Maria’s Hope

Posted: May 28, 2014 in Friday Fictioneers

This is a continuation of the story created from the prompt on 4/9/2014 titled “Maria.”
PHOTO PROMPT Copyright -Jennifer Pendergast

Maria shed her blue ribbons and wedding dress and ran from the old man’s side.
Shell comb clutched in her hand, she raced toward the Sisters of Mercy.
Years took her from house maid to Novitiate to Mother Superior.
Now she was the one trapped inside corrugated skin.

Too old to marry, young enough to want more,
Maria strode to the convent archway.
Golden light of fall leaves and the spicy smell of their final days
filled Maria with hope.

She slipped out of her tunic, unsnapped her wimple,
arranged the comb in her hair and stepped into a world of promise.

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Comments
  1. Sandra says:

    ‘Corrugated skin’ is a very graphic phrase. There was a lot of good descriptive work in this.

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  2. A very good idea for a story indeed. Nice turn
    o’ the word..

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  3. K.Z. says:

    it’s a great continuation. i like the sense of hope and freedom. and glad that she’s doing what she wants to do.

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  4. wmqcolby says:

    Wow! That packed a LOT in there. Good job, Alicia! One to the other then back again. “Too old to marry, young enough to want more” — AWESOME! You got me there!

    Wonderful!

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  5. I remember your story, how I felt desperate for poor young Maria…So glad she finally felt the untamed wind on her skin. Enjoyed it so much!

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  6. It’s as if she shed her cloak and unmasked the woman beneath.

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  7. is it in continuation??? it felt whole anyways… loved your concept…

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    • Yes, I posted Maria on my blog (a Friday Fictioneers story in April) awhile ago. This prompt reminded me of that story so I went with a continuation. Thanks for your comment.

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  8. elappleby says:

    Great story – I love this phrase: “trapped inside corrugated skin.”
    (although whoever decided to call a nun’s headgear a wimple needs their head read, it’s a word that always makes me want to giggle!)
    Lovely writing.

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  9. Good story. The idea of freedom is great. I’ve always been practical so I think we have to accept that freedom has a price. You have to be a very strong person and willing to accept what freedom brings with it when you’re older. Hopefully she got a good education while in the convent.Otherwise, she’ll be cleaning other people’s houses or some other kind of manuel labor. She could always write a book about her experiences of course. Well written. 🙂 —Susan

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    • Being raised Catholic and taught by the Sisters of Mercy I KNOW she did. That particular branch of nuns are teachers. And by God they made you learn everything very well or you had hell to pay. (Hope I’m not offending anyone but this is very, very true.) Thanks for your insightful comment. Alicia

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      • The reason I responded the way I did was that I have a good friend who spent over 30 years in a cloistered convent. She gave up a full scholarship at the age of 17 to enter the convent. It wasn’t a teaching order so her scholastic education ended there. Finally she left and wrote books. She did marry as she was still young enough for that, but she lost a good education. I’ve heard that the convents don’t take girls that young any more. Two of her siblings became professors which is probably what she would have done if she hadn’t entered the convent so young. I’m also a Roman Catholic but that practice of taking girls that young had to change. What do most girls know about life at 17. Many knew even less at the time she entered the cloister. Thanks for responding to my comment. You wrote a good story. 🙂 —Susan

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      • Wow! The loss of a good education is very sad. I’m glad your friend went on to write books and is happily married. At 17 young girls and girls no so little about life. Thanks for telling me this story. I’ve ALWAYS been glad I had Sisters of Mercy as teachers. They were strict and I was more than happy to excel under their tutelage.

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  10. Jan Brown says:

    Corrugated skin, indeed. I (and my various moisturizers, body oils and serums) can relate to that!

    Seriously, you packed a lifetime into 100 words–well done.

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  11. elmowrites says:

    I’m not sure nuns are supposed to leave again, but it feels like she’s done a lot of healing in her time there and is ready for the world. This story isn’t over! “Young enough to want more” led me a little astray on her age, I think.

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    • Thanks for commenting. Having grown up Catholic (went to a Catholic school until 12th grade) I know nuns who left the convent. By “young enough to want more” I was indicating that one is never too old to start over, want more and explore the world. I appreciate your thoughts – they keep me on track.. Alicia

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  12. Trapped inside her corrugated skin.. I love this.. reminds me a little of Kristin Lavransdotterr a little..maybe at the end she’ll end up at the convent.. but to early is not right either..

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  13. Very descriptive and alive, Alicia! “Corrugated skin” is so visual. The final scene, as she steps out into the light is so hopeful. Really nice story.

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  14. How sweet of you to say so. XOXOXO

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  15. A WONDERFUL story! Freedom from constraints, young inside “corrugated skin,” the sense of fleeing a terrible destiny where she might have been married to an old man, then stepping into the cloistered world of a convent, and now stepping out of THAT into a world of promise. It’s all about breaking out of one prison, finding another, and then, breaking out again.
    I was a little confused at first however, because of the tense used in the narration of events — at first, she seemed as if she was going to marry, then suddenly became a nun, and now, she was getting out of that world, all within the simple past tense.
    Since everything is written in the past tense, it seems to cry out for the past perfect tense (so, for instance, if you had changed it from: “Maria shed her blue ribbons and wedding dress and ran from the old man’s side. Shell comb clutched in her hand, she raced toward the Sisters of Mercy.
    Years took her from house maid to Novitiate to Mother Superior.” to “Maria HAD shed… HADRUN from …, HAD raced… years HADtaken her … Now, she was.. corrugated skin.”
    That would take it from the past perfect tense to the simple past tense in the narrative.
    Of course, if you did that, however, you would have to cut out a few words from the rest of the story to make it to 100 words!
    Ah well!

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    • Dear Dreamer – Yes, I see what you’re getting at, but I think it works in this tense, too. Thanks for taking the time to care and write such an extensive critique. It means a lot. Alicia

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  16. I love how the ending is wide open to countless directions. Shalom! Beth

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  17. Dear Alicia

    Well constructed. I loved “too old to marry, young enough to want more”. You’re never too old to have a life. Nice one.

    shalom,

    Rochelle

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  18. Lovely tale of hope perched at the door to the future. Although you describe her agedness, she still seems full of the promise of youth and we can’t help but wish her well. The comb in her hair is a nice touch.

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  19. There’s always hope of a life worth living. I loved this piece. Corrugated skin…brilliant.

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  20. Dee says:

    Hi Alicia – I think this story stands perfectly well on its own. You have given us enough background and some great descriptive writing, loved it.
    Dee

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  21. Perry Block says:

    Maybe give Maria my number? Providing her skin isn’t too corrugated. Sounds like she’s going to be looking for experiences and maybe I’ll we can work on our corrugated skin together!

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  22. Sarah Ann says:

    Such hope and positivity. Maria always knows what she wants and is sure to get it. Love the corrugated skin!

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  23. This was a very lively story with a strong sense of freedom flowing throughout. Proof that it’s never too late!

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  24. Alice Audrey says:

    I love the corrugated line, but by then it’s a little late to be making that big a change.

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  25. Sun says:

    the wonderful way you described the autumn fall leaves and “the spicy smell” made me feel the hope your character was feeling at that moment. i’m cheering her on!

    Like

  26. Corrugated skin is a fabulous image. A beautifully written story than ends on an ambivalent note.

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