Thursday, March 21, 2013

The White Lie

It's my favorite time of the month: Dude Write Flash Fiction!  This month's prompt is an image given by Joe Cawley:

"Bride", an image by Nicholas Hayward

Here's my take.  Weighing in at exactly 500 words, here's "The White Lie":

*   *   * 
There was a brief moment, there in the woods, that almost made her laugh.

Tears -- and now sweat -- were streaming down her face.  Her legs ached, begging her to stop running.  Her lungs burned, screaming for her to loosen her dress and walk back to the church, where, in her sister's purse, her inhaler was sitting as idly as all her family and friends.
And through all of this not-just-physical pain, she wanted to laugh at how silly it was that she was instinctively holding up her dress.

None of it mattered, of course, once she found out that he had ran.

But she still unconsciously held up the dress, not wanting to expose it to the crumpled leaves, dangling branches, and dirt of the woods.  She needed to preserve the iridescent white that she had marveled at only an hour before.

But why?  What did it matter now that it was all over?

She hadn't seen it coming.  There was this unspoken communication between them.  One where she said untruths, made everything seem like it was okay.  And he saw through the untruths and loved her anyway.  Unconditionally.  Even when it took two tries to get her to agree to marry him.

She hadn't been sure.  Not until this moment, in the woods.

But why had he ran?  He was always so sure.  Perpetually sure.

She stopped running.  

Bending over, she put her hands on her knees and began violently retching.  Through her tears, she saw that some of the vomit got onto her dress. 

That is when she started laughing.

Her violent, soul-shaking laughter echoed throughout the empty woods.

How hard she had tried to keep things clean.  To maintain the image that her life was this pure, ivory white.  To build a relationship that relied on a man's unyielding love to disregard her own fabrication of sanity.  To hold up her wedding dress in the woods, not for the purposes of making running easier, but so that if she ever caught up to him, she would be able to maintain the white lie.

The laughter stopped as quickly as it came, and she crumpled to the ground, realizing that it was useless.  Since she met him, she had never been able to catch up to him emotionally.  What made her think that she'd be able to catch up to him now, in a footrace through the woods? 

She knew that he must have been so far away by now, happier and more relieved with every step he took away from her and the muddied dress that now defined her.

She missed him desperately as she envisioned him taking his first step to a million possible new lives.  All of them, free of her.

Of all the countless places that she saw him, however, the one place she didn't consider was the church, where he was still standing, holding the flowers that her sister had seen him dash into the woods to pick before the ceremony.

-Youngman Brown

Head on over to Dude Write to check out the other entries, and come back on March 23rd to vote for your favorite!

Dude Write


  1. Ha, that was a great ending. Not what I was expecting. Also, I think a puked-on dress is every bride's worst nightmare.

  2. that b*tch crazy.
    great flash fiction story.

    Breakfast After 10

  3. Very good. Loved the end. I wish I had run away from the church and escaped marriage, but then I wouldn't have my kids and I'm rather fond of them.


  4. I like stories that make me want to know more, and knowing I won't makes me like them even more. Thanks for this one!

  5. Ha, nice twist, sir. Just goes to show - never get women flowers, something is just bound to go wrong!

    Another thing I must add - you and I weren't so different in our approach to this month's prompt. Great minds, or something like that.

  6. That was awesome. Some of the words you chose painted a vivid picture. Your comparison of the inhaler to her friends and family immediately warmed me to the subtleties you would treat us to in such a short time.

    I'm almost afraid to finish mine now. It will be part of my Saturday ritual.


  7. That was awesome. I'll be sharing this one.

  8. Fantastic. There were so many great phrases. This was one of my favorites, "To hold up her wedding dress in the woods, not for the purposes of making running easier, but so that if she ever caught up to him, she would be able to maintain the white lie."

    I was surprised by the end, that he was still there, but even though he was, it was inevitable that she would wreck things anyway, because she was just too messed up, even though he was so naively hopeful. And, see, I got so much out of those meager 500 words! So well done :)


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