On the seat

by | May 17, 2012 | Fiction, Flash fiction, Relationships | 15 comments

I’d been picturing this scene but couldn’t get myself to sit down and write it. I finally drafted it today while at Whole Foods after work.

On The Seat
By Laura McHale Holland

Carly and Chloe, a mother and daughter long separated by force, sit on opposite sides of a love seat; they are now separated by choice, a shoebox full of pictures between them.

Carly taps a bare foot on the plush carpet below; Chloe swings her little legs out and back, out and back.

One by one, Carly lifts pictures from the box and tells Chloe stories about them. One by one, she hands the pictures to Chloe, who stacks them on the seat next to the box. Carly talks of birthday cakes, Cabbage Patch dolls, sleepovers, Great America, her grandfather’s 80th birthday, her first crush.

When the box is empty, Chloe picks the pictures one after another from her pile and drops them back into the box. She says solitary words as the pictures drop: closet, dark, bruise, bam, bang, blood, splat, drive, waterfall, beach, puzzle, bye bye. When the box is full again, Carly replaces the lid, puts her hands in her lap, sighs. 

“Again?” Chloe asks. “Of course,” Carly replies. She removes the lid. Chloe inches closer to her on the seat.


All of the episodes in this series in the order in which they were posted follow:

Back pocket wishes

Cascading to the sea

Right through the heart

Away today?

A dime a dozen

She doesn’t know them

On the seat

A pillar of the community

He needs a friend

Double rainbow

The one he always wants to hear

Give it some time

It gives my life meaning


Extenuating circumstances

 The four of us

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  1. Eve Trout

    Great read. What Chloe must have went through. Can’t wait for the next part.

  2. Susan

    Chloe seems to have memories that no little person should have. Each picture certainly is telling a story. The one word description tugs at my heart and I can feel her thoughts and pain. YIKES! I’m hoping the “waterfall” and, “beach” are the happy memories. :) What’s interesting is that Chloe has a connection to Carly in more ways than we know despite the separation. It’s amazing what a trip to a store can conjure up! You ROCK. I await the next trip you take and what it has in store for us. HUGS!


  3. Arletta Dawdy

    I am a long-time sigher; Chloe’s sigh says it all. Great piece even tho’ I want more!

  4. wordwranglingwoman

    Like this one very much. You say so much with so few words.

  5. admin

    Thank you, dear Eve. You help me keep going.

  6. admin

    You’re right, Susan. The waterfall and beach are associated with happy memories. … I like that Carly and Chloe are finding their way to each other, and it’s in sharing something so simple as a box of photographs So often it’s those simple things that lead straight to our hearts. Thanks for the appreciation. Hugs back to you.

  7. admin

    Thank you, Arletta! Sighs can say so much We have a 7 lb dog who packs a whole universe into each of his sighs. … I’m starting to get glimpses of where this story is going next, so your wish for more will be fulfilled.

  8. admin

    Ah, dear Word Wrangler, your comment brought a great big smile to my face. Thank you!

  9. Barbara Toboni

    The pictures were a great idea. It seems Carly is trying to create better memories for Chloe, and Chloe is trying to communicate her pain. Keep going.

  10. admin

    I think you’re right, Barbara. And through caring for Chloe, Carly is getting over her own pain. Thanks for following my posts!

  11. ana manwaring

    Another thought provoking and chilling “story” Laura! The theory is there shouldn’t be separation between mothers and daughters, but there should be closets or bruises or blood, either. Keep ’em coming.

  12. admin

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and encouragement. You help me keep going, Ana. Onward!

  13. Anthony Pires

    Laura, you always have a way to instill a real curiosity at the very end.
    makes me wish I could buy the book to find out how the story ends
    Thanks Tony

  14. admin

    I’m so glad I checked my email before leaving for work, Tony. You’ve put a smile on my face, and I’m in a better mood to start the day. I’ve made a few notes about the next episode and should have it ready to go live a little later this week.

  15. Jerry Kohut

    pictures paint a thousand words, great idea to help in the healing process


  1. The four of us - [...] On the seat [...]
  2. Extenuating circumstances - [...] On the seat [...]
  3. Smiles - [...] On the seat [...]
  4. A pillar of the community - [...] On the seat [...]
  5. Away today? - [...] On the seat [...]

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