Caged

child labor
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“I know it’s only been three weeks since the roll-out but the response has been phenomenal...”  

Tonight was supposed to be date night.   As usual, Nate’s “quick work call” had lasted more than an hour.  Mary re-filled her wine glass and carried her plate into the living room, flipping on the television.  She’d gotten used to not being Nate’s first priority any longer.  He’d made a comfortable life for their family.  A gilded cage.  He didn’t know that long before his success, she’d trapped herself.  She still loved him.  She’d always love him.

The coffee-table book caught her eye.  A collection of pictures from the early 20th century.  A young girl was on the cover, forced to work long hours in a factory before she’d even entered puberty.  Mary imagined what her life would have been like had she been born during that time.  Maybe she would have gotten married when she wasn’t much older than this girl to a man she barely knew, no one caring what she actually wanted, her future already planned and assumed.  No escape.

Nate appeared in the doorway, signaling that he’d only be a minute longer.  A lie, but she nodded anyway.  Mary ran her hand over the girl’s solemn face and sighed.

For Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner

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17 thoughts on “Caged

  1. You never know what your life …”could have been” …but you can imagine while filling in the background. Sometimes you think it would have turned out better, then other times you may wonder if it would have been a lot worse.

  2. It seems to me the girl in the phot and Mary both want to escape but they are bound. Mary, I think might have a better chance to escape or bring about change, it is never to late until it is.

  3. I love how she is comparing her lonely life in the now to how it could have been should she had the kind of life of the girl in the photo. Seems she felt trapped and would have felt trapped in the other life too. Great story!

  4. The coffee table book works so well has an illustration of the main character’s situation–nicely done! You have a great consistency in all of your pieces, focusing on a woman in a challenging relationship somehow.

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