The worst part is when he cocks his head so that their eyes meet and he wonders, even before she answers him, if he has already asked. For a moment, an illusory burst of hope seizing her naive heart, she thinks that maybe it is reversible; maybe he is going to snap out of it.

Then she snaps out of it instead, just in time to hear him ask, for the eleventh time, “So, are you teaching the kids German?”

“Yes, Dad, as much as possible,” she says.

“Well good,” he nods approvingly, “good.”

And though she feels it acutely, like a dagger permanently lodged in her soul, he does not; he has no recollection of what he has lost.

“Francesca” is a response to Lillie McFerrin’s “Five-Sentence Fiction,” and this week’s word, “lost.” Visit her site by clicking on the icon above, where you can enter your own five-sentences and read the clever, moving, creative submissions of other writers.


27 thoughts on “Francesca

  1. Wow! So powerful and tragic. See how good you are at this? This could be the start of a longer story, novella or even a book. That’s what I love about these flash fiction pieces. You never know where they’re going to take you. And now I have to get back to my bill-paying job. 🙁 Hope to get to write something soon.

    1. Thank you, Jayne–I am finding these prompts so “opening” and inspirational. The exercise of writing succinctly, re-reading, editing, honing…forces me to work hard; even if only for a short time. I am grateful you introduced this to me!

    1. I think, in most ways, Alzheimer’s is saddest for those it leaves behind. But I have to wonder how many of these “aware” moments there are, and just how much pain they cause the victim.

  2. This is so sad. Beautiful and tragic. I lost my grandmother to Alzheimer’s and remember some of those lucid moments and how they dwindled away as the disease progressed.

    1. I’m sorry for your loss, Cara. It is so painful to see them slip away to such a thieving disease. Thanks for visiting.

    1. Thank you Chelle. It’s interesting how hope often has a life of its own. I appreciate you stopping in to read my post.

  3. Thanks for the comment on my story. I love everyone’s different take on the one word – LOST.
    Your story is so poignant and not knowing anyone close who suffers I can only imagine how hard it must be to have to keep repeating the same things over and over again. You’ve captured the emotions beautifully.

    1. Sarah – I love doing these too, and reading the varied submissions. I am glad you have not had to experience this disease up close, and I pray that you never do! It is very difficult to see those I love slip away. Thank you for your support and big heart.

  4. Wow. Heartbreaking and tragic. I don’t even know what to say – Alzheimer’s is such a horrible thing, and you’ve portrayed it so well. Good job.

    1. Thank you Matt. At times it is indescribable. I’m actually grateful for the prompt, since it allowed me to unexpectedly express a difficult concept succinctly. I appreciate you stopping by to read and comment.

  5. Well that hit the mark! I’m watching my mother through this…and every word you wrote resonated…heartbreaking, and so much more so because she truly has no idea, just an inkling that something’s wrong. Frustrating and intensely painful…
    Beautifully written.

    1. Lisa, thank you for visiting and for responding so openly. I ache for you, and wish you strength and grace for the journey.

  6. Sad and bittersweet story. My life has been touched in many ways as well. A dear friend (a beautiful, once famous singer) has been in a nursing home for three years …locked in her own horrible, incurable prison. Difficult to visit because her voice has been silenced (both speaking and singing).

    1. Oh the poor dear–a singer who can no longer express herself. That must be very difficult–though perhaps if she is not aware of the loss, it is less painful for her. And hopefully she is singing inside. I am sorry for your own pain…the losses of friends/family to this disease.

      Thank you for your visit.

  7. Britton, in a few sentences you’ve managed to convey such a poignant and sad story! Truly this demonstrates how you master the written word. I think anyone who has a family member or loved one suffering from this disease has wondered or hoped that they will snap out it; be like they were before. Sadly, this isn’t the case. Beautiful writing, lady.

  8. Such a realistic picture of a true loss. It’s a horrible thing to watch a person go through, like a new loss each day when there’s that tiny spark of hope every now and then. Lovely writing!!!

    1. Thank you, Lillie – This discipline of five sentences each week is sparking so many other thoughts, opening gateways that remind me of how I feel when I write using only magnetic words. Ironically, the limits lead to bigger things!

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