Short Story — I Will Remember

 

Picture
The Two Sisters, by Théodore Chassériau (France) 1843

They say infants don’t hold onto memories, but I did. I remember you pushing me in the stroller along a flowered path and Teddy running alongside. I remember you handing me pieces of bread and laughing as I did my best to throw them to the brown and green ducks in the pond. Teddy ran at them and they flapped away — then Teddy fell in. You rushed to pull him out of the cold water. His body shivered as you somehow finagled him in with me in the stroller that chilly spring afternoon and wrapped him in my favorite banky. As you pushed us home, it felt like we were flying. I remember mother yelling at you for your carelessness. I remember mother carrying Teddy in for a hot bath. He got a fever from it and was bound to his bed for weeks. I’m sure this is when he began to draw.

I remember this is when you took to staying in your room and reading books. I also remember hearing you cry in the night, then the gentle click to the door of your room. Where were you going? Or wasn’t that you closing the door?

When I was just learning the alphabet, I remember you and mother getting into a terrible row about your coming-out party when you refused to take part in it. She threatened to write father to ask him to come home to force you. Mother said there was no way she and father would support an old maid. You cried and threw your brush at her. You never did have your party, and father never did come home, even after mother got ill.

Aunt Jeannie and Uncle Herb were more than kind when they offered to have me as co-honoree with Cousin Minnie with her fancy coming-out party in the great ballroom of the Spendwell Hotel. The movers and shakers talked about it for months. When the first waltz of the evening played, Harold was there, in front of me, with his hand out, bowed at the waist. He told me he had had eyes only for me since he saw me walking with you that day on the boulevard.

It’s hard to believe Harold and I have been married three years already. His trust fund has made him not only kind but generous. He never hesitated when I asked if you could move in with us. After Teddy left for Rome to paint, you living in that big dusty mansion alone was out of the question. Do you remember the day we went shopping for gowns? You, who never were much for frills and silk, were captivated by the red-orange striped dress with the matching wrap. It was you who suggested we each be fitted for the same outfit.

You and I living under the same roof again, but without criticism, seemed a dream come to life. What I didn’t expect was how often you needed to lie down to rest. I remember hearing your stifled coughs behind your shut door.

Remember when Teddy finally returned to Paris? He saw us in our matching dresses and insisted he paint us. The painting is all the world has left of you now, but I will remember it all.

The End.

My story was an entry in The Ekphrastic Challenge but was not accepted.  If you wish to see the entries that were accepted, you can find them here.

Background info on the painting (from wiki):
The Two Sisters is an 1843 oil painting on canvas by the French romantic artist Théodore Chassériau. Completed when the artist was twenty-three years of age, it depicts Chassériau’s sisters Adèle and Aline. Although the representation of the identically dressed sisters suggests twinship, Adèle (on the left) was thirty-three and Aline (on the right) was twenty-one when they posed for the portrait. It is housed in the Musée du Louvre in Paris, France.

21 Comments Add yours

  1. Dora says:

    Lovely story, Lisa. Your narrative style reminds me a lot of Margaret Atwood’s.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, Dora. That’s high praise! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. memadtwo says:

    I love this story. I had not looked up the background to the painting, but I could tell one sister was much older than the other. It reminded me of my 2 girls (9 years apart). They have never dressed alike to my knowledge, though the younger one wore the older one’s hand-me-downs.
    Don’t be discouraged by the rejection. I’m often surprised by what is chosen. They don’t like formal poetry that much though, so I was pretty sure a cascade wouldn’t be picked. But it’s a good exercise, even if it only gets published on your blog. (K)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you for your support, Kerfe. I can see why you’d be reminded of your girls because of the age difference. My mom and aunt used to dress my cousin and I alike. She was 4.5 yrs older than me but very petite where I was larger so our sizes evened out. I had no idea if it would be picked but I looked at the next painting and might try again. It’s a mystery why they don’t like formal poetry!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. memadtwo says:

        Every publication has prejudices I think. But keep trying. I haven’t been submitting much lately, but it’s always a very small percentage that gets accepted. For both art and writing I find.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. A touching story, I’m sure it will find its market, but I’d like to see more depth in the narrator’s feelings. My sister and I were only four years apart. My mother made all our clothes, the ones that weren’t hand-me-downs from a neighbor. Every Easter she made all three of us matching dresses, to wear with hats and gloves (and at first little lace-trimmed socks). No lovely gowns!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. msjadeli says:

        Thank you very much for your comment and feedback. Maybe a longer story could bring those feelings in. I envy anyone who had/has a parent with sewing skills. I bet you all looked so adorable in your matching outfits.

        Like

  3. Sadje says:

    What a moving story Li. Beautifully told in first person.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Many thanks, Sadje.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sadje says:

        You’re welcome 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  4. badfinger20 (Max) says:

    I loved it Lisa and it’s been a while since I read a longer story by you and I’ve missed them. It’s a really good story and it flows.

    The one or two I read sound like they were trying to complicate it. In other words no one talks like that. For me a story should come at me like you are in front of me talking…that is why I like yours…for the lack of a better word yours rolls off the tongue if that makes sense…it’s natural.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you for your feedback on it, Max. I appreciate your support.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. badfinger20 (Max) says:

        I hope I made sense. Keep entering, entering, and entering. Don’t stop.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Another wonderfully written tale, Li! ❤️
    It is very difficult to know which journal will accept what. Keep sending. They would be fools to ignore your skilled writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Punam thank you for your kind comment and for your support ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Always a pleasure! ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

  6. ghostmmnc says:

    I liked your story of the sisters. I’d never seen this painting before and I like it a lot, plus the background story of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, Barbara 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I enjoyed your short story, Lisa. As I was reading, I could nicely picture it. Very well written!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you very much, Christian!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.