A Woman’s Vows

14 Jan

Here follows my late submission (Still Friday, though) to FridayFictioneers. Madison Woods hosts, organizes and prods the thing. The link to all the stories is here. They’re very good and I’m thankful to be included with such imaginative folks.  http://madisonwoods.wordpress.com/flash-fiction/january-13-2011-100words/ There’s a picture prompt for each story and it is shown below. Thanks for reading and commenting. Please feel free to critique my work. Have to learn somehow. Aloha, D.

The canopy of the oak rustled in the wind as Alex carved on the tree for the second and last time. The green leaves and blue sky formed a shifting mosaic through which sunlight streamed down to dapple the forest floor. Open sky up there, he thought, and halcyon days on the horizon.

They found him there weeks later amid the forest’s rot and genesis. A knife was driven deep between faint initials in the center of a heart shaped scar on the trunk. Below it, stark white in the sapwood, the words, ‘A woman’s vows I write upon the waves.’

37 Responses to “A Woman’s Vows”

  1. Lindaura Glamoura January 14, 2012 at 11:06 am #

    Oh my goodness, this was a bit more oblique than usual. Did you create that quote: “A Woman’s vows I write upon the waves”? Certainly a cruel take on the old, meet me at the tree in one year’s time…

    Well, gone with the waves, I say…

  2. Carlos Repuesto de la Tabla January 14, 2012 at 12:03 pm #

    Hi Doug, glad you’re here. You and Madison gone missing at the same time… hmm… good thing this isn’t Entertainment News. Your story was just gorgeously written. Your writing knocks me out week after week, elegant, clear, perfectly flowing; you have an exceptional talent or skill or whatever it is. So there, I’ve said it.
    Now, it’s that last line again, not sure what it meant! Still, not a tone change like last week. Maybe it comes down to the word “waves,” or maybe the whole sentence “A woman’s vows I write upon the waves.” Anyway, I didn’t get it, but I didn’t mind much because it was so nicely written and a pleasure to read.

    • dmmacilroy January 14, 2012 at 12:21 pm #

      Hi Carlos and Lindaura,

      The last sentence is an old adage that speaks to the longevity of a woman’s promises. Imagine writing anything upon waves; the words are gone before they’re ever formed. The very definition of transient or insubstantial. My tree carver is making a statement about a woman he was close to for a long time, last word and testament, so to speak.

      Thanks for reading and for the kind comments. The best drug…



  3. Carlos Repuesto de la Tabla January 14, 2012 at 12:12 pm #

    By the way, I just read your highly appreciated comment on mine: thank you! Hadn’t read it when I wrote my elaborate compliments on your writing, therefore mine were not reciprocal, just heartfelt.

  4. Caerlynn Nash January 14, 2012 at 1:44 pm #

    I like your starting description. You put me right at that oak tree right away. Nice job!

    • dmmacilroy January 14, 2012 at 1:47 pm #

      Dear Caerlynn,

      Thanks for stopping in to read my late entry. I spent a lot of time finding the right intro. Thanks for noticing and welcome aboard!



  5. susielindau January 14, 2012 at 2:31 pm #

    This gave me shivers. An engraved suicide note….Excellent!

    • dmmacilroy January 14, 2012 at 2:53 pm #

      Hi Susie,

      Thanks for stopping in and saying hello. You’re on the hot seat next, right? Many mahalo’s to you for that.



  6. Jan Morrill January 14, 2012 at 2:48 pm #

    “The green leaves and blue sky formed a shifting mosaic through which sunlight streamed down to dapple the forest floor.”

    I have described sunlight coming through trees in some of my past stories, but never so beautifully. It’s clear you have lain beneath a tree and gazed up at the sky before. Yours was one of those sentences I love to read over and over.

    I did “get” the last line, perhaps because I have been one of those women whose vow was “written on waves.”

    Poignant, beautiful and WELL worth the wait, Doug.

    • dmmacilroy January 14, 2012 at 2:59 pm #

      Dear Jan,

      Thank you for you heartfelt compliments. On film, Terence Malick gets the sunlight through the trees right. It is devilishly hard to describe though, don’t you think?

      That adage is unkind to some and true for others, but most assuredly so for people like Alex (and, as you might have guessed, myself.) The world keeps turning, though, and acorns become forests and firewood, ships and shipworms.

      I really appreciate you taking the time to write such a personal and detailed comment. I’ll be sure to pay it forward.



  7. Mike January 14, 2012 at 2:53 pm #

    A great story Doug.

    I got the image of Alex returning to his/their special tree to make one last carving, following their initial pledge of love many years before. Only the words, “A womans’ vows I write upon the waves” say to me that she was not faithful, her promises got washed away too easily. So he has come to end his life.

    As you can see your 100 words spoke volumes to me.

    • dmmacilroy January 14, 2012 at 3:03 pm #

      Dear Mike,

      And that’s how it goes sometimes. eh?

      Thanks for taking the time to write such an detailed and cogent comment. I live and die by them and appreciate it more than you know.



  8. Siobhan Muir January 14, 2012 at 4:01 pm #

    The first paragraph brought me into the forest with the character and held me beneath the “shifting mosaic through which sunlight streamed.” Well done, Doug. 🙂

    • dmmacilroy January 14, 2012 at 6:29 pm #

      Dear Siobhan,

      I’m glad you found yourself in the forest right away. I did not until I found the right combination of words. This story took the better part of a day to get right. Thanks for telling me you enjoyed it.



  9. bridgesareforburning January 14, 2012 at 4:21 pm #

    A really beautiful piece. I loved the second sentence especially, but the whole thing just has an elegant cast to it. Poetic .And who can’t relate to the premise of love gone bad? I think this one is a ten. Aloha and thanks.

    • dmmacilroy January 14, 2012 at 6:31 pm #

      Dear Ron,

      Thank you for the feedback. A ten from you has me choppin’ in tall cotton. Love gone bad might just be a specialty of mine. Mahalo plenty!

      A Hui Hou,


  10. elmowrites January 14, 2012 at 5:02 pm #

    Hi Doug!

    Fantastic prose as ever – I can’t believe no-one has commented on the “rot and genesis” image – that really caught me perfectly. Beautiful.
    At the risk of being boring and factual, I’m pretty sure trees grow from the top not the bottom, so the old heart doesn’t have to be “high on the trunk”, but on the other hand why not? Perhaps the young lovers were sitting on a branch when they carved it.
    Either way, this was poignant and delightful by turns. I hope my vows are carved in a tree trunk, not on the waves.

    • dmmacilroy January 14, 2012 at 6:40 pm #

      Hi Jen,

      Thanks for your thoughts and kind words. Please know that you are never at risk of being boring when raising a point for discussion. I live and die by these comments and love constructive criticism. Please, please, please always yield to temptation and open up on me with questions or observations. Thanks. I’m going to figure out a way to insert a picture and send it to you. Stay tuned re trees growth.

      Aloha for now (and always!)


    • dmmacilroy January 14, 2012 at 7:11 pm #

      Hi Jen,

      That’s why Google was invented. I’ve just returned rom the the land of ‘You learn something new every day’ and you are right. I’ve edited accordingly and can’t thank you enough for your keen eyes.



  11. Robin Hawke January 14, 2012 at 5:12 pm #

    Loved the mood, the words. Loved, Robin

    • dmmacilroy January 14, 2012 at 6:41 pm #

      Thanks Robin. And I, yours.



  12. Susan Wenzel (@SusanWenzel) January 14, 2012 at 6:03 pm #

    Dear Doug,

    I couldn’t help but notice your reference to the genesis of the forest. The seed is emblematic of this perpetual change. And, I enjoyed the symbolism of the levels of commitment between the two persons – his words were carved in wood and hers flitted away with nary a second thought.

    Have a lovely week,

    • dmmacilroy January 14, 2012 at 6:44 pm #

      Dear Susan,

      This simple piece took me so long and tugged at my heart in the writing. That you saw what I struggled so to get right is gratifying. Thanks for seeing.

      You have a good week, too.



  13. Caely January 14, 2012 at 7:53 pm #

    Dear D,

    I have missed your words, as well as your stories.
    What lovely way to describe things (especially the leaves and sky and the genesis thing). Your kind of description always make me wonder how you would describe everything I see and that inspires me tremendously. It makes me smile, every time.

    Here’s mine -> http://wp.me/uGD7

    I hope you are well, friend.


  14. kdmccrite January 14, 2012 at 11:15 pm #

    Hi Doug

    I don’t know what to add to the words that have already been offered here. This was, as always, a beautifully written piece. You have a rare talent, and I think everyone here would agree with me. Continue to be faithful to your gift, and rest assured your words to the world will not be written on waves.


  15. Quill Shiv January 15, 2012 at 12:23 am #

    I’d never heard that adage, but it is striking. I truly enjoyed this drabble. There was just enough revealed and enough concealed. i cannot wait to read more of your work!

    The link to my drabble this week is here: It’s hard being the black sheep of the family…or in this case, the acorn. great job!

  16. parul January 15, 2012 at 5:33 am #

    I loved this.. “The green leaves and blue sky formed a shifting mosaic through which sunlight streamed down to dapple the forest floor” is beautiful…
    Great play of words… beautiful!

    • dmmacilroy January 15, 2012 at 8:28 am #

      Dear Parul,

      Many thanks for your kind comments. Am I to understand you were busy and could not contribute this week? If I’m wrong, send me a link. If not, I hope to see you next Friday.



  17. eliserae January 16, 2012 at 7:36 am #

    That last line makes me want to write poetry. It is a very inspiring little drabble. 🙂

    • dmmacilroy January 16, 2012 at 7:50 am #

      Thanks Elise,

      The three toed tree toad
      Sings his sweet ode
      To the moon.



  18. Russell January 16, 2012 at 2:32 pm #

    I was happy to log in and see you posted a story this week. I checked you blog a couple of times Friday.

    You sent me running for the dictionary. Now, I can say I learned a new word – halcyon. Great story, and thank you for the kind words regarding mine.

    • dmmacilroy January 18, 2012 at 11:50 pm #

      Dear Russell,

      Glad to keep you hopping re Halcyon days. Lovely word, isn’t it?

      Thanks for stopping in. That story took me a while and I ended up late. Won’t happen this week. I promise.



  19. The Lime January 17, 2012 at 3:21 pm #

    Thank you, Doug, for the reading and writing. I hope his journey was gentle and that they meet again.

    • dmmacilroy January 18, 2012 at 11:53 pm #

      Hi Lime!

      Gentle as an ending like that can be, I suppose. In the forest, starting a new life and ending a painful one.

      Hard telling, not knowing.



  20. Sonia Lal January 18, 2012 at 5:30 pm #

    How did he die? Poor thing.

    • dmmacilroy January 18, 2012 at 11:54 pm #

      Dear Sonia,

      Like many men in similar situations, he died quietly and alone, from the unendurable pain of a broken heart.



  21. rochellewisoff January 13, 2014 at 2:24 pm #

    Dear Doug,

    Given different circumstances, the same could be written of a man’s vows, couldn’t they? YKWIMILYVVMIAMAPW

    Kia Ora, Shalom and Aloha,


Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: