11 May 2012

Friday Flash: "Carving"


"Carving"
by Jen Brubacher

Daisy vaguely remembered the scent of pine, thick and sharp, and the sound of grasshoppers buzzing in long grass. But when the topic first love came up anywhere, for the rest of her life, what burst forward in her mind with the most intensity was the hot pain of wood slivers beneath her fingernails, and blood running down to her wrists.

“It has to be forever,” Larry Boy said, and at the time it was the most romantic thing she’d ever heard. He didn’t just want to kiss her, he wanted to kiss her forever. They would be together forever. For a twelve year old girl forever meant that everything bad she’d ever experienced would never happen again. Forever meant it was real.

Daisy came to despise forever. But on that day it was a caress. So she nodded and set her fingers to the tree. Larry had already smacked at the bark with his shoe until they had a smooth grey trunk, and there they would set their initials down for good.

“You first,” he said.

The bark had been soft, almost wet. The trunk was not. Daisy dug her thumbnail into the wood and felt it give only just, unyielding with age and the experience of being a tree. Her young girl nails were nothing. She was determined. She used both hands, digging hard, gritting teeth. Teeth might have been a more useful tool. Her fingernails produced minor results before she started to bleed.

“Ow,” she said, and sucked at her fingers. The ends of a dozen splinters touched her tongue.

Larry looked horrified.

“Your turn?” Daisy offered.

But then he didn’t want to kiss her once, let alone forever.


Photo: Two Trees by Dave Pearson on flickr

16 comments:

  1. Well, I hope Daisy knows she's much better off with Larry Boy. What kind of panty-waste lets a few splinters get in the way of a kiss?

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  2. OUCH! At first I thought the slivers of wood under the fingernails meant she was being tortured.

    I think he should have gone first.

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    Replies
    1. She probably won't make that mistake again.

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  3. Haha, turned around the creepiness there. Definitely should have gone first.

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  4. Lovely images here. The tree's getting back is a nice touch as well as how quickly forever disappears.

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  5. There's a great physicality in this piece, and something perhaps a bit Freudian going on with the tree..Lovely depiction of the trials of early adolescence.

    Dump him .. that's what I say. He's a woose!

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    Replies
    1. There's certainly something going on with that tree. Actually this was originally the start of a longer piece about a Dryad that latches onto a girl for her lifetime.

      I'd dump him.

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  6. I too thought there was going to be a torture aspect and was horrified but also intrigued. I like the direction it veered though! I especially enjoyed the character's initial musings on first love. It read like a visceral memory.

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    1. I admit I hadn't considered that the start of this story could seem so ominous. I'd like to take credit anyway, and I'm glad I could veer the story somewhere you enjoyed more!

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  7. I liked the permanence of the tree compared to the impermanence of tween love. Strong imagery.
    Adam B @revhappiness

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  8. Like a reverse Gift of the Magi, you make the reader really feel for Daisy - here's hoping she has better luck when she's grown up. Older men, I always say.

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    Replies
    1. "Older men, I always say."

      Ha! You might be on to something. I think Larry Boy wasn't half ready for her.

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Thanks for taking the time to comment. Discussions are always welcome.

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