The Closer We Get


Dad was waiting at the dock. Arms folded, the chill wind rifling his steely hair, his jaw set.

Before I’d left, we’d had nothing but disagreement—each of us holding down the polar opposite on every issue. Somehow, I imagined that had changed while I was gone. He’d overcome every objection to technology and set his alarm for 2:00 am just so we could Skype twice a week. 6,500 miles between us and we had never seemed closer. But as I got close enough to read his face, I realized: we’d never been further apart.

95 words

This has been an edition of Friday Fictioneers, hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. This week’s photo courtesy Ted Strutz. To read more stories inspired by the prompt or to submit your own, click here.


  1. peterkirsch

    Methinks I smell a contentious homecoming. Nice story…and sad.

  2. Dear Karen,

    So much to read between the lines. Well layered and well written.



    1. Thanks Rochelle. I rather feel like the narrator, expecting things will bring people closer, but we remain as divided as ever. Sigh.

  3. I’d rather hoped for a homecoming like the prodigal son’s.

    1. Me too! Thanks for reading, James.

  4. Family relations are the closest and most complicated we will ever have. Great atmosphere for a frosty welcome.

  5. J Hardy Carroll

    Excellent story with a great subtle twist at the end. Wholly believable.

  6. Beautifully observed

  7. It’s a hard fact to learn as you get older – that your family (especially your parents) can hold such different views, be such different people from yourself. Well described – a masterclass in trepidation!

    1. Thanks Lynn, thanks for reading.

  8. Dale

    Why is it that when we are far apart, we feel more at ease to truly share but as soon as we are withing touching distance, the walls go up? This is sooooo true for many!
    Well done, Karen.

  9. I think that being close apart is better than being apart together… some bridges can’t be mended.

    1. I love the way you put that! Very true.

  10. Somehow, I imagined that had changed while I was gone. Putting that in the middle of the story was perfect. Did anything change? Did it stay the same? Your last sentence filled in the blanks. Well done.

  11. What a sad and disappointing realisation that must be- to be so far apart from someone so close.
    Very well written, Karen.

    1. Thanks so much, thanks for reading!

  12. some bridges are difficult to cross, some gaps can never be completely filled.
    A beautiful moon may rise, but may not appreciated in its fullness by all.

    sad and longing piece. nicely done.


    1. What a lovely comment! Thanks for reading Randy!

  13. bbryanthomas

    Distance. Skype, so near yet so far. So well told too

  14. Some things never change. Seems to me that Dad kind of likes the arguing.

  15. Funny how family is, sometimes. You can have a perfectly reasonable relationship from a distance, but as soon as you’re back home again, all the old patters pop up like you never left. You portray it so well!

  16. Things rarely change to any great extent I’ve found, especially within families. Nice story!

    1. That is true. Thanks for reading!

  17. moving – could feel the familial layers….

  18. A familiar family tale. Good one.

  19. So much hinted at in so few words. I liked what I read; I’d love to know more.

    1. 🙂 Thanks for reading JS!

  20. Some distances can never be bridged with fear holding us ransom. Nice job Karen!

  21. I guess some things never change. Nice take on the prompt 🙂

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