“The Sands of time were falling, from your fingers and your thumb…

…while you were waiting for the miracle, the miracle to come.”  L. Cohen

Ahhhh!  Here I am again. Come, oh ye faithful Literati, and read another finalist entry into our First Annual Peggy Dobbs Write-of-Passage Contest.

After this, I will post another this evening, and then two tomorrow night, and will announce the winner on Sunday.

I am posting without giving the author’s name, so that the story will be judged on its merit and not based on the fan club of any particular writer.  Whoda thunk I could be so fair and impartial?

Remember, each story must be under 250 words and must include the line”…but by then, it was too late.”

Here is

Mother Song

by Contestant # 4

The man returned to his wife after seven months. He’d left to find himself and locate the love he’d lost for her, but by then, it was too late.

The wife had taken her two boys, one on her back, one by the hand, and returned to her father’s country. There she ate potatoes and shellfish by the sea. Her aunts and uncles fed her legacies and legends, infused her and made her whole again with tales of her ancestors.

When the man returned to their empty home, he covered the walls in letters of apology, words that told of his regrets and promised her a life of comfort, the dream of a model husband who’d learned his lesson.

But the wife had shorn the hair from her head and forgotten her husband’s touch. The wife bled every month and made herself tea. Wife became Woman, and gathered her children onto her lap and sung them the songs of her father, told them how once her people spoke the language of both beasts and angels alike.

The husband sought out his wife to make a home of her like before. But upon finding her, she offered him the only gift she had left for him: a jar filled with the sand where she’d slept alongside her sons during his absence.

When the man opened the jar, pain escaped. He found himself in those grains, those miniscule but terrifying little worlds.


22 thoughts on ““The Sands of time were falling, from your fingers and your thumb…

  1. Michael Stang says:

    Me thinks Elizabeth had something to do with this. Men and woman, what’s the problem? Oh nothing except that ever since time they have been at each other in some way or another. This idiot decided taking off to find the magic mushroom would solve his problem. What he never got was hers. Deft writing, told in single line. The reader knows exactly where everyone is coming from. Great job and good luck.

  2. Parisianne Modert says:

    O, my how beautiful, fluid parable of the sands of time and a woman’s richness of wisdoms. The connection with time, lyrical brush strokes across my mind as a woman made me sigh in admiration and understanding of this woman’s path to her ancestors along with needing to connect with them to heal.

    My guess is that this story is by Kristy Webster and that out of the four so far is by far my favorite finalist story. I am humbled by the quality of such a grand story written with so few words. This could well be the winner of the contest. If it is, you will hear no protest from me as a co-finalist.

  3. KYLE Katz says:

    Excellent in every way. Every word, every thought, painting a picture that continued to develop in my mind… a story that did not end.

  4. ZiaSunshine says:

    This is absolutely beautiful, has a nice flow, and really brought me in, even with such a small word limit!! Even without children, I have personally felt this way before. I finally let my hair down and my heart soar when it became clear that moving on was the only way…

  5. Diane Cresswell says:

    Breathtaking – a new old mystical tale that teaches, inspires, enchants, and brings in a great analogy of what is right in front of us that we don’t see. Stunning – worthy of being told by
    Clarissa Pinkola Estés or Angeles Arrien…superb!

  6. Laura G says:

    In all its simplicity, this short piece is intricately crafted. You’ve made it read like a fable, with an unusual, formal style of language that makes it seem timeless. It spans countries and cultures and speaks of a universal human experience (and a gender issue that, sadly, touches most of us). Fantastic story!

  7. elizabeth sloan says:

    Such lovely, lovely language. The cadence of this moves my heart. The images are sharp and deep. There are phrases I want to keep holding on to. The removed perspective for such an intimate relationship makes this so powerful. Yes.

  8. Kenneth Weene says:

    A beautifully told memoir of a man’s midlife crisis and its impact on his wife and marriage. The sands of time do run with pain. However, I did wonder about why 7 months. Obviously we wouldn’t go with 9, too much; but why 7, which otherwise seems too short for such a dramatic change. She falls too short of Penelope in that time frame.

    • Kristy Webster says:

      “Spiritual meaning of the No.7: Symbolically, it is thought to stand for Completeness, a Unit, Fullness, Totality.”

      ie: “Her aunts and uncles fed her legacies and legends, infused her and made her whole again with tales of her ancestors.”

    • Kristy Webster says:

      Oh, also in Numerology: “The number 7 is the Seeker, the thinker, the searcher of Truth (notice the capital “T”).”

      ie: “He’d left to find himself and locate the love he’d lost for her, but by then, it was too late.”

  9. thorn says:

    I am reminded of a quote by Randall Jarrell: The tide goes in and the tide goes out, but the beach stays sand and the sea stays salt. It is the sand and the salt I am writing about.

  10. Parisianne Modert says:

    There are many nuisances I have gotten by rereading this story several times now. The last one I have had if I am not mistaken on my interpretation is “one on her back”. I wonder if the husband left her with child still within her? Did she have this child now baby on her own during his absence from her? The words imply the weight of her decision and determination for a better life with a true family. By the man leaving “to find himself and locate the love he’d lost for her” the fate is sealed. Love is a present interaction dynamic, not an abstraction elsewhere. He writes apologies on a wall rather than speaking them directly to her. The disconnect is a fatality of rotted plant waning, her heritage connection one of deep roots waxing. There are so many wonderful nurturing, feminine and woman’s claiming here to treasure.

  11. Mac Eagan says:

    This story does a fantastic job of revealing a woman’s strength. It also speaks to the strength of family. I especially liked the ending paragraph.
    I am going to guess this story was written by Kristy Webster.

  12. Parisianne Modert says:

    As I said on the announcement page…I think this will be the winning story as hinted at in Thorn’s clue words from “Mother and Child Reunion” by Paul Simon”

    “No I would not give you false hope
    On this strange and mournful day
    But the mother and child reunion
    Is only a motion away”

    • diana_SD says:

      Ooh, thanks for thinking my writing could have been Thorn’s! When he asks me to write posts, I sometimes quail at the challenge to write something clever or poignant.

  13. Julie says:

    I wanted to tell you…Mother Song was one of the two stories I voted for in this contest. Cheers and please, please keep writing!

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