The Time Before: Prosery

It’s difficult now to remember the time before. Before war, before I knew the evil that humans can inflict–when my worries consisted merely of studying and passing exams. I was determined to prove that I was as brilliant as any man, smarter, in fact. But that day, the dandelion sun glowed, white seed clouds drifted in the azure sky, and reflections floated languidly on the river. Laura begged me to join the rest of the group for a picnic, and I’d agreed, even as she threatened me with the admonition, “and bring no book, for this one day, we’ll give to idleness.” How young and carefree we were, lolling on the grass like the figures in an Impressionist painting, but all clothed. Or mostly.

Laura, Keith, John—all of them gone, victims of war. And I’m left, still searching for answers.

And revenge.

A flash fiction piece for dVerse, Monday where Ingrid asks us to use the lines:

“And bring no book, for this one day
We’ll give to idleness”
— William Wordsworth, “Lines Written at a Small Distance from my House”

My spy series doesn’t seem to follow any order, but we’ll just say this is a part of it.

I couldn’t resist adding these photos from Grounds for Sculpture that recreate Edouard Manet’s “Le Dejeuner sur l’herbe” (1863).

87 thoughts on “The Time Before: Prosery

  1. I love the little details that twist and turn this flash fiction in so many different directions: ‘the dandelion sun’, the nostalgia and regret, the ‘mostly’ clothed picnickers, and of course, the desire for revenge!

  2. Nice meld of happy and sad carefree and cluttered. There should be a serial to this since you ended on a note of revenge. Where will that chapter take us

    Happy you dropped by to read mine

    Much love…

  3. I’m always so happy to see a new entry in the spy series. This had such a lovely, lanquid feel to it–until revenge! Just as an aside, my brother had a poster of “Le Dejeuner sur l’herbe” on his bedroom wall when we were in high school.

  4. While others are focusing on your imPeccable Prosery, I’m fixated on the Manet painting, which has always fascinated me. It reminds me of some “scenes” I beheld in a memoir I read recently, Fifty Dates After Fifty, a glimpse into the erotic.

  5. Enjoyed your beautiful prose, such as the description of t’he dandelion sun” 🌻☀️🌻 And your photographs are great, definitely added to the atmosphere of idleness in this! 👏👏

  6. The ending! I read innocently until I approached the end,which had me thinking on the lines of a quick paced crime thriller… 🔪🔪🔫 you could have given her a teeny, tiny bit of revenge… 😉

  7. “the dandelion sun glowed, white seed clouds drifted in the azure sky, and reflections floated languidly on the river” This image of the dandelion sun…and then following on the metaphor of a dandelion, with its seeds that blow and float in the air when it is spent and dried. Brilliant.
    The twist at the end is heartbreaking….aching…and then the hard slap in the face with the desire for revenge.
    Excellent jump from the quotation!

  8. As always, I’m sinking into your words, your prosery, and the evocative scene of it all. At the start, I thought “Yes, I was like that too!” – those times in college when the biggest worry was papers and studying and date nights. Never had picnics in the nude, though. But as your story unfolded, I felt the sadness of the loss of innocence, and the pain of loss of life, and the destruction of what we humans do, making war.

Leave a Reply

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

You are commenting using your 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.