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18+ Mature Content

Memory Lane

by EuphoriaFalls


Warning: This work has been rated 18+ for mature content.

There’s road construction on the way from the mall today. There was an accident at the four way ahead of us and the lights are flashing red. Nothing is moving forward.

My sister’s light erratic finger-tapping on the steering wheel is the only break in the silence between us. I stare ahead lost in no thoughts at all.

There’s a sigh. It's hers. I feel her glance at the side of my face. I wonder if she's wondering about what I'm thinking.

“Your hair,” she interrupts, “it's cute today.” Her right hand reaches towards my temple and she lightly fingers my coils. She pulls one down and smiles as it springs back into place at her release. “I wish I had cute hair like that.”

I turn my head in her direction give her a tight smile. Seemingly timid, actually impatient. I know she won't allow this to be the end of our exchange. She breaks into a wide toothy grin, chuckles slightly, and turns back to see if the traffic has progressed.

I study her as she runs her tongue over her blackened vampire tooth, the cavity she never got fixed. She looks at me again and I see a corner of her mouth pull to the side.

“Can I tell you something?”

I have no clue what she wants to say, but I send my approval through my eyes. She peers back ahead and continues.

“Y’know, I was raped when I was little girl.” She leaves her statement hanging in the air for a moment probably hoping that I'll soak it in.

I leave it right where it is.

“I was eight.”

I let a heavy moment pass. “Okay,” I finally verbalize, squinting intensely out the passenger side window. The sun has nearly set and the flashing traffic lights illuminate the car. She raises her eyebrows, still looking away as she begins to fight a smile.

“My cousin had come to stay on the farm with me and my mom down in Mississippi and,…well, yeah.” My head slips in her direction a bit as I try to see her from the corner of my eye. She purses her lips and hums a note. Both copper colored hands come up as she pretends to adjust her neatly laid tracks.

“Wow,” she breathes, “traffic is bad today.”

“Yeah, it really is.”

She seems to feel my response isn't adequate.

“You're so quiet,” she says, “Always so quiet…” She trails off as if she's wondering about something. “That's why you don't have friends.”

My eyebrows crease in confusion at the conversational route she’s chosen. I laugh in mild astonishment.

“Whatever,” I offer cheaply. She turns to me abruptly with a spark in her eyes seeing a chance to create sisterly moment.

Look at me. I'm Jessie,” she mocks dramatically, “who needs friends when I have laptop and a lock on my bedroom door.”

My eyes roll and my smile widens reluctantly. Her shoulders come up as she chuckles some more. She stretches her arms out like a giddy little girl and releases a breath as some tension drains from her body. I can see she is pleased with the exchange. I turn back to the passenger window, pleased with the exchange as well.

“My uncle tried to kill him y’know.”

“Huh?” I ask, not following what she’s saying.

“My cousin,” she exclaims, in awe of my confusion.

“Oh.” I'd forgotten. Well, I guess not so much forgotten as ignored.

“When he found out,” she quiets her speech for emphasis, “he beat the shit out of him and put a gun to his head.” I make the mistake of raising my eyebrows in passive interest. She sees it and bites.

“It was crazy. My momma had to get in the way and stop him from doing somethin’ stupid. Y’know like actually killin’ him or some shit ‘cuz that woulda been wild.

“I was in my room upstairs lookin’ out the window. Maaaan, that boy was a bloody mess. Mn, mn, mn,” she shakes her head, “I ain't never seen another ass beatin’ like that in my whole life.”

She waits patiently for my reaction. Fingers still tapping, eyes on the side of my face, searching. For something. Anything.

Somehow, I don't have anything to give.

I don't know what she wants from me.

Is it anger? Sympathy? I want to tell her I'm at a loss. I try to lose myself in the flashing red lights and the frozen traffic. At some point it feels as if she’s driving me backwards.

With no emotional response to harvest from me, she turns back to the road, perhaps in understanding. Maybe, she found out what she wanted. Maybe, she just needed to know if I remembered or not.

She must remember. I wish I could ask her.

I wish I could ask her if she remembers the taste of a young girl’s innocence.

The memory has faded but somehow not a day goes by when I don't think of what transpired between us. The event is long gone from my mind and yet there is no mistaking its imprint.

“Can I tell you something?” I turn to her. She bites into her bottom lip and in that moment, refuses to meet my eyes. She stares tentatively out the windshield, red lights flashing in her burnt umber eyes. The tapping on the steering wheel ceases. She faces me and raises her eyebrows dramatically, seemingly in intrigue and amusement.

I sigh and turn back to the passenger side window.

When you left, I want to say, I missed it.

Instead, I say, “Nevermind.”

The corner of her lip quirks up. “Okay, then.”

When you left, I want to say, I didn't stop.

The accident has been cleared and traffic is starting to move. The lights are still flashing red but at least we’re getting somewhere. My sister begins to focus on the road, moving the car ahead in tiny increments.

You’ll probably never know that we’re in this together. Your cousin, seventeen-year-old you, seven-year-old me.

I begin to wonder if those little girls I taught to play doctor as a child are in it, too. I wonder how far it went from me and whether the chain is still catching links.

I wonder if I were to trace this one back, how far into the past would it reach. Maybe there are other chains. No, there must be.

How crazy to think I'm a part of something like that. A chain of lost childhoods. And to think there may be multiple chains branching out from this one link…my link.

That’s why I can't ask her. That's why I'll never ask her. Because I don't want to talk about mine anymore than she wants to talk about hers.

Maybe, it's different. They’ll tell me so. They’ll tell me that I was too young to understand but somehow not too young to put my fingers to their lips and tell them it was “top secret”. Not too young to lock doors and clear browser histories. But somehow too young to know that what I was doing was wrong.

I don't know. Why is it so easy to remember what I did but not how I justified it?

I breathe deeply through my nose as I lay my head against the window. I allow my eyes to fall shut from the mental exhaustion; the unwanted trip down memory lane.

It doesn't matter anymore.

I just want to move on.


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Sun May 30, 2021 4:30 pm
MailicedeNamedy wrote a review...



Hi EuphoriaFalls,

Mailice here with a short review! :D

Maybe a little late for a review, but after reading your short story, I couldn't get the lines out of my head, and wanted to see what else you've written. I particularly noticed the name here, which I like.

Here are some things I noticed while reading:

I stare ahead lost in no thoughts at all.


Commas are not my speciality, but I would add one after the "ahead".

Seemingly timid, actually impatient.


Nice description. I notice that you sometimes give very good descriptions of the younger sister's inner life throughout the text. The only criticism I will insert here: while the younger sister is lost in thought with herself, you could have used the opportunity to perhaps describe the car a little, to give more of this expression that she doesn't want to hear about the conversation.

She turns to me abruptly with a spark in her eyes seeing a chance to create sisterly moment.


I think there is an "a" missing between "to create" and "sisterly moment".

When you left, I want to say, I missed it.


Good insight that the reader gets. I think it only becomes clear afterwards that the younger one is a bit conflicted.

Sometimes I found the text a bit too complicated in the sense that I couldn't follow it as a reader. And yet there was something there to read that was between the lines and alludes to something powerful. Just the moment when the older sister suddenly talks about having been raped, I thought this was just a snippet of something much longer. At the beginning I also assumed it was a conversation between mother and daughter, but somewhere you could tell they were siblings.

I like how after a while the older sister speaks in a kind of "slang", (I don't know what to call it; in any case something has changed in her pronunciation) to get closer to her younger sister. I thought it was kind of fitting that she tried to lower herself to that level.

What impressed me the most is how the two characters are built. The older sister talks about being raped like it's just a small thing, like she's trying to downplay other things, and also comes across as very neutral, like she's trying to balance that point with something else she's done herself. It's like a scale that she's trying to fill with weights to justify herself for what happened. And the younger sister has this way of withdrawing and not giving expression to her feelings. I find this personalisation of the two characters very exciting.

Especially towards the end, I love how you create a metaphor to clear up memories that were clouded. I'm not so sure about this either, but I think the ending could be seen as something good, as the younger sister decides to move on instead of staying in the past.

In general you have a good writing style. I like the division and structure of how you present it. A few times I noticed that you do some of the sister's thought processes in italic, and some others not. Other than that, I can't fault much here. It was an interesting story.

I found the story cryptic yet good. It has a certain style that I like, and think it would even be exciting to read more of.

Enjoy the writing!

Mailice.




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Fri Dec 23, 2016 2:01 am
sapphireluna wrote a review...



Hey hey!
-How does he not know his very own sister was raped? I mean- it's his sister! Maybe it's a part of why the narator is saying I missed you...?
-There were some parts I had to read a few times to understand. Maybe it's a bit to advanced for me, but the overall writing language could have been a little more clear.
-I really like this paragraph:
She waits patiently for my reaction. Fingers still tapping, eyes on the side of my face, searching. For something. Anything.
Somehow, I don't have anything to give.
I don't know what she wants from me.
Is it anger? Sympathy? I want to tell her I'm at a loss. I try to lose myself in the flashing red lights and the frozen traffic. At some point it feels as if she’s driving me backwards.
With no emotional response to harvest from me, she turns back to the road, perhaps in understanding. Maybe, she found out what she wanted. Maybe, she just needed to know if I remembered or not.
I really like that paragraph because it a place of true feeling and emotion of what the character is thinking. I can totally feel the confusion, and the uncertainty of the thought from the narator, which is something I can appreciate as a fellow writer. :)

-I also really really really enjoyed when the narrator is trying to say how s/he really feels but just cant work up the nerve to do so.

-Lastly- I really really loved all of the metaphors! The chain metaphor at the end really helped me to understand what the internal feeling of the narrator.
OVERALL, I highly appreciated this short and there is still some room for improvement, but isn't there with all shorts? Thanks for writing this, I had a lot of fun reading it and thinking about it!
XXX,
Sapphireluna




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Tue Dec 20, 2016 10:18 pm
MrBrainwasher says...



I am little confused here, correct me
"You’ll probably never know that we’re in this together. Your cousin, seventeen-year-old you, seven-year-old me."
What is he talking about? He meant, he did the same thing with other young girls, and is embarrassed about it? What are character's current ages?




EuphoriaFalls says...


Yeah I know, I was worried about the ambiguity of the language in the story and I guessed that a lot of the stuff might not be clear.

The narrator is actually female. I had made that clear in my first draft but somehow I guess it got eliminated after revisions. The premise is that she was molested by her older sister when she was younger (age 5 or 6) and her sister was seventeen. When her sister eventually left the house, she sought out that same company by taking advantage of her peers (age seven). The narrator is a teenager now. I imagine sixteen.

She's ashamed of what she did, but she wants to move on.

She's not really sure what her sister's intentions are. This was, I guess, sort of an excerpt from a plan I had for a larger work.



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Tue Dec 20, 2016 4:45 am
CodyLPearce wrote a review...



Hello Euphoria Falls!

Your short story was excellent, well written, and it is evident you have thoroughly edited the text before submitting. Well done! A majority of stories these days are submitted to sites such as this with barely a second thought to editing so it is wonderful to see your work and very clear that you have the capabilities to be a very professional writer!

I will add some criticisms but take to these as you wish. I don't write them to be harsh and they are just my opinions of how you could perhaps improve your skills as an author.
In my opinion, your writing style and tone seem to conflict a little bit. You seem to write in a very mature and sophisticated manner and your descriptions are very good, but the dialogue seems to suit a more general audience with basic wording. There's nothing particularly wrong with your dialogue but I think perhaps a tone-down of the amount of sophisticated wording in the narration would suit the youth of the characters more.
This is also more of a personal thing but I have to say that I think the storyline would suit a novel rather than a short story. It is very well written as I've said but I think the plot overall doesn't suit a short story as it doesn't particularly serve to tell any particular tale from beginning to end. In my opinion it reads as more of a novel extract than a short story.
Another maybe nit-picky thing I might add is the sudden way I which the subject of rape is brought up. Most people would think of rape as an extremely emotional subject and it doesn't particularly make sense as to why the sister would bring up the subject in such a regular situation such as a car drive, especially if they had known each other for a long period of time and she had no doubt had a wide range of opportunities to speak out about it and chose not to. Like I said, this conversation seems to be more of a character development moment from a novel and I'm sure it'd make a lot more sense in that particular context, but as a short story it seems rather sudden and unrealistic without the background information.

Thank you for the excellent read and I hope to read more from you soon!
Cody L. Pearce




EuphoriaFalls says...


Thanks for the review. I think you made a lot a good points. You actually addressed a lot of my worries about this piece.

I really liked the point about the sophisticated narration. I had never thought of that.

Truth be told, this was sort of an excerpt from a larger piece I had planned. The characters were so developed in my mind that the scene always made sense to me. I'm glad I got the thoughts of someone who saw it as a standalone.

Thanks.



sapphireluna says...


So I already wrote my review, but I wanted to thank you for replying like this because you make a very good point. A lot of times, writers take excerpts from there books/novels and publish them on their own, not knowing that it doesn't make sense to the reader because the don't know the backstory, the scene, ect. Anyways- you make a good point here and I just wanted to thank you for pointing that out and it is something for all short story writers to keep in mind!
XXX,
sapphireluna




You can't blame the writer for what the characters say.
— Truman Capote