He rode up on a dark horse.  So dramatic. I was sitting under an old oak tree on a blanket, sipping sweet tea and reading, my hair falling into my eyes. My parents stepped onto the porch.

“Mr. Powell – I have a question for you, but Mrs. Powell, I want you to hear this too. I love your daughter more than anything. I’d like to ask you for her hand.”

I choked on my tea as Dad shook his hand.

“Helloooooo!” I shouted. “Sean! We broke up MONTHS ago. Before I moved away.”

“But…I thought…if I asked your father…”

“So my dad is the one that gets to decide who I marry?  Not me?

Mom began to wail. “Savannah Elizabeth Powell!!  Do you want to die alone???!!!”

“You people are insane,” I declared, rising from the blanket. “I’m going inside.”

I watched my parents console Sean through the window and rolled my eyes.  I looked to the sky, reminding myself that soon I’d be on a plane, far, far away.


For Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers


33 comments on “Formalities

  1. BarbCT says:

    What a great story. The imagery evoked is perfect, down to the rolling eyes.

  2. BarbCT says:

    Reblogged this on Gallimaufry and commented:
    I love the imagery this story evokes, all the way down to the rolling eyes.

  3. LOL! Very creative! It pulled me right in! Poor Sean! She’s getting the heck out of dodge. Hahaha! Great story!

  4. luckyjc007 says:

    Thank goodness she is standing up for herself. It sounds like she has had to more than once. Good for her for planning on leaving soon. Wonderful story.

  5. Oh wow, great.
    That packed a punch from the moment its clear the guy has attachment issues and the narcissistic mother.

  6. rosemawrites says:

    love the fine details you incorporate, Jenn and most of all love your fierce character! She is courageous to choose who to love and who to marry! 🙂

  7. Joy Joyancel says:

    Great story, But I disagree with the notion that the mother is labeled narcissistic for trying to get her daughter married. More often than not, parents and children find themselves in different generations which may make their opinions / expectations about life clash. But what I know is that every parent wants the best for their child. A child is allowed to not agree with their wishes but so long as there is room for dialogue, parents and children should get a long just fine.

  8. Lynn Love says:

    Haha! Great story Jenn. Love the way you’ve twisted the usual fairy tale ending. And why do men still ask dad’s for a girl’s hand? Are we still in the middle ages, to be traded like a car or a cow? Great story 🙂

    • Jenn says:

      Exactly! When I hear women still talking about making a guy ask her dad for “permission” to get married in 2016 I just shake my head. Thank you!

      • Lynn Love says:

        I would have thought it very odd, if my husband had asked my dad for permission. Hate it when I get a letter through saying ‘Mrs G Love’ (Gareth being my husband’s name). A VERY old fashioned thing to do. I did not change my first name as well as my second when I got married!
        These conventions move on only slowly. A great read 🙂

      • Jenn says:

        I cannot stand getting mail addressed that way, as though you gave up your whole identity when you got married! Thanks again!

      • Lynn Love says:

        Absolutely! My pleasure 🙂

  9. I love the voice in this piece! You had me hooked right from “So dramatic.” Many funny twists and turns with this creative take of the prompt. I like how the parents, Sean, and Savannah all had different perspectives of the situation. There wasn’t any “bad guy.” Just people, living and breathing. Great show of that. I wonder where Savannah is going next!

  10. mandibelle16 says:

    Sean is obsessed and if her parents think she should be with him, they’re crazy too. Leaving is probably wise, as long as she can manage on her own. Great take Jenn.

    • Jenn says:

      I think her parents are the old-fashioned types that think something’s wrong if you aren’t married off by 25. Clearly, she wants a different life 🙂

      Thank you!

  11. Joan says:

    I wish I could share with you hw hard I have laughed at this, that guy must have wanted the ground to swallow him. haaaaaaa. Great one my dear

  12. Oh dear! I feel sorry for poor Sean.

  13. afairymind says:

    Great story, Jenn. She’s obviously a strong woman who knows her own mind. Hopefully Sean and her parents will accept her decision eventually. 🙂

    • Jenn says:

      Thanks so much! I think her parents will come around. I imagine it’s difficult when your kids take a drastically different path in life than you.

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