7 October 2022

Published October 5, 2022 by rochellewisoff
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The next photo is the PROMPT. Remember, all photos are property of the photographer, donated for use in Friday Fictioneers only. They shouldn’t be used for any other purpose without express permission. It is proper etiquette to give the contributor credit.

PHOTO PROMPT © David Stewart

Genre: Realistic Fiction
Word Count: 100


Rain pelted the restaurant window. Why had he come back to Nam anyway? Curiosity? His therapist called it “coming to terms.”

Anthony unfolded the yellowed stationery.  

                                    “October 3, 1968

“Dearest Tony,

Sweetheart, I feel like a rat, since you’re off in Vietnam. But I’m afraid you’ll get killed and I won’t have no one. I met this really nice guy named Ted. You’d really like him. We got married last night. I hope you understand.

                        All my love,


“‘You’d really like him.’” Anthony held his lighter to a corner of the letter. “Why the hell did I keep it?”


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77 comments on “7 October 2022

    • Dear Neil,

      Thanks so much for a lovely compliment. I couldn’t help going there with war since I know the location of the photo. 😉 This is a reworked snippet of an unpublished novel that’s currently languishing in moth balls while I decide what to do with it. Again, thank you.




  • Tony deserved much better anyway. Hope he found the woman of his dreams and has been living happily ever after for the last 50 some years. I also hope they didn’t kick him out of the restaurant for starting a little fire…

    Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Rochelle,

    A powerfully and sobering story about the impact of war on relationships. Poor Tony. The war had taken so much from him. His burning the letter is a step towards letting go of the past and moving on. Good for him.


    Liked by 1 person

  • The girl who wrote this letter is still in high school mentality. Hopping from one boyfriend to another, not mature enough to consider the downside. He may be deeply hurt at the time, but he’ll mature and grow beyond her and realize he got out of a potentially bad situation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Oneta,

      The picture actually was taken in Vietnam. The novel was with an agent for a year but she said she couldn’t sell it. Tony’s story is only part of it. The main story is about his wife who has an eating disorder. Based on a true story. Here’s the elevator pitch:

      Elise, a military spouse and mom in the throes of midlife, dances three times a day with the most relentless partner, her secret nemesis she’s nicknamed “Annie Wrecks-Ya.” Will Elise’s strive for perfection kill her, or will she learn to let go and face the truth: she’s an addict. At the same time, her devoted husband Tony feels helpless to save her as he battles demons of his own that followed him home from war.
      Can Elise and Tony join forces and defeat these threats to their lives and their marriage? And can Elise learn to dance again, this time with the carefree joy she experienced as a child.

      Hope that’s not TMI. 😉 Thank you for your kind comments.



      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for sharing the plot of your story. I saw a longer version someplace but I’ve lost that spot. It sounded like an interesting and read-able story. Hope someone takes it on from you sometime.


  • Hard hitting, Rochelle, and I’m sure not an uncommon experience. I’m not sure why he’s back in ‘Nam, but I imagine that would be clear in a longer piece about him. And maybe it’s a sign that he found someone more worthy after the letter arrived.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Well done, Rochelle.

    I read many Vietnam War memoirs (too many). “Dear John” letters are as much a part of war as bullets and blades, going back centuries.

    However, many Dear John’s are never written or sent. There is just a loud silence. Often a friend or family member advises the service member of relationships and marriages that occur without warning. The adage “absence makes the heart grow…” is not often true.

    I’m reading a memoir now where the female author got a dear Carly (Simon) letter and was devastated, but eventually moved on (and on and on). Of course, war and battle were not issues for her. Geography was.



    Liked by 1 person

  • “You’d like him” … I wonder why people say that. Is it supposed to be some kind of consolation prize. The loser walks away shaking his head sadly… “helluva good guy”. I think not. Well done, Rochelle. It’s a scenario that must be often played.

    Liked by 2 people

  • Dear Rochelle,

    This is a sad situation. She sounds like one who must find a husband to properly live out her life as expected. There can’t be enough love to hold on and wait for her. Sadly, for him, there seems to have been more for her. Holding on to it, means holding on to pain so I am glad he made the trip and let go (hopefully).
    Beautifully written.

    Shalom and lotsa love,


    Liked by 1 person

  • Poor Tony gets a ‘Dear John’ letter but she probably did him a favour. He is better off without her.
    Also had a look at your incredible Etsy store, such beautiful artwork, you are a true artist.

    PS I’ll try and contribute again each week.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Such a sad story, but it reminds me of an advert on tv years ago based at war, about a dear John letter. The advert is for batteries that are used for a tape deck. The Dear John letter is sung to him and the wording is almost the same as the letter in your story. The advert finishes with ‘even the bad times sound good’.
    In your story, he deserves someone far better. Nicely done.

    Liked by 1 person

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