s mumbled apologies filled Lester’s dismayed mind like ashes blowing across a deserted cemetery.

“Internal bleeding…respiratory failure…cardiac arrest.”

In his empty bed that night, Lester caressed her fragrant nightgown.

“Goodbye, Gorgeous.”

126 comments on “22 November 2013

  • I can’t remember which writer said ‘if you want to write big stories you must choose big topics’ but you nail that arena every time -another big topic, dealt with a blow! You can feel what she felt she lost, despite her partner’s words and unfortunate restraint.We know what our partners feel…


    • Dear Managua,

      As a woman of a certain age, it’s hard to look in the mirror and wonder what happened to the smooth-skinned teenager. We’re always hardest on ourselves. However, I’ve also noticed that people in the media who’ve had work done look artificial.

      Thank you for your affirming comments.




      • I totally agree with you there. Media women especially look too perfect for my tastes. Difficult to relate on a more substantive level.

        You continue to have a way with words that reflect a certain level of mastery I’m not certain I’ll ever acquire. You continue to inspire…hugs!


  • Although I wouldn’t ever go under the surgeon’s knife, there’s a beautifully written lesson in your story for us all – to be happy with what we’ve got, especially if someone else loves it, with all the flaws.


    • Dear Claire,

      That’s one tough lesson to learn, isn’t it? It took me 30 years to make peace with my curly hair and a few other things that I viewed as flaws. I’m blessed to have a husband who loves me just the way I am.

      Thank you for dropping by with your comments.




      • It took me longer than that to make peace with curly hair. We are our own worst enemy sometimes. We forget others don’t notice the outward person as much as we might think. Sad story. 😦


  • Rochelle, a perfect illustration of beauty being in the eye (and heart) of the beholder and, too often, not believed by the beautiful. I, too, am fortunate to have a husband who still in the most important ways sees me as I used to be and loves me anyway. 🙂



    • Dear Denmother,

      I detest the term “aging isn’t for sissies”. It doesn’t matter whether or not you have courage. It’s a fact of life. Either you age or you die. It’s a pity that there’s so much emphasis on youth and beauty.
      Thank you for your kind and insightful words.




  • Rochelle, this is so heartbreaking. I wouldn’t blame the women, but the fact that it was elective surgery makes it even more tragic, in my mind. You did an amazing job conveying the tone, every word in the perfect place.


  • so many layers, lessons and emotions in this wonderful story. At times, I’d think about it; I mean everybody’s doing it. But I’m lucky to have people who’d try to stop me just in case. like ashes blowing across a deserted cemetery, I like that a lot, too 🙂 I second pirate’s comment; your stories are always big and masterfully crafted.


  • Ohhhh. That is a real horror story. And it is true. These awful things do happen when all we want is some innocent little change. A nose job, a little oral surgery, the devil of chance is waiting to pull the earth out from under us, so it can cover us with earth instead!


    • Dear Lindaura,

      Unfortunately, this is based on some true stories. And it could be any surgery that involves general anesthesia. My father in law went in for a routine procedure several years ago. Our final goodbye came the next day.
      We are fragile creatures. Thank you for commenting.




  • You’ve powerfully evoked the senseless tragedy of this situation, Rochelle. Very moving to leave him clutching the empty nightgown. This story will haunt me for days. I love stories that can do that. Thanks, Karen


  • Hi Rochelle,
    Vanity, vanity, all is vanity. I don’t know if you intended this to be a comment on this era of rampant cosmetic surgery, but that’s what I took away from it. There are some nicely turned phrases here, especially the simile with the ashes and the doctor’s words. Great writing. Ron


  • You eloquently make a really good point in your story. It does all boil down to accepting and loving ourselves. It’s really sad that women do die getting plastic surgery or have some horrible nightmare result. I’ll never forget the story I saw about a woman who had a face lift and they hit a nerve and now she’ll be in horrendous pain for the rest of her life. And I do think that plastic surgery doesn’t make anybody look young, it just makes them look old –with a face lift.


    • Dear Linda,

      Your comments are much appreciated. It seems that more and more the results of plastic surgery in the media are more and more macabre. I could name them, but we pretty much know who they are. And then, of course there are those “freak accidents” like the one you mentioned or worse, death.

      Thank you and Shalom,



    • Dear Valerie,

      I have a friend that adds an O’ to the front of my name. I was and am a big fan of O’Henry so guess I emulate him whenever possible. I hope this means you liked my story. Your comments are something very special to me.




  • A tragic tale, with the love already in their long marriage and that the surgery was needed only in her eyes, not in her husband’s. You set up this story skillfully, the echoes of “Goodbye” and the sharp image of the ashes blowing across a deserted cemetary. Brilliantly written.


  • Very, very well done, Rochelle. The beauty and joy of the love relationship between them played against the heartbreaking disaster of her decision makes the truth you’re relating even more horrific. Yet you tell it so sweetly that the reader is drawn in and can’t stop reading until he’s face to face with the truth that the lies of this world will destroy us.
    Excellent writing!


  • This could almost be chalked up to hubris, but certainly it is tragic. This type of bitterness isn’t usually your cup of tea, darling, and I admit I’m surprised by this story. That is, this seems like a different kind of sad story that you often tell. As always, I am impressed by your versatility in storytelling. I’d never dream of predicting either the subject matter or tone of your entries.


  • Dear Paula,
    The best thing you can do for a woman like that is get rid of all the mirrors. Either that or she can become a vampire and never age. There, I came up with 2 solutions that would have prevented her early demise. Aren’t you proud of me?
    respectfully – Mann E. Ken


    • Dear Mann,

      I’m not sure why, but your thrice-made comments went to my spam folder. Good thing I check that on a regular basis. Most of the spam messages are in Japanese or Chinese, so I knew this wasn’t that.

      Thank you for your suggestions. I’ll take them under advisement if I write another story like this one.




      • So, even software programs have enough smarts to decipher my writing as junk and send it straight to the spam folder. There may be a story in there somewhere. Thank you for recognizing that my gibberish comments weren’t Chinese and rescuing them from the trash can.


  • oh, poor dear. poor him too. the heartbreak.

    suggestion – this line – “A week later, like ashes blowing across a deserted cemetery, the surgeon’s mumbled apologies filled Lester’s dismayed mind.” consider rephrasing it so the “ashes blowing across a deserted cemetery” is at the end. more powerful if it’s at the end. maybe something like, “A week later, the surgeon’s mumbled apologies filled Lester’s dismayed mind like ashes blowing through a deserted cemetery.”


  • As I look in the mirror everyday and see the wrinkles and silver hair I just thank whatever powers that be that I’m still alive to see them. I at one time thought I never would. I’ll take the mirrored image anyday over the surgical knife. Well done as always Rochelle. A little sad, a little foreboding, and always great.


  • Oh mirror mirror on the wall. Why oh why are we women buying into the idea that we should we edit out our personalities and life histories? Anyway, my husband says he’d kill me if I had cosmetic surgery. So I’d die either way. I like : ‘like ashes blowing across a deserted cemetery’. Very topical and tragic story, telling it like it is. Ann


  • Your story ‘Rochelle gave me chills..I could feel her strong desire to lose the signs and aging..so difficult in our society for women to cope with. More intently I felt his loss especially because she did not understand that to Lester she was still young and beautiful. great write


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