Truth of Promises

Norma looked down at her lap, at her daughter’s fingers wrapped around her own hands.  “Patricia, it’s not what you think.”  She contemplated how much truth to reveal.

“Mom, Dad’s been gone six months and now you want to marry this guy.  Just take it slow, is all I’m asking.”

Norma laughed.  “I’m seventy-five years old.  I take everything slow these days.”

Patricia frowned.  “Mom—“

“Let me tell you a story,” Norma interrupted.  “At thirteen, I’d fallen in love and wanted to get married.  Grandma Rose disapproved and said he was too old for me.  An eighteen-year-old had no business around a child of thirteen, she said.  I couldn’t get a marriage license without her signature, so I had no choice but to wait.  Then war happened again.  I cried when the Army issued his deployment orders for Korea.  The year was 1950 and the Korean War raged.  He promised he would return, but I’d heard enough on the radio…”

“Mom.  Are you okay?”  Patricia handed her mom a tissue and draped an arm around her mom’s bony shoulders.

Norma sniffed and rubbed her eyes.  “Grandma Rose got a letter in March 1951.  Said he died in the Battle of Chipyong-ni.”  Norma shook her head.  “Hearing the news almost killed me.  I couldn’t bear to see the words.  I always regretted that I hadn’t read the letter myself.”

“Did you love Dad?”

Norma lifted her guilty gaze.  “Of course.  But not like Richard.”

Patricia stared, slack-jawed.  “I can’t believe…” her voice trailed.

“Grandma Rose lied.  Richard had been taken prisoner but was released in 1956.  I’d already married your father.”

Patricia gasped.

“Richard kept his promise.  When he called three months ago, he said he’d been waiting for me.”  Norma looked into Patricia’s eyes.  “Truth is I’d been waiting for him, too.”


This is my entry in the Trifecta weekend challenge.  I guess I’m a bit of a romantic, and my “it’s never too late” attitude shows – but I hope this story isn’t too sappy 🙂  Anyway, the challenge this week is to write a 33 to 333 word response (mine is 303 words) using the following word and definition:

Year:  a calendar year specified usually by a number <died in the year 1900>

If you want to submit your own response, click on the tricycle picture to get to Trifecta’s site, which will have the complete guidelines.

97 thoughts on “Truth of Promises

  1. momsomniac November 5, 2012 / 3:22 PM


    Tragic and beautiful at the same time

    • jannatwrites November 5, 2012 / 7:12 PM

      Thanks, Momsomniac! I was pleasantly surprised to see your comment since you were taking time away. I hope you are getting to a better place.

      • momsomniac November 6, 2012 / 10:46 AM

        Oh, I rarely EVER take a break from reading – just writing and sharing. I think this is my favorite of your work to date. : )

        • jannatwrites November 6, 2012 / 12:47 PM

          Wow, thanks, Momsomniac! You’ve always been supportive of my writing (and not afraid to say when something doesn’t seem quite right) – I appreciate that 🙂

  2. nrhatch November 5, 2012 / 4:19 PM

    Amazing write, Janna! Fantastic.

    I love the daughter feeling like mom was rushing it . . . only to find out that her mother had waited 62 years for this moment.

    • jannatwrites November 5, 2012 / 7:17 PM

      I appreciate your enthusiastic compliment, Nancy (and the display of my post in your ‘likes’ widget…I noticed another one of my posts there last week but forgot to mention.) I’m glad you liked the premise of the story. I have fun writing stories like this, and it’s even better when people like to read them 🙂

    • nrhatch November 6, 2012 / 8:55 AM

      If you want to team up for the Trifecta Anniversary Challenge, let me know. I would LOVE to be your partner.

      You can be A or B . . . but you do endings so well, that I would vote for you to be B.

      If you have someone else in mind, or just want to be randomly assigned, no worries. My Ego can take it. 😉

      • jannatwrites November 6, 2012 / 9:36 AM

        Yay, I’m so excited you want to partner with me! I think that would be great…I don’t share your confidence with my ability to close, but I’m cool with giving B a go 🙂

        Do you want to leave the comment on Trifecta or do you want me to?

      • nrhatch November 6, 2012 / 11:15 AM

        Yay! I am jazzed by the idea of this community challenge. If you decide you’d prefer A to B, I’m OK with either.

        I’ll let them know . . . but you can too.

        • jannatwrites November 6, 2012 / 12:49 PM

          I saw you made a comment, so I think we’re okay. I may loop back and leave one tonight just to confirm it though 🙂 (Leaving comments on other blogs can be a pain using a smart phone.)

      • nrhatch November 6, 2012 / 11:22 AM

        I just re-read the rules:

        When the challenge opens next week, Team Member A (we’ll decide the order) will begin writing a response. That first part of the challenge will close mid-week, and then the baton gets passed to Team Member B, who will be required to finish the story by the close of the challenge.

        So it looks like Trifecta will choose who is A and who is B.

        That’s cool too.

        One last thing, you seem to get your notifications from Trifecta BEFORE they appear in my e-mail box. In fact, you have often posted your response to the challenge before the challenge appears in my box.

        So, when you know that it’s GO time, make sure I know too. 😉

        • jannatwrites November 6, 2012 / 12:03 PM

          Well, maybe they’ll choose you to go first 🙂 either way works for me. The notifications are weird. I don’t actually get them till 11 pm that night. I normally just go to their site around 7 am before I start work. I’ll certainly let you know when it’s up, though. I think this will be fun!

        • nrhatch November 6, 2012 / 4:49 PM

          Gotcha. I think they arrive in my box about 11 pm . . . I never checked to see if they were posted before that. I will this time. 😀

  3. Debbie November 5, 2012 / 5:00 PM

    What a beautiful story, Janna! I guess this kind of mix-up probably happened more often than we know, but how sad for the young Norma — and how wonderful that love found its way back to her, after all those years!

    • jannatwrites November 5, 2012 / 7:22 PM

      Thanks, Debbie! Since she didn’t read the letter, she doesn’t know if the letter gave incorrect information – or if her mom twisted the information to keep them apart. I’m glad you stopped by to read the story.

  4. Widdershins November 5, 2012 / 6:26 PM

    I love how your stories almost always have this wonderful twist to them!

    • jannatwrites November 5, 2012 / 7:23 PM

      I’m glad you take time to read them and like how they turn out, Widdershins. Thanks 🙂

    • jannatwrites November 5, 2012 / 7:25 PM

      Thanks for reading, Phil. It is a mixed ending, but I think the cheer outweighs the tears 🙂

  5. Draug419 November 5, 2012 / 8:25 PM

    Oh! A bit of a twist there at the end! I wasn’t expecting that. Beautiful and a little sad, but also a bit uplifting (:

    • jannatwrites November 5, 2012 / 10:31 PM

      I’d hoped the ending wouldn’t be too obvious. Thanks for reading and sharing your reaction, Draug!

  6. pattisj November 5, 2012 / 8:55 PM

    What a great story, Janna. Love that lasts…

    • jannatwrites November 5, 2012 / 10:31 PM

      Thanks, Patti. I’m glad you enjoyed the story 🙂

  7. chlost November 5, 2012 / 9:26 PM

    Good stuff! I like sappy….although I think of it as romantic. We can all use more good stuff in life.

    • jannatwrites November 5, 2012 / 10:33 PM

      I can go with romantic, Chlost. In a way the story is sad, but at least it does have happiness in the end.

  8. Catherine Johnson November 6, 2012 / 1:45 AM

    I really like this, I’d be the same 🙂

    • jannatwrites November 6, 2012 / 12:40 PM

      Thank you so much for reading, Catherine. I’m glad you enjoyed the story 🙂

  9. Neetika November 6, 2012 / 2:51 AM

    Very sweet story… The ending was really nice and feel-good 🙂

    • jannatwrites November 6, 2012 / 12:41 PM

      Thanks, Neetika. I worried that it might be too much, so I’m glad that doesn’t seem to be the case.

  10. Jonesingafter40 November 6, 2012 / 7:46 AM

    I’m a sucker for stories that come full circle! Sniff, sniff. Good job, Janna!

    • jannatwrites November 6, 2012 / 12:43 PM

      Thanks, Jonesing! I’m happy you liked the story 🙂

  11. Varsha November 6, 2012 / 9:33 AM

    Oh, who cares if love-stories seem sappy! I always find them beautiful. A wonderful story about everlasting love. Great write!

    • jannatwrites November 6, 2012 / 12:44 PM

      Thanks for reading and leaving your enthusiastic response, Varsha. I’m glad I’m not the only one who enjoys a love story 🙂

  12. Tracie November 6, 2012 / 10:25 AM

    Wow. Wow. Wow.

    This is beautiful and heartbreaking. Good stuff.

    • jannatwrites November 6, 2012 / 12:46 PM

      I’m glad you liked the story! I appreciate you taking time to read it and share your thoughts, Tracie.

  13. Annabelle November 6, 2012 / 12:25 PM

    Aw, that’s sweet and sad and lovely. I like that this manages to have a bit of a happy ending in spite of all the waste.

    • jannatwrites November 6, 2012 / 12:51 PM

      I didn’t want to make it totally depressing 😉 Sometimes there isn’t a happy ending in real life, so I wanted to make sure I colored a little bit of one into this story. Thanks for reading, Annabelle!

  14. deanabo November 6, 2012 / 1:29 PM

    I cried reading this. True love knows no time!

    • jannatwrites November 6, 2012 / 9:16 PM

      That’s true, Deanabo. After all those years, they still had it 🙂

  15. Misky November 6, 2012 / 1:33 PM

    A splendid story!

  16. judithhb November 6, 2012 / 1:49 PM

    A great story and I hope that the daughter doesn’t think of the 62 years as a waste. Norma obviously found love and joy albeit maybe of a different kind, with the man who was Patricia’s father and the result of this was Patricia herself.
    Will we be seeing/hearing more of Norma and Richard?

    • jannatwrites November 6, 2012 / 9:20 PM

      I hadn’t thought of them as a recurring story, but your comment made me give it some thought and I do have some ideas for them. The hard part is actually getting around to writing the ideas 🙂 Thanks for reading and sharing your comment, Judith!

  17. Carol Ann Hoel November 6, 2012 / 1:54 PM

    Cool story, Janna! Wow! I like your imagination! Very touching.

    I married Johannes, a man 26 years older than I, nineteen days after the death of my husband Bill. Johannes had promised Bill that he’d take care of me, and he did. He married me. Sixteen years later, I’m a widow again. I guess there is some truth to it not being wise to marry someone much older than yourself, but I wouldn’t change a thing. I loved Johannes, and he was a wonderful husband.

    (No, we were not lovers before my husband died. I know that people may thinks so, but we were not. In fact, I barely knew him until my husband died. You might even accurately say that I barely knew him when we married. Truth may be stranger than fiction sometimes.)

    • judithhb November 6, 2012 / 2:34 PM

      I am so happy that you found love with this older man. Thoughts with you from across the world as you deal with the death of a husband for the second time. 🙂

      • Carol Ann Hoel November 6, 2012 / 3:30 PM

        Thank you Judithhb. I appreciate your kind words. Blessings to you…

    • jannatwrites November 6, 2012 / 9:44 PM

      I’m glad you liked my story, Carol. I’m fascinated by your story. You had mentioned Johannes was older, but I didn’t know how much older or the circumstances of your marriage. The fact you married so soon and didn’t know him that well make it even more interesting! I know by reading your blog and your poetry that you did (and do) love Johannes, and I think it’s great that you had the time with him. It is painful to lose one you love, but sadly, it is a side effect of opening our hearts. I feel sad for your the loss you are grieving, but am comforted because I know you have a strong relationship with God to help you through it. Thank you for sharing your story; it was nice to learn a little more about you 🙂

  18. sojourner November 6, 2012 / 3:21 PM

    Great story: moving, lovely, amazing…I like it! 🙂
    Keep on writing Janna, you are inspiring us!

    • jannatwrites November 6, 2012 / 9:50 PM

      Thank you so much for your kind comment, Sojourner. It is an awesome feeling when others connect to a story I’ve written 🙂

  19. Carl D'Agostino November 6, 2012 / 4:12 PM

    I am sure this piece of fiction was replicated many, many times after all wars in actual truth. I don’t have time to read long posts but you hooked me and I would have put things on hold to read more of this story. That’s measure of talented writer.

    • jannatwrites November 6, 2012 / 9:52 PM

      Thanks for the compliment, Carl. I know long posts aren’t for you, so I’m glad you took a chance and started reading…and that you didn’t find it a complete waste of time!

      P.S. You’ll be happy to know I haven’t written a story over 333 words for quite a while now 🙂

  20. Jeanna November 6, 2012 / 4:18 PM

    Awwww, how beautiful!

    • jannatwrites November 6, 2012 / 9:53 PM

      Thanks for taking time to read my story, Jeanna!

  21. KymmInBarcelona November 6, 2012 / 5:14 PM

    Great telling of a story that happens much more often than people would expect. Oh but that question: Did you love Dad.

    • jannatwrites November 6, 2012 / 9:55 PM

      I think we’d all like to think we were conceived in love. Patricia had to know if that was the case for her. Thanks for stopping by, Kymm 🙂

  22. pattyabr November 6, 2012 / 6:37 PM

    wow what a story. another twist at the end!

    • jannatwrites November 6, 2012 / 9:57 PM

      You’re onto me, Patty. Soon you’ll be able to guess the endings just because you know I’ll try for the unexpected 🙂

      • pattyabr November 9, 2012 / 10:10 PM

        I don’t think I’ll ever be able to guess your endings. Like I said, always a twist I never expect. I fall hook,line and sinker into the surprise ending. 🙂

        • jannatwrites November 9, 2012 / 10:24 PM

          Well, I’m glad you get into the stories, Patty. I hope they continue to hold your interest 🙂

    • jannatwrites November 6, 2012 / 9:58 PM

      Thanks, Ruby. I’m glad you stopped by to read it.

  23. diannegray November 6, 2012 / 8:33 PM

    Aw – this is so cute! I got goose-bumps all up my arms from reading this! Beautiful 😀

  24. jannatwrites November 6, 2012 / 10:01 PM

    I’m glad you enjoyed the story, Dianne 🙂

  25. yogaleigh November 6, 2012 / 11:14 PM

    Love the twist. Touching and, as several others mentioned, sad and beautiful at the same time.

    • jannatwrites November 8, 2012 / 10:35 AM

      I’m glad you liked it, Yogaleigh. Them finding each other again makes the sadness happier for me.

    • jannatwrites November 8, 2012 / 10:32 AM

      Thanks for reading the story, Natalie 🙂

  26. kgwaite November 7, 2012 / 9:06 AM

    Great dialogue, nice gentle humor that works so well in this piece. And that ending. Shame on you, Grandma Rose. What a surprise.

    • jannatwrites November 8, 2012 / 10:37 AM

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the story, Kelly. Grandma Rose thought she had Norma’s best interests in mind, but she was misguided.

  27. Stephanie B. (@B4Steph) November 7, 2012 / 5:16 PM

    Wow, what a poignant story, beautifully told. It got to me. It could so easily be true and no doubt is true. Lovely tale, lovely writing.

    • jannatwrites November 8, 2012 / 12:42 AM

      I have heard stories of long-lost loves reuniting and that does fascinate me. Thanks so much for reading, Stephanie!

  28. Imelda November 7, 2012 / 8:50 PM

    Oh-oh. This is one of your most beautiful pieces, Janna. It is so achingly beautiful and painful and triumphant and sweet at the same time. There. Sorry for the many ‘ands’. 🙂

    • jannatwrites November 8, 2012 / 12:45 AM

      Oh, thanks so much Imelda. I’m glad you like this one. I appreciate you reading it 🙂

  29. unevenstevencu November 7, 2012 / 11:00 PM

    Nope not too sappy, really enjoyed it. flowed well and got caught right up in the story, 🙂

    • jannatwrites November 8, 2012 / 12:48 AM

      I’m happy the story captured your interest, Unevensteven. I appreciate you taking time to read and share your reaction!

  30. Renada Styles November 8, 2012 / 7:49 PM

    that was so sweet and so sad. i’m glad they finally got to be together (:

    • jannatwrites November 8, 2012 / 9:21 PM

      Better late than never 🙂 Thank for stopping by to read my story, Renada.

  31. Trifecta November 8, 2012 / 8:23 PM

    Something must be wrong with me. I hate romance. But yet I have goosebumps. Nice job conveying emotion and avoiding the manipulation that often comes with it.

    • jannatwrites November 8, 2012 / 9:28 PM

      Your comment made me laugh, Trifecta editor. Something must be wrong with me…I don’t write romance!

      Sappy romance stories make me roll my eyes and mutter, “yeah, right.” I’m relieved that I haven’t developed a tolerance 🙂

  32. Linda Vernon November 8, 2012 / 9:42 PM

    Unexpected. There’s a lot of story here in 333 words. Nicely done Janna! 😀

    • jannatwrites November 9, 2012 / 8:06 PM

      I’m glad the ending held some surprise. I appreciate you stopping by to read it, Linda!

  33. Christine November 8, 2012 / 10:30 PM

    Very sweet story – I wasn’t expecting the ending at all.

    • jannatwrites November 9, 2012 / 10:26 PM

      Yay! I’m glad the ending wasn’t obvious.

  34. The Gal Herself November 9, 2012 / 12:34 AM

    You squeezed generations of love and war into 333 words. I mean REALLY! How wonderful is this piece! Congratulations!

    • jannatwrites November 9, 2012 / 8:10 PM

      Thanks so much for reading. I’m glad you enjoyed the story, Gal!

  35. Tara R. November 9, 2012 / 6:49 AM

    A beautiful and tender love story. I love a happy ending.

    • jannatwrites November 9, 2012 / 8:21 PM

      Thanks, Tara! I’m glad you like the ending. I appreciate you reading.

  36. Sandra November 9, 2012 / 11:39 PM

    Congratulations on the win, Janna! This was a beautiful story–gave me the chills! LOVE!

    • jannatwrites November 10, 2012 / 7:52 AM

      Thanks so much, Sandra! I’m glad you liked the story…I’m surprised at the win, and it’s been fun 🙂

  37. mairzeebp November 11, 2012 / 6:59 AM

    FIrst place is well deserved! You have a way of painting pictures, no matter what you create, that makes me feel. It’s such a wonderful thing and a real gift. This confirmed my hope in love. People writing about it think about it and so it is (if that makes any sense – got a little deep there for myself :). Congrats Janna!!

    • jannatwrites November 11, 2012 / 7:38 PM

      Thanks, Mairzeebp! Your comment makes me feel joy. You should have hope in love – it doesn’t always bring heartache. I like to think that the right love can last a lifetime.

      I followed your deep thoughts perfectly. Thanks again for the kind words and for making me smile 🙂

    • jannatwrites November 11, 2012 / 7:39 PM

      Wow, thanks, Salem! I’m so glad you enjoyed this piece. These characters may just come up again in a future story 🙂

  38. Buddy January 2, 2013 / 11:49 AM

    Beautiful story! Well written!

    • jannatwrites January 2, 2013 / 10:12 PM

      Thanks, Buddy! I’m glad you had a chance to read it 🙂

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