In this Life

21 May

100 words for the rest of my life.

Based on love, prompted by the photo below from Erin Leary, as a weekly submission for Friday Fictioneers. We are like birds hidden in the tree branches, singing to each other, singing to ourselves….singing because we must. Rochelle Wisoff-Fields keeps poachers at bay and waters the lawn, but doesn’t get paid enough.

Thanks, friend. It’s a peaceful place. Come and sing with us.


the next prompt2Copyright Erin Leary


He wrote to say he would arrive at the beginning of summer. She named the time and place.

He had been moving in her orbit all of his lives. She had been waiting for years.

Between the great tree where her children played many years ago and the old basalt steps that led down into the park, she let the walls of her reserve fall, then stepped over them into his arms.

He held her and let the light of a new world illuminate him. The fog was lifting, warmed by the heat of memories. She relaxed into his love.



In this Life


67 Responses to “In this Life”

  1. rochellewisoff May 21, 2014 at 10:19 am #

    Dear Doug,

    A fog is lifting as I write. I love the image of her stepping over the fallen walls of her reserve and falling into his arms. Sweet. IHN



    • dmmacilroy May 21, 2014 at 10:22 am #

      Dear Rochelle,

      You are right, it is happening now. Thank you for reading and being a good friend. I love your songs.



  2. Sandra May 21, 2014 at 10:35 am #

    A lovely tale of reunion – I got quite misty-eyed. I particularly liked ‘all of his lives’. You’ve lost none of your elegant prose Doug, so I can tell you’ve been honing your skills, though not perhaps here. Lovely to see you here again this week, something to look forward to.

    • dmmacilroy May 21, 2014 at 10:40 am #

      Dear Sandra,

      I owe you a debt of gratitude, Sandra, for your friendship and encouragement and the lovely way you tell me what I need to hear. When you see me on the lock I’ll have a good bottle of wine to share. Thank you for everything.



      • Sandra May 21, 2014 at 10:48 am #

        The pleasure’s mine – and I’m still keeping an eye out for you at the locks… 🙂

  3. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) May 21, 2014 at 11:17 am #

    Oh I read a lot unto this.. old love, an alternative end to Romeo and Juliet — definitely I get extremely curios on what stopped him the first time.

    • dmmacilroy May 21, 2014 at 11:35 am #

      Dear Bjorn,

      Thanks for reading and commenting. Chance and circumstance conspire in all our lives. Sometimes we know it, sometimes not. This is about two people who know, and who have been missing each other. Lots of layers left to the imagination.



  4. K.Z. May 21, 2014 at 11:37 am #

    it’s like the kind of love i’ve always dreamed of… one that spans lifetimes and souls. such a beautiful love story.

    • dmmacilroy May 21, 2014 at 11:47 am #

      Dear K.Z.,

      Thanks for being moved by it and saying so.



  5. Claire Fuller May 21, 2014 at 12:42 pm #

    This is very beautiful, and I love how it can be taken in some many ways – old lovers, reunited; a man who lives forever who re-appears in her life after years apart; perhaps even the death of the woman, finally together with the man she loved.

    • dmmacilroy May 21, 2014 at 2:17 pm #

      Dear Claire,

      Thank you for your thoughts on In this Life. I am gratified to know that you found it beautiful and that your were not disconcerted by its nebulous aspects. It is easy to see life through the tunnel vision of our own perspective. You’ve obviously found a way to see beyond the now and into the possible. Its a good attribute for an author.



  6. patriciaruthsusan May 21, 2014 at 12:58 pm #

    Doug, Truly a love story with many layers and a happy ending. Well done. (I made the change to my story that you suggested. Thanks.) 🙂 —Susan

  7. elmowrites May 21, 2014 at 1:23 pm #

    I am dancing on rooftops and stringing out the bunting! I knew you could do happy and hopeful! This is as haunting and eloquent as your stories always are. I loved the idea of breaking down walls and stepping over them, of multiple ‘lives’ in whatever way you meant it, and everything in between.
    Thank you for letting us see a different side; thank you for letting me nag you for it the last few weeks. 😉


    • dmmacilroy May 21, 2014 at 2:31 pm #

      Dear Jennifer,

      I am reminded of the old saw that goes like this….”Ladies, if a man says he will fix it, he will. There’s no reason to remind him about it every six months.”

      Thank you for your kind words re my story.

      Perhaps you should have added a nag to your story this week. The Wisdom of Horses. Hmmm? Do I sense a re-write in the works?

      Your wisdom is, as ever, appreciated.



      • elmowrites May 21, 2014 at 3:27 pm #

        Haha! In my defence, you never said you’d do it, but I’m very glad to see you did.
        And I take you point – with my husband away and you writing this, I had to find another place for my nags this week!

  8. wmqcolby May 21, 2014 at 1:34 pm #

    Sweet, sweet and sweet, Doug! You encapsulated a whole life experience into all that tiny space. Great take this week, sir.

    • dmmacilroy May 21, 2014 at 2:19 pm #

      Dear Kent,

      Thanks for the sweets. I love what this prompt is eliciting from everyone. Sometimes the blank slate forces us to dig deep or go out on a limb.



  9. aliciajamtaas May 21, 2014 at 3:27 pm #

    He had been moving in her orbit all of his lives. She had been waiting for years.

    There’s a great balance and counter balance in these lines – rhythmically and in the visions they conjure. The whole story portrays longing and reward. Very nice.

  10. Helena Hann-Basquiat May 21, 2014 at 3:44 pm #


    I loved the idea that these two have been ever-present in each others’ lives, and yet never connected, and now, finally, they are allowing themselves the love they deserve. Very sweet and touching, and your prose, as always, is wonderful.


  11. singleworkingmomswm May 21, 2014 at 5:40 pm #

    Lovely…every word, every image. XOXO-Kasey

    • dmmacilroy May 22, 2014 at 9:41 am #

      Dear Kasey,

      Thank you for your comment and your x’s and o’s. 🙂



  12. sustainabilitea May 21, 2014 at 7:35 pm #

    Doug, I like seeing this side of you. I love the layers and interpretations that are left for us to explore in our imaginations, all culminating in a wonderful love.


    • dmmacilroy May 22, 2014 at 9:43 am #

      Dear Janet,

      This side of me? Am I otherwise grouchy and curmudgeonly, leading to Jennifer’s desire to see me write something with a happy ending?

      Thanks for reading and commenting. See you soon.



      • sustainabilitea May 22, 2014 at 2:15 pm #

        Why would you assume that I think the opposite of writing a romantic story is being grouchy and curmudgeonly??? 🙂 Not I. But unless memory deceives my aging brain, I don’t believe this is your usual sort of story. We can discuss it in person soon.


  13. Jan Brown May 21, 2014 at 8:07 pm #

    This story is amazingly beautiful in concept and execution. I hope it is a reflection of what is happening to you and your love in real life. Mazel tov!

    • dmmacilroy May 22, 2014 at 9:47 am #

      Dear Jan,

      Thank you for your kind comment. I hope it is too.



  14. waitingforaname May 21, 2014 at 9:13 pm #

    Quite a pretty, delicate story, Doug. Read it through a couple times, to get to know your characters better and let their story sink in. So many possibilities…

    • dmmacilroy May 22, 2014 at 9:48 am #

      Dear Lisa,

      No one has ever said that anything I wrote was delicate. Thanks. A new adjective for my scrapbook.



  15. helenmidgley May 21, 2014 at 9:15 pm #

    Beautifully uplifting, but yet an ache of what could have been 🙂

    • dmmacilroy May 22, 2014 at 9:50 am #

      Dear Helen,

      I’m in Carly Simon’s camp on this one and think that things will always be coming around again. Thanks for reading and commenting.



  16. silentlyheardonce May 22, 2014 at 5:37 am #

    I enjoyed the fog lifting once the embraced. It gave the feel of love finally shining.

    • dmmacilroy May 22, 2014 at 9:51 am #

      Mmmm, thank you. I know what you mean.



  17. Lindaura Glamoura May 22, 2014 at 7:25 am #

    Oh Doug, this story is so reminiscent of my dashed dreams of an old love that was never meant to be. Worlds kept us apart forever and when it finally seemed we could be together at last, fate intervened cruelly. But that feeling of bliss in the truly loved ones arms, you have captured it perfectly.

    • dmmacilroy May 22, 2014 at 9:39 am #

      Dear Lindaura,

      I’m sorry you didn’t get the bliss of connecting in this life, but take heart, as there are others to come. Take it from one who knows.



  18. talesfromthemotherland May 22, 2014 at 4:28 pm #

    A deeply moving story, Doug, and beautifully told. “All of his lives;” I love that! I think there are many of us out there, who can connect to this story, and the bittersweet reality. This one swept me away. And so wonderful to have you back with FF!

    • dmmacilroy May 27, 2014 at 10:23 am #

      Dear Dawn,

      Thank you for welcoming me back and for the wonderful comments. This story connected with many readers and though I am surprised, I think you’re right in that there are many who find a bit of their lives in it. I appreciate your insights.



  19. patrickprinsloo May 22, 2014 at 4:52 pm #

    A beautiful story. Romance is hard to get right, but this is it. Five stars.

    • dmmacilroy May 27, 2014 at 10:25 am #

      Dear Mr. Prinsloo,

      Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn every now and then, but thank you. This one was from the heart.



  20. atrm61 May 23, 2014 at 2:06 pm #

    How eloquent and I am such a sucker for love stories!This was simply beautiful!Superb writing 🙂

    • dmmacilroy May 27, 2014 at 10:26 am #

      Dear Atrm61,

      I’m glad to know In this Life resonated with you. Feedback like yours keeps my inkwell full. Thank you.



  21. unspywriter May 23, 2014 at 5:44 pm #

    I, too, am glad to see you back here again, and what a wonderful, lovely story. Brought a tear to this jaded eye. Well done.

    Here’s mine:

    • dmmacilroy May 27, 2014 at 10:28 am #

      Dear Maggie,

      You, jaded? No way! Thanks for welcoming me back and for the fine comments. I appreciate it. I loved your story this week, too.



  22. Dreamer of Dreams May 23, 2014 at 5:49 pm #

    Such a tender, beautiful story — so hopeful, so free from bitterness or sorrow, and yet pregnant with past loss and present gain!
    Lovely story!

    • dmmacilroy May 27, 2014 at 10:31 am #

      Dear DoD,

      It is gratifying to see that you were able to read between the lines and see what was real about the story. Thank you for your kind comments.



  23. erinleary May 23, 2014 at 5:51 pm #

    Your story transcends time and lifts love up to a new plane. I wish them both well. I appreciate the tribute your words pay to my photograph.

    • dmmacilroy May 27, 2014 at 10:31 am #

      Dear Erin,

      And your picture evoked it. Nice trade, and thank you for it.



  24. Amy Reese May 23, 2014 at 9:36 pm #

    Such a romantic you are, Doug. This was lovely and filled with such tenderness. How could she not fall into his arms? Gracefully written.

    • dmmacilroy May 27, 2014 at 10:33 am #

      Dear Amy,

      Romantic? Me?

      Thanks for liking it and saying so. I appreciate you looking in.



  25. Dee May 24, 2014 at 7:54 am #

    Dear Doug

    This is just so beautiful.

    I think you have captured that moment when longing is finally rewarded. Your line … ‘she let the walls of her reserve fall,and stepped over them…’ tells their story.

    I always look for you here and enjoy your writing, whatever genre you choose.

    Take care


    • dmmacilroy May 27, 2014 at 10:35 am #

      Dear Dee,

      I am fortunate to have a person like you reading and commenting on my tiny stories. Can’t tell you how much your comment means to me. (But, I’ll try.)



  26. siobhanmcnamara May 24, 2014 at 9:12 am #

    Life is full of missed opportunities but your characters have realised this before it is too late. Lovely story that gently encapsulates lifetimes without needing any further detail.

    • dmmacilroy May 27, 2014 at 10:36 am #

      Dear Siobahn,

      Your eyes see deep into the reflecting pool that is my story. Thanks for taking the time to read it and to comment so kindly.



  27. MythRider May 24, 2014 at 2:25 pm #

    Beautiful. Romantic. Satisfying.

    • dmmacilroy May 27, 2014 at 10:38 am #

      Dear Phyllis,

      BRS. New acronym for me. Thank you very much.



      • MythRider May 27, 2014 at 9:51 pm #

        Ah funny. ;0)

  28. storydivamg May 24, 2014 at 8:24 pm #

    I especially like: “He had been moving in her orbit all of his lives.” Something more beautiful happens in a love story when the road to “ever after” is long. I also appreciate that although you hint at arduous you don’t belabor the point. This one is carefully balanced. Well done.

    All my best,
    Marie Gail

    • dmmacilroy May 27, 2014 at 10:43 am #

      Dear Marie,

      Thank you for being so detailed and insightful in your comments re In this Life. The writing of it was a balancing act, to be sure. I’m happy the rhythm I strove to establish carried through into your heart.

      Mahalo and Aloha,


  29. lingeringvisions by Dawn May 25, 2014 at 12:19 am #

    “He had been moving in her orbit all of his lives”….for some reason this makes my heart hurt. Perhaps it is too close to home.
    Oh great now you’ve gone and made me melancholy.

    • dmmacilroy May 27, 2014 at 11:03 am #

      Dear Dawn,

      If it is any comfort to you, please know that I make myself melancholy sometimes. Stay strong for yourself and remain hopeful and open to the possibility that anything is possible. Thanks for reading.



  30. rgayer55 May 25, 2014 at 1:33 pm #

    Who says a grumpy old curmudgeon can’t write romance? Once again, you have all the ladies heads spinning with your sweet singing, Mr. Siren.

    • dmmacilroy May 27, 2014 at 10:47 am #

      Dear Mr. Grumpy,

      I managed to stumble into Blind Squirrel territory with this one. But thanks for making me sound good. I’ll run with it.



  31. Sarah Ann May 25, 2014 at 5:00 pm #

    ‘…she let the walls of her reserve fall…’ is such an evocative line. This is beautiful in mood and execution.

    • dmmacilroy May 27, 2014 at 10:50 am #

      Dear Sarah-Ann,

      Thank you for your kind comments. It is nice to know some of my arrows hit their mark.



  32. nightlake May 26, 2014 at 8:30 am #

    A tale of love that ‘lives’ after death. a sweet story

    • dmmacilroy May 27, 2014 at 10:52 am #

      Dear Nightlake,

      And a sweet comment, too. Thank you.



  33. JustDeb May 27, 2014 at 2:21 pm #

    I loved it, reread it, love it more! I am living it and it is the sweetest and most satisfying thing I have ever experienced. At our age the romance comes in many different ways. Thanks for this!
    Now that I have read all the comments, I must go back and read the grumpy, curmudgeon stories.

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