Trifecta: Disconnect

“You know what we should do?”  He looked up from his laptop, face bright with enthusiasm.  “We should take a trip during my mid-semester break.  How about Kyoto?  You’ve always wanted to go to Japan.”

She closed her eyes.  “I won’t make it to April.”  The armchair was soft, but she still ached.  She clutched the armrest to stop the trembling.

“Of course you will.”  His stream of forced cheer continued unabated.  “We can take tours of the gardens.  If you’re feeling well enough, we can even stay at a ryokan.”  He started to pull up pictures.  She stared at the ceiling as a rain of imaginary tatami mats and tea ceremonies fell around her.

Eric.”  She tried to cut through the flow.  “I’m not going to be able to take a trip in April.”

“Nonsense.  You need to stop being so pessimistic.  You’re going to be fine.  The experimental trial is working.”

It wasn’t.  The doctor had told her as much.  He didn’t want to take away all her hopes, but he wanted to be realistic.  Give her the time to say her goodbyes, put her affairs in order while she still could.  It would be – bad.  She was already feeling it, and it was only going to get worse.  Even if she fought through until April, there would be nothing left of her to sip tea and pose on bridges.

Eric had heard the same words she had, but they had skated off the surface of his mind.   In this, she was alone.  She looked through the open door into the bedroom, where her familiar nightstand stood, comforting with the weight of the bottle of pills she’d hidden at the back of the drawer.

“I won’t be going to Japan, Eric,” she murmured.  He wasn’t listening.  She got up and dropped a kiss on the top of his head.  He asked her a question that she barely registered.  “Whatever you like, dear,” she said before she drifted away.


Welcome to this week’s Trifecta Writing Challenge. This week the folks at Trifecta gave us three prompts; here’s 333 words (exactly!) on the Lewis Carroll quote “What I tell you three times is true.” I will note that that’s a classic — Lewis Carrol is not the only person to have noted the truth coming in threes.  Thanks for reading!

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  1. Cameron says:

    So very sad, both the illness and the disconnect.

  2. You did a wonderful job of describing everything. I especially loved “She stared at the ceiling as a rain of imaginary tatami mats and tea ceremonies fell around her.”.
    You told a story that was so heartbreaking, but you gave the lead so much strength that I feel that even though is is going to die before April, she’ll be okay.
    And, you accomplished it in 333 words which is pretty amazing!
    Great job!

  3. jannatwrites says:

    What a sad story. I wish she’d make it to April. I feel bad for him, too because he is apparently in denial.

  4. kgwaite says:

    This is so well done – Her realism against his optimism. I love the separate conversations they’re having. The pills hidden away…such a sad, telling touch.

  5. FKC says:

    One big wow!

  6. great writing and the story just pulled me in. 🙂 enjoyed it

  7. Michael says:

    Wow; that’s so very sad. I don’t know who to feel sorrier for; her or him.

  8. Great story-telling. Sad tale told well!

  9. Jester Queen says:

    That’s tragic, but so very plausible. I have a friend whose sister’s husband is dying. Everyone has heard what’s going on with this brain tumor. EVERYBODY, including the husband, is trying to make things peaceful for the end. And the wife is planning for next Christmas. So sad. (I’ve been on vacation and my phone is hopeless about comments by the way!)

  10. that was heartbreaking. especially since she is in it alone; that line stood out to me most. she’s accepted her fate, and he’s still in hopeful denial. i love what the prompt prompted you to write. tragically, yet beautifully written.

  11. Amanda says:

    I really like the image of the doctor’s words skating off the surface Eric’s mind.

  12. Ugh. You left a heaviness in my throat and chest. Very good writing.

  13. kathy says:

    Beautifully evocative and moving!

  14. Annabelle says:

    Thanks, everyone! Thankfully, I have not been this close to a situation like this, but I have certainly seen clashes in lots of families about elderly parents, with some people ready to accept the hospice and some determined to fight. It’s difficult stuff.

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