Sunday, January 15, 2017


He woke agitated, disoriented, confused. Rushing in to his mother's bedroom, he asked, "What's happening? What's happening?" She tried to calm and soothe him but, as she approached, he turned and ran upstairs.

She followed.

On the terrace, she found him straddling the lip of the concrete wall. Life stopped, suspended, in that moment between Before and After. Fourteen floors below, the sound of traffic. Nearby, the chirp of a startled bird, then all was still and silent, a moment suspended in time.

"Carter! Please! It's all right. Don't. Let me help you."

He looked at her, wavering. Almost, he leaned in her direction. But then, he raised his hand, whether to stop her from approaching or in farewell, she never knew, and toppled from view.

from A Mother's Story, by Gloria Vanderbilt, about the suicide of her son Carter, which she witnessed.

This is for Magaly's flash fiction prompt at Real Toads:  to write something sparked by the last book we read. Carter was under medication after a painful breakup, and his mother feels he was affected adversely by it, when he woke from his nap. The conversation is approximate, just what I remember from the book.

I discover I misread the prompt: to use a line from the book as a springboard. But I am tired, so will just leave this, as it may inspire others to read the book. Smiles.


  1. Sharp prose, Sherry. The first sentence of the third paragraph made me jump. I found myself covering my mouth, trying to wipe the taste of concrete from my lips. Intense!

  2. This is tragic in presenting, your opening line affects the reader to a state of no consolation. Very dramatic.

    Much love...

  3. I think prose as this is poetry... and what a moment for a mother to witness... very strong, you should write prose more often.

  4. Oh my gods. The brevity just served to stamp the heartbreak of the mother more deeply. Life can be tragically changed in a moment. I can't imagine the pain of also being a witness to a moment like that.

  5. Splendidly done! A moment, a moment, the confusion, the tragedy...

  6. Beautifully done, Sherry. I am intrigued by this book.

  7. Rivetting! And yes, particularly the ending. You do make me want to read the book.

  8. my boys are struggling right now. this hits deep, the fear ~

  9. Wonderfully done, Sherry! Sigh.. makes me wanna go and read the book.


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