She’d Known Too

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

“Do you understand?”

Instead of answering, she stared at the partially opened door of the bedroom closet.

He leaned into view. She forced a nod.

“I don’t know what I’ll do if you don’t say something. I’ve wanted to tell you for so long.”

At that, she shot a sharp look. A look, that after eighteen years of marriage, he could read like the road signs on their street.

“There hasn’t been anyone, if that’s what you’re thinking. It’s just that…I guess I’ve always known.”

He patted her hand. A friendly pat, a brotherly pat. All along, she’d known too.

100 words

This has been an edition of Friday Fictioneers, hosted by the lovely and talented Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. This week’s photo courtesy Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. To read more stories inspired by the prompt, or to submit your own 100-word story, click here.

61 Comments

  1. Dear Karen,

    That has to be a bitter pill to swallow. Sensitively written. Love the double entendre of the closet.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    1. Thanks Rochelle. It would indeed be a difficult thing for all parties. Thank you for reading 🙂

  2. I agree, nice use of the closet. Great story, indeed.

  3. That has the lightest of touches. I admired it

    1. Thanks Neil. So glad you liked it!

  4. Honey, I have something to tell you. You know that “band practice” I’ve been going to every week?
    😉

    Great story. You really capture the tension and relief as well as the sadness and fear.

    1. Gee, that is a plot twist I didn’t see coming at all. 😉

  5. I had to read it twice to make sure I was understanding correctly. The first time, I thought maybe that they’d been married 18 years and then discovered they were blood relations. Made more sense the second time through.

    1. I can see how you’d think that. It was pretty vague, I guess.

  6. Very sensitively done. I admire her acceptance as well.

    1. Thanks for reading, Iain!

  7. This one is a gem – I love it. There is so much evoked through your 100 words. A lesson in Flash Fiction. Thanks!

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words!

  8. Very clever use of the ‘closet’ prompt and you’ve managed to convey so much in such a short story. Well done.

    Susan A Eames at
    Travel, Fiction and Photos

  9. Very impressive writing, Karen. You give us just enough detail to work out what he’s told his wife. The word ‘brotherly’ in the last line removes any ambiguity that he may be trans rather than gay.
    You’ve given his wife a fascinating character; no rage, no screams, just a frozen attention on what he’s told her. Distinctive, but very believable behaviour.

    1. Penny, you are most kind. Thanks for your careful read and thoughtful comments.

      1. Reading your work carefully is a pleasure, Karen! 🙂

  10. Sensitive and sensible piece. Very well done here, Karen.

    1. Thanks so much Varad. Thanks for reading!

  11. This is so sensitively done Karen – delicate, suggestive writing rather than bludgeoning us with the bare facts. A heartbreaking scenario. I actually used to work with a man who was in this situation, though when she found out I’m not sure his wife was so understanding. So well handle

    1. Thanks so much Lynn. I too know someone who was in this situation. I think the shock in my story may be temporary. It would be a lot to work through.

      1. Yes, wouldn’t it? after living with someone so long, having a child with them, knowing that they lied to themselves and to you for so long. Feeling betrayed would only be the half of it.

    1. Thanks so much! Thanks for reading.

  12. So well done, Karen. Sadly, this type of situation has occurfed too often. Pretending to be someone else for so long…

    1. It would be a sad thing for everyone involved, to be sure. Thanks for reading Dale.

  13. That was genius, the use of the closet so subtle I almost missed it. Really good writing.

    1. You’re so kind! Thanks for reading.

  14. A well written piece but I have so much trouble with the idea that married couples can be together 18 years and not “know” – whether their loved one is having an affair. is gay, is sick, or whatever secret he/she may be grappling with. It seems somewhat obvious that the couple’s relationship is not an intimate or trusting one. Sad.

    Randy

    1. Could be. While it was based on a true story, it isn’t my story. While they both ‘knew’ in my story, I was thinking the parties chose friendship and companionship over passion. Thanks for reading and for your feedback!

  15. The necessity to spell it out after 18 years of silent togetherness makes me wonder if this is the end of them.
    I am fascinated by the subtlety and refinement in your writing.
    Superb work.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words. I feel the same about your writing!

  16. I love the unspoken play on the photo prompt. Very well done, Karen.

    1. Thanks for reading, Sandra!

  17. Been there! I think after that long both parties usually know, it just takes one to take the plunge and broach the subject.

    1. Well said! Thanks so much for reading.

  18. We learned a lot about them in your handful of words. Excellent

    Click to read my FFfAW!

    1. Thanks for reading Keith!

  19. Understated anguish, beautifully done.

    1. Thanks so much. Glad you liked it!

  20. Eighteen years and she’s still with him? Some powerful love there.

    1. Love or friendship or something, for sure. Thanks for reading Elizabeth!

  21. bbryanthomas

    The tension aroused is wonderfully created

    1. 🙂 I’m glad you liked it. Thanks for reading.

  22. Lavanya

    That’s the most intricate flash fiction built on a web of spousal emotions I have ever read. Nicely done!

    1. Wow Lavanya, that is the nicest compliment ever. You really made my day with your kind words!

  23. peterkirsch

    Touching and, sadly, all too real. Clever girl, you.

  24. Oh dear, Karen. Like James I had to read twice and I was still confused. Then I read Josh’s comment and Penny’s and I feel out of my league. Sorry. I do see lightness in your tone, though, which is always a delight.

    1. Thanks for reading Kelvin. Always a pleasure to ‘see’ you!

      1. Now you see me now you don’t.

  25. A coming out story covering a range of emotions. Nicely done.

  26. I know of these things happen… the brotherly approach… when love is no longer love. I know of past friends where the closets had been opened after many years together… no you don’t have to see anyone… still you have to tell.

    1. Indeed 🙂 Thanks so much for reading.

  27. rachelmalik99

    Brilliant! Nothing looks immediately ‘symbolic’ but how it builds up: the closet, the signs on the street, the brotherly…

    1. So glad you liked it. Thanks for reading 🙂

  28. All the signs and all the silence.. Such a difficult situation tenderly handled.

    1. Much thanks for your kind words. Thanks for stopping by!

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