#FridayFlash: Scaling Cadillac Mountain

What I Want You To Do

by Tony Noland

Her thighs had gone numb from the sitting. Her ears were numb from the words. Her eyes were numb from the world she'd been thrust into.

She'd pretended to cry, then pretended to laugh through the tears. It was what they all expected of her.

What others had expected of her... if there had been a pole star of her life, that was it.

She should have run off and gotten an abortion, given it up for adoption, anything, but she married him instead. Because it was what everyone expected. He was a man, like any other, but in her heart, she'd always wanted more.

After two more kids and the first ten years, the expectations closed in, seemingly for good. The kids grew, grew some more, then left. They went from pleasant to unpleasant to pleasant again. The dogs came, died and were replaced, one after another like shedding, smelly batteries in a transistor radio you couldn't shut off.

They changed houses twice, changed churches once. During thirty four years of marriage, she'd been on top less than a dozen times, seven of them drunken New Years Eves.

The kids were paying for the funeral. She's wanted him quietly cremated, lied and said it was his dearest wish to be scattered in Acadia National Park. She'd always wanted to go there, suggested it for a honeymoon. Climb Cadillac Mountain, take a week to do it if need be. Smell the ocean, hear the gulls, feel the cold wind on her face, see the dawning sunrise explode over the Atlantic.

But he wouldn't hear of it, not thirty four years ago, not for their tenth, twentieth or thirtieth anniversary. Why should he waste money so he could get his ass chewed by mosquitoes, and in some Maine hellhole for fuck's sake, that's what he wanted to know.

The kids split the cost of the big bronze casket three ways. She shed her tears and told everyone she needed to save every penny, that there just wasn't much. They all nodded understandingly and she was grimly happy to let them live with their own expectations.

Her fingers had gone numb from gripping her cane. Her heart was numb from thirty four years.

Ninety days. She would wait ninety days before booking the flight to Bangor. She would wait for a while.

It was what they would expect.

===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.


  1. wow. Poor woman. Hers is a sad story.

    PS: considering the general dark nature of fridayflash, did she kill him?

  2. Reminds me a little of Dorothy Parker's farewell, though far grimmer. I didn't think she killed him only because hints would have had to come so late and her existence is so passive in its pain. It's an experience in weathering, rather than dealing with her life.

  3. The story of a woman ignored and overlooked all her life. I hope she has a lovely time in Bangor :).

  4. Sad, but sweet. But at least somebody died! :)

    Great story. There's a lesson to be learned here. LIVE!

  5. This is a great picture of grim domestic survival. Some of your lines just nail it, like: "During thirty four years of marriage, she'd been on top less than a dozen times." I love that. It says a lot.

  6. It's just a pity she was such a slave to everyone else's expectations and didn't seek a life that would live up to hers.

  7. So sad that she let herself be a slave to everyone else's expectations instead of living her her dreams. Nicely done.

  8. A moving tale, Tony, well told as per your usual. It took a few minutes, then this question came: was it really just her husband that held her back from taking control of her life? If so, why did she let herself be enslaved like that? If not, would she really have found the strength (literally) to get off her ass after his death?

  9. There's more truth here than fiction, I believe - it goes on every day. Bravo, Tony.

  10. Poor woman. Every night she had to have gone to bed thinking about other possible lives she could have led, regretting that one decision.

    I'm assuming she at least has some good years left in her to enjoy life.

  11. Such a sad story, but I love the way you tell the ending with a touch of hope.

  12. Speaking as one who struggles with the expectations of others, your descriptions of the emotions are really good. I do like how she "gets her back up" there at the end. The whole story is very thought provoking actually.

    Thank you.
    Kwee Writings

  13. How sad. A life spent trying to live up to everyone else's expectations is nothing more than a trapped existence. I hope she makes her trip. At least she'll have one thing she wanted.

  14. At least time hadn't completely robbed her of her dream

  15. How many get trapped by other peoples expectations? Now she's free, and at least she's going to Bangor.

    This tells that of how one passively gives over their life to fit in with another. Sad, but the person themselves had not totally given up, but somehow waiting the expected time before going off has now been ingrained in her.

    A story that touches the truth in the reality of living.

    Well told Tony!

    Helen - from helen-scribbles.com

  16. A grim tale of survival, suggested through stark, emotionless descriptions.
    Adam B @revhappiness


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