Under a New Light

lanterns-xian-chinadimtry-b-flickr

Photo credit: Dimitry B.



The marriage ceremonies done, Perrana sat to the side, watching.  Families, neighbors, living real lives, being real people, laughing and dancing under the red lanterns.

When they looked at him, they saw a clerical robe, a title.  A thing, like a horse, or a sign that talked.  He would leave tomorrow.  Why learn his name?

He searched the revelers for someone who looked like her.  There often was one.  Sometimes one for him, too.  Someday he might marry an almost-her to a not-quite-him, a closing act for that tattered dream.

But no, no almost-her this time.  Other types.  They blurred, one village to another.  Quiet farmer.  Gruff blacksmith.  Bragging grandmother.

A woman approached.  Soup wife, he guessed, asking blessings for her children.

“Brother Perrana?”  Her voice rang sweet.  She knew his name.

“Can I help you?”

“You looked lonely.  Do you dance?” She held out her hand, met his eyes, saw him.

When had he last danced?  A lifetime ago.

Time for a new lifetime.  Perhaps with a not-her.

He stood, took her hand.  “Yes.”



Word count: 175.  Written for this week’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge.  Big thanks to Priceless Joy for hosting, and for Gina at Singledust for providing the original prompt photo, below:

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Photo © Gina at Singledust



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33 thoughts on “Under a New Light

  1. 175! Do you think the word count, the demands of that tiny a space, affected your sentence structure here (consciously or otherwise)? I’m curious, as I don’t recall you writing such simple (not bad simple!) sentences like that. I should read more to say with more certainty, but what do you think? I like the economy and simplicity of those short sentences; it often builds tension for me, probably others. Maybe mimicking the character’s own.

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    • I’d say that yes, of course the word restrictions affect my writing. For the better, I think. If you have the chance, go back to look through my blog: most of the stories I post are 100, 175, or 200 words long (as those are the word limits for the three challenges I participate in most frequently). The idea is that by training myself to be more succinct in this context, I will be better at cutting back words in longer works; better at getting straight to the point, and zooming in on what can be cut.

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      • That makes sense, it’s a good discipline. I will go back, and peruse. (The battery on my MacBook has been going and the fan, running hot. So I get a good 20 minutes before it needs to rest. I’ve been writing to meet that restriction just for kicks!)

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      • Another good thing about writing such short flash fiction is that it’s really fast to read — so it’s perfect for those people who only have 20 minutes at a time. 😉

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  2. This is a sweet tale. Finding hope at another’s joyful celebration. I feel inspired that true love does exist. Coincidentally many couples like to take wedding shots near and around this spot for a traditional look.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad it inspired you — it’s nice to bring a little sweetness into someone else’s day. 🙂 It makes sense that the place in your photo is used as a traditional background for wedding shots; it has such a festive look to it. Thanks so much for commenting!

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    • I think you’re right — the “one that got away” can be hard to get over, maybe because they become so perfect in your eyes that everyone else fades by comparison. Hopefully he is ready to move on now, and is open to seeing someone with fresh eyes. Thanks for your comment!

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  3. I love the use of ‘not-her’ and ‘almost-her’ as the terms really drive home the way Perrana is pining over a lost love. You have depicted his character so well in this short piece. I hope this sad and lonely man can find love again with the not-hers who loved to dance. Beautifully written, Joy.

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