We are familee! Ive got all my blisters with ME! Amanda Byzak: A Happy Little Family

The road less traveled

Literati! Proud to introduce you all to Amanda! Wanna know a BIG secret! She inspired the prompt for our contest, based on a novel-in-progress that I got to peek at–but just beneath the surface! One of my favorite people!

A Happy Little Family

by Amanda Byzak

“Don’t tell her I told you, ‘kay?” Mom’s hushed tone makes me strain to hear her through the receiver. “And don’t go sharing this with anyone outside the family,” she says a little too firmly–almost a reprimand.

I am a grown woman of forty years; I can tell anyone I damn well please. I bite my lip, but I can’t help myself. “What exactly is that supposed to mean? Did Jayne talk to you?”

“Oh, no!” She quickly recovers. “I was just saying that our family stuff is, you know… family stuff. All of us should keep it to ourselves.”

Oh, yeah. She talked to Jayne. I sigh deeply. “Of course, Mom.”

“So when you call Sarah, be gentle,” she coaches. “She is a bit fragile right now. Don’t just come out and ask. Try to get her to tell you on her own.”

“Okay, okay. I know.” I hurry the conversation along.

But she insists on driving home the point. “She needs our support. We don’t need to judge —”

“I get it,” I say, annoyed. I’m the judgmental one. I know.

“Okay. Love you,” she says, sweetly.

“Love you, too.”

~ Five Minutes Later ~

“Hey, Sarah.” I try to sound casual.

“Hey, Sis,” she mumbles.

Yep. She knows I know. “How’s everything? You sound like something is wrong.”

“Yeah…” she says, sheepishly. “Did mom talk to you?” She knows better, but she still asks.

I feign ignorance. “No. Why? What’s going on?”

“Oh, okay.” She pretends to buy it. “Well, I’m okay… now.”

“So, what happened?” I urge.

“Danny found out about Chris and we broke up.” She hesitates. “And then I got arrested…”

“What? Why?” What did you do?

“They thought I was suicidal…”

“Why would they think that?” I know why.

“I don’t know,” she lies.

Be gentle. “Did you say anything that implied that you might end your life?”

“I mean… You know how you say things like, ‘I’ll kill you!’ when you’re mad, or like, ‘I’ll run my car off a cliff!’ but you don’t really mean it?”

No. “Um… sure.”

Sometimes it's difficult to remain tight-lipped when family secrets are at stake
Sometimes it’s difficult to remain tight-lipped when family secrets are at stake

12 comments

  1. Parisianne Modert says:

    I read through the dialogue a couple of times and I’ll leave the story for others to judge for themselves.

  2. kyle katz says:

    Amanda, I believe you gave us a juicy snippet of family dialogue that probably takes place in many homes. The everyday patter that we share…all of it seeming important. Some of it is. Some not so much. You made that trip for me very easily, reminding me of my own conversations. How things got twisted, revised, some zingers in-between. It pulled me in right away. Only wanting more of who this family was.

  3. Lacey says:

    This pulled me in right away and left me wanting more, Amanda! Who is this family? How many sisters are there?

    • Amanda Byzak says:

      Hi Lacey,

      Happy you enjoyed it. Three sisters. I am thinking to expand this into a short story. All I have so far is this dialogue that I created based on the prompt for the contest, but I feel drawn to turn it into something more.

  4. Katrina says:

    Intriguing! I agree – drawn in and curious for more. Dialogue, internal and external, is natural and believable.

  5. Rachael says:

    very intrigued. this could be a poignant spoken-word piece or could easily be expanded into a novella. love your style; can’t wait to see what else you write!

  6. Michael Stang says:

    Gotta go with Sal here, dialogue is king, confronting the contest through internal observation. Creative. Well done. Want more.

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