"Without Her" by Heather McLeod — Our March 2019 Gold Medal Winner

by - Wednesday, May 08, 2019

We are so pleased to announce the winner of our eleventh write prompt challenge! Congratulations to Heather McLeod for writing a story our judges connected to!

What the judges had to say:

"A relatable and human story. Tight and conflicting, the relationships here were visceral, deep, and touching."

"The story has a strong, believable arc from adolescence to independence to loss." 

"Good descriptions of the emotional tensions between the mother and daughter. The parent/child relationship is a universal subject most people can relate to."


Meet Heather:

Heather McLeod currently lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with her partner and their three sons.  She currently makes ends meet as an educator, writing in any and all of the spare time she can find.  She is working on a novel and a collection of short stories.

The photo prompt:

 an excerpt:

Without Her

by Heather McLeod

Even I could see that the dog had more than a few extra pounds to lose but, who was I to give him that sort of unsolicited advice?  Too many years of living with my mother had made me immune to even the most subtle suggestions of self betterment and I had long since promised myself  that I would not grow up to be like her.

She would have freaked out if she saw us sitting here; the damp earth soaking slowly up through the denim fabric of my jeans.  Her freak out would be silent, a kind of inner battle, that would move slowly across her face, starting at her lips and ending up in her forehead where it would writhe a while before finally disappearing into her hairline.  No words accompanied this dance – and to be honest, they weren’t needed. Her body had this way of spelling out exactly what she was thinking. The way her eyes threatened to bug out of her head when you helped yourself to seconds or the way her tongue balled up in her mouth until she was practically choking when you came down the stairs wearing clothing that fit a little too tightly or a skirt that hung an inch too short.  The pressure would build up inside her until with a bang the kitchen would receive a complete overhaul – needed or not – and the clatter of pots and pans would fill the silence while the roar of the vacuum cleaner sucked up any of the unsaid words that stubbornly clung to us....

to read the rest of this story, order your copy of the June 2019 issue of Blank Spaces

[Read the second and third place stories]

Learn how you can participate in one of our Write-Prompt Flash Fiction Contests HERE

Order the next issue of Blank Spaces HERE

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