Monday, April 23, 2012

The Promise

www.trifectawritingchallenge.com








This week’s word is:

confidence (noun)

1 a : a feeling or consciousness of one's powers or of reliance on one's circumstances <had perfect confidence in her ability to succeed> <met the risk with brash confidence>

   b : faith or belief that one will act in a right, proper, or effective way <have confidence in a leader>

2 : the quality or state of being certain : certitude <they had every confidence of success>

3 a: a relation of trust or intimacy <took his friend into his confidence>
   c : support especially in a legislative body <vote of confidence>





The Promise
 
He sat in his wall-to-wall glass window office staring out, waiting.  Upon her entrance, he felt the bright light illuminate her lovely presence.  

He turned slowly to face her, his clenched fists stuffed inside his white coat pockets.  He wearily made contact with her fatigued but serene eyes.  He exhaled as he noticed that her cheeks had revived their faint, rosy glow beneath the strands of greying hair above her ears; she wore that familiar smile he had long missed seeing.  She had had a tough few weeks, but she finally felt strong enough to drop by after her appointment.  Between his patients and her treatment schedule, they had both looked forward to sharing a quick lunch together.  

“I’m here to take my date to lunch, even if only at the boring cafeteria,” she declared.

He returned a worn smile and said, “Let me put this chart away and we’ll be off.”

He couldn’t.  He just couldn’t tell her his morning patient’s diagnosis.  The images of that scan in his chart from the oncologist's report seared into his souring eyes.  At the appointment, he gave him his word.  He would have to honor that doctor-patient confidentiality.  Now gazing through his beautiful wife’s fragile eyes, he begged the deafening scream inside his head to cease.   As he put away the patient’s chart, he also stuffed his promise into the same envelope, and sealed it away in confidence.  He couldn’t tell which he hated more: that unforgiving Oath or his reluctant Word.

“Guess who came by earlier?” he said as casually as he could possibly sound.

“Hmmm?” she acknowledged as she wrapped her arms around his.  

 “Little Rascal,” he replied without looking at her.

“Oh,” she paused, “How’s my baby brother doing?  Staying out of trouble?”

Together they walked toward the door and into the darkening hallway.  He pulled from her clutch and put his arm around her.

“He says ‘Boo’ to his big sis,” he replied, and forcefully swallowed the rest of his thoughts.  



30 comments:

  1. Very well done example of how a secret can be hard to keep. Bravo!

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    1. When I saw the phrase, 'in confidence', the first thing I thought of was 'doctor-patient confidentiality', so I just went from there. Thank you so much!

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  2. Such a powerful emotion conveyed in such a few words. Bravo is right!
    Favorite line:
    He couldn’t tell which he hated more: that unforgiving Oath or his reluctant Word.
    Good luck!

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    1. They are both equally detestable, aren't they? And yet, he can escape neither. Thank you for your kind comments!

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    2. Your story moved me; what can I say?

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    3. Sim, you're gonna be so hooked on Trifecta! But I got stumped on a couple recently, and just got back into the game with this one. Great to have you with us!

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  3. Oh, very tense. Nicely done. Nice dilemma.

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    1. Thank you! His are tough shoes to be in, that's for sure.

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  4. Very emotional, you really got us into his struggle. Well done!

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    1. Perhaps that's why people stay away from having relatives/friends as their physicians, although in many cases that can be a really good thing, too. Thank you so much!

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  5. Yay! After writing a comment earlier, Blogger refused my identity and now the earlier comment is gone. waaah!

    I was just saying that the doctor is burdened by the conflicting duties of his roles. What a burden he has. Great job, Sandra. :-) Glad you're back.

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    1. I'm terribly sorry that happened. I checked my settings and 'anyone' should be able to respond?! Thank you, and I'm glad to be back. I have not dabbled in fiction much, so this took me way longer than I'd like to admit. I'm glad you liked it!

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  6. This was an awesome story (sad subject, but well-written). I was torn - part of me wanted him to break the rules and tell her, but the other part of me cheered him on that he had the character to stick to his oath and word.

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    1. Thank you, Janna! I, too, wonder how long he can hold out; it's so hard to keep secrets from a spouse, at least for me! Definitely a struggle for this poor guy.

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  7. Ooh painful. Secrets are hard. I wonder how she'll feel when she does find and finds out that he knew beforehand. :)

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    1. It is only a matter of time before she finds out. Hopefully she'll forgive him given his role as the physician, and the role of a husband who just went through similar heartache with her. Thank you for reading!

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  8. This post is so heavy. It's laden with sorry. Dripping! I love it. Thanks.

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    1. Thanks, Tamyka! Kind of a downer, that's for sure. But I'm so glad you liked it. (Although it's completely fictional in my head, the heartache like this in real life is likely much more than I could imagine.)

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  9. love this, very well done...

    Very real.
    Touching.
    Sad.
    Great story telling.

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    1. Thank you so much, Kim. Some prompts work with me and some just don't. At least this one went somewhere. Hope to see you at the weekend challenge!

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  10. Wow, that was a surprise. I didn't even consider the possibility that the patient whose secret he was keeping was related to her. Great entry this week.

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    1. Well, am I ever glad that you were surprised. I guess it did work! Thank you for reading my try at fiction.

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  11. Welcome back, Sandra. You build the suspense brilliantly in this one. I want to read the sequel to this. Will he tell her? Great response to the prompt.

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    1. There are a great many 'series' from other Trifectans (one of the great consequences of the 333-word limit)... dare I try one, too? I guess I'll have to see the next prompt to know! Thanks, Trifecta!

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  12. Wow, very powerful take on keeping a confidence. The last line was perfect.

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    1. Thank you, Annabelle! I should admit it was not easy squeezing into the 333-word limit... I'm glad the ending worked for you!

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  13. What a suspenseful story you've written here. It keeps you guessing and leaves you wanting more. Well done!

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    1. Thank you! Sometimes it's hard to know how much to tell and how much to leave out, but I'm thrilled that you want to see more! I sure will try.

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  14. You captured the heavy weight of keeping a confidence. Nicely done.

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  15. Thank you so much, Gal! I'm hoping the secret will be revealed at the weekend challenge!

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