Friday 15 June 2012

Being the perfect ex - RFWers Challenge No 38 Friday June 15th, 2012

Welcome to Romantic Friday Writers Challenge No. 38 for Friday 15th June 2012. RFWers is a fortnightly challenge that is founded by and hosted by and Donna Hole. Challenge No 38 for today, June 15th 2012, is the theme, 'Being the Perfect Ex'.

Here is my text:

Sanna had been riding and fell off her horse.

The next thing she knew, she was standing in front of a huge pair of doors with a sign saying 'The Pearly Gates - Please press bell. Doing so, the door opened by a woman dressed in white.

‘My name is Agnes. Please come in.’

'Where am I?' asked Sanna, as she stepped into a bright hallway and followed Agnes into a smaller room with two armchairs and a desk. There was nothing on the desk other than a tea tray, a blotter, some sheets of parchment, an inkwell and some quill pens.

‘Please sit down. You are at the Pearly Gates, which means that you may die and be admitted to Heaven or you may return to life on Earth.'

'What happened?'

‘All I know is that you fell off a horse. What about a cup of tea? Let’s chat.' Agnes poured tea. Lemon or milk?'

'Milk, please.'  

'Is there anything that you regret during your time on earth?’

'I regret buckets full. I was married and divorced and now I have no one. I wished to be loved by someone, I also love.’

‘If you think about the boys and men that you met in your life, have you missed any opportunity? Tell me about any man who has treated you well.’

Sanna sifted through many faces. Who treated me well? There was Carl, being the perfect Ex, he helped me pack when I said I was leaving him. ‘Yes, there have been those who have treated me decently and kindly, but I guess I did not love them as much as they loved me. I was not happy with the man who is the father of my children, but we had a lot of grief in that relationship.’

‘Would you like to give someone another chance?’

‘I don’t know.’ 

Suddenly a pigeon flew into the room and landed in front of Agnes, who opened a container attached to its feet and rolled out a small strip of paper.

‘You’re being sent back!’

Sanna said barely ‘thank you’ when the next thing she knew was that she was lying in a bed, looking up at the faces of her children and Ex! 

What’s he doing here? Where am I, now?

‘You really gave us a scare’, said her Ex.


 Wordcount according to WordCalc: 400: FCA (Full Critique Acceptable)


Best wishes,


This story was originally more than 1000 words long and is a piece of fiction, inspired by my son, Erik's accident, a week ago. He fell, hit his head, but was never unconscious. He suffered a mild concussion, scraps and bruises, a cut on his chin, plus he bit himself in the inside of one side of his mouth. His teeth seem to be intact. He went back to school on Monday and did not miss a school-day this week, the last week of school.

As I already have said, this is fiction. I am not Sanna and my Ex is not her Ex. 

There may be some details that are not so easily understood. I deleted a paragraph about the fact that the Angel, Agnes, does not have a computer on her desk. She uses message-pigeons, writes letters by hand, and has other means of communication.

I deleted a long description of the different language signs on the doors of the Pearly Gates; and how Sanna looks for, but does not find, a sign written in Swedish; and has to settle for the sign in English. (This is a ploy to be able to write this in English. Otherwise only Tina Downing of Life is Good and a few others, would be able to read my story.) 

The inspiration for this play with languages comes from my attempts to apply to the European Union for a trademark. I called this official EU-trademark authority in Spain and was called back my a Swedish-speaking person. Swedish is now an official EU-language! There must be a whole colony of Swedish-speaking EU-employees working down there! So the laugh on Sanna is that no one, who could speak Swedish, was on duty, when she arrived at the Gates of Heaven. The Swedish-speaking angel, was out on assignment. 

(Besides my trip with Erik to the emergency room, I am inspired by the movies, Harvey and It's A Wonderful Life, both with James Stewart. I like writing about angels.
Oops. I see that there is a touch of the Wizard of Oz here too.)

And of course, we have Roland in our midst. If Roland can write stories about persons like Alice Wentworth & Co., then I can write about Angel Agnes.


First Commenter:
Beverly Diehl


Writing in Flow


Beverly Diehl said...

Greetings, Anna. First off, so glad your son seems to be okay. Children can sure put us their parents through an emotional wringer!

I like the whole premise of this, but think it would be more powerful if Sanna herself had made the choice to go back, or showed some longing to do so.

Love the messenger pigeons - why not? and the notes about this - clearly, this does "want" to be a much longer piece.

The Poet said...

Dear Anna,
Once again, I hope your son will be fine so that he can have a GREAT summer with his beautiful mother. Not sure if Sanna had false pride, but we can tell she was not happy with her past life. As some women will say...the best thing was my children. Thanks for sharing my friend.

Denise Covey said...

Hello dear Anna. What a time you have had! I'm so glad Erik is okay and at least you had your ex there to help share the emotional load. So much about our children's ups and downs is easier when shared, though of course I understand not always!

As your story had some roots in real experience I found it quite believable. You took me to that place. I could tell you'd had to cut it down somewhat, but it had all the intrinsic elements of a flash fiction piece. I love that Sanna comes back with a story to tell!

Thank you for taking the time to post even though you've had a traumatic time. Maybe writing this story was good for you!

And I'm delighted I can be an Honorary Swede. Time for another word. I'll have to check my Swedish dictionary, lol!


Here's my link:

Charmaine Clancy said...

Love this original premise for the prompt Anna. I am glad Sanna will get another chance with the Ex. I was just a little confused whether Carl was also the father of her children or if they were two different men? I'd like to think they're the same. I don't think you need to ask 'what's he doing here now?' because you set it up very well in the Angles office (love the idea of Agnes the angel with carrier pigeons).
You ended this story very well :)

Myrna R. said...

Not to sound redundant, but hope your son continues to feel better and better.

There's hope at the end of your story. I sense Hanna may reconsider her ex and perhaps be happier with her life.

Tanya. said...

Glad Erik is fully fit now Anna.

I love the story, it think it's great just the way it is and read beautifully but I also love the extras that you have added at the end. xx

Unknown said...

I love your imagination, Anna. And how you let us know where your inspiration comes from. But I was sorry to hear about Erik. That must have been very worrying. Hope he is really well now.

Unknown said...

So sorry about your son's injury, hope he is better now. You still managed to make good tale out of it.
I am curious as to whether Carl and the one by the bed side are one and the same. Have a great weekend and week ahead.

C.S.H said...

Wow.. talk about a second chance.. and this is inspired by something so personal.. I'm glad your son is okay and I hope that this woman, can now see what she has.. Sometimes, we take things for granted.. only to realize what really mattered the most.. Bless you my friend and I hope you don't mind me following your blog? :)

Denise Covey said...

Hello Anna. I came over to gloat at seeing myself under the Honorary Swede banner! Thank you for the honour!
I love all the supportive comments for your story. You are inspiring.


Adura Ojo said...

Hi Anna,

'Good to hear Erik is fine. I know it can be a worrying time for parents when their children are in hospital.

I enjoyed your story about Sanna and the review of her life. Writing does help us take stock of our own lives even when the issues are not related. I find writing incredibly therapeutic and you probably do too.

Editing details in a story line can be difficult when one has to fit it into a few words. But I wouldn't change anything here. I like your story as it is.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

So many wonderful responses! I'll try to be brief.

Dear Beverly: Good point about Sanna. The cutting down to 400 words was not so successful in that some things became unclear. Sanna had more words to express her thoughts in my first version. I do think I should make it clear that Sanna does have a reason to live; a reason and a desire to return.
Dear Andy: Sanna wants to meet a man who will be a good friend and partner for her. Sanna's problem is simple: she chooses the wrong men. What Agnes the Angel is hinting at is that she has passed by good men and chosen poorly.

Please don't take this personally, Andy. I think that you are a wonderful man, which is also why you may have trouble believing me when I say that not all men are like you.

My Ex was not 'there for me emotionally' at hospital when Erik had had his accident. My ex was there because His son had been injured.I did not get a thank you calling him on the phone because the school could not reach him. I frankly wish the father of my children was someone else. I wish their father was a man who respected me. I have not been unfaithful. I have not done anything wrong, but he puts the blame on me for everything.
So now you know that.
Dear Denise: You next words are 'Hej!' and 'tack!'
'Hej' means 'Hi' or 'Hello' and is the informal form of greeting that just about everyone uses in almost any everyday situation.
'Tack' means 'thank you', 'Thanks' ,but is also used when we might say 'please' or the Germans would say 'bitte'. So this is a very important word to know how to use. Swedes are prone to use this word a lot.
This was lesson number two!

I love story-writing. But still have my taxes to finish, so I feel a little guilty about posting. If I hadn't still had the worry about the tax-papers, I would have written a sequel to this story right off the bat.

Dear Charmaine: Thank you for pointing this out to me. I see that I have been unclear about which man is which in Sanna's life. I wrote a lot more about different men and then just deleted it.

I gave one man a name, Carl, but not her ex. Mybe I should have given her Ex a name too. Carl and her former husband are two different men.

You don't think I should let Sanna be surprised to see her Ex in the hospital? This is me sneaking into Sanna's body and knowing that MY EX would not care if I lived or died. I would be very surprised if I woke up in hospital and saw my EX's face. He would not do that for me. And he definitely would not have the imagination to say something like what Sanna's Ex says at the end of my story.

I felt sorry for Sanna and decided to make HER EX a nicer guy than mine.
I'm going to have to break this comment up. Blogger does strange things with long comments.

I'll be back!
Best wishes & hugs,

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Anna:
First, glad your son is in good health. I couldn't find the old comments to read what you said.

I don't think you need to appologize for writing in English. I saw a program recently about Mongolian's and the sport of eagles as their pets. They had a competition and were all dressed in traditional clothes, on horses with their eagles. A big table for the judges was off to the the side and the banner over the table was printed in big bold English words. I thought that was really something.

I loved the carrior pigeons too. I think your writing has improved since you joined RFW.

Now for a true story. My youngest was at school playing a tag game that had her run and try to break through a line of boys where their hands crossed. She hit it so hard that she was knocked unconcious. The school didn't even call me. That night she told me she saw a bright light and a voice said. "It's not your time yet. Wake up." That sent chills down my back.

dolorah said...

Anna, even with all you deletions, this had a nice flow and rhythm to it. I liked the details you allowed to remain about the tea and the carrier pigeon.

The details you deleted to fit the prompt word count sound fascinating for the longer version. I hope you work on it and submit it somewhere. It sounds completely fascinating.

Thanks for participating with RFW this week Anna. I'm sorry for all your traumas, and I appreciate your support of RFW despite your worries.


Unknown said...

This is so cute and so sweet! Very different from how one expects pearly gates to be.

Celeste Neumann said...

There is something so innocent and adorable about this - written like a parable. I adore the word pictures you paint.

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