Freedom With Strings

She stood at the open door with her arms crossed, the lipstick smudge on his white collar a reminder of his infidelities.  “Go on, go,” she said, “but if you leave, you’re taking the kids with you.”

He pondered her offer, but decided raising five kids alone wasn’t the kind of freedom he wanted, so he stayed- for forty-five years- until a heart attack fulfilled his vow.


This is fiction; however, the threat to make him take the kids if he left was borrowed from real life.  My mom has a cousin who issued this offer of freedom with strings to her misbehaving husband.  To this day, they are still married (it’s been about thirty five years by now, and counting.)  The other “facts” have been changed to protect the guilty- er, innocent 🙂

TrifectaPicture11-1This piece is also my response to the Trifecta weekend writing prompt challenge, which is to write a complete story in 3 sentences.  If you want to read other responses, or enter a response of your own, click the tricycle picture to go to Trifecta’s site.

Thanks so much for reading.  I hope you have a terrific weekend!


83 thoughts on “Freedom With Strings

  1. DonettaS June 7, 2013 / 10:51 AM

    Wow!! That is an offer I suspect many men would decline. This is wonderful.

    • jannatwrites June 7, 2013 / 9:50 PM

      Thanks, Donetta – I appreciate you taking time to read it 🙂

  2. Mike June 7, 2013 / 11:18 AM

    A great three sentences. Loved the idea of a heart attack fulfilling his 45 year old vow.

    • jannatwrites June 7, 2013 / 9:52 PM

      Thanks, Mike. I’m glad you enjoyed this super-short story!

  3. September Dreams June 7, 2013 / 11:37 AM

    Wow Janna… A tale well-told in just 3 sentences! Lovely.

  4. Kir Piccini June 7, 2013 / 12:12 PM

    There are always choices, and consequences in each. Freedom is not always free. 🙂

    this was really deep and thought provoking, I wonder how much of his vow he actually kept or he just learned to be a better secret keeper.

    • jannatwrites June 7, 2013 / 9:55 PM

      I think you’re right on both counts, Kir – there are consequences for choices and freedom comes at a price.

      I suspect he didn’t honor the forsake all others part of the vow…but at least he accomplished the ’til death do us part’ portion of it 😛

    • jannatwrites June 7, 2013 / 9:56 PM

      I appreciate you stopping by, Countingducks!

  5. pattisj June 7, 2013 / 1:05 PM

    Three sentences! Wow, Janna.

    • jannatwrites June 7, 2013 / 9:57 PM

      🙂 This one stumped me for a bit, Patti. I was so excited when I actually came up with something!

  6. Lance June 7, 2013 / 1:40 PM

    I wonder how many times this happened in our parents generation? Way to hit the right emotional notes in a small space.

    • jannatwrites June 7, 2013 / 9:58 PM

      I think it went on more than we know about. Thanks for reading and sharing your comment, Lance!

    • jannatwrites June 7, 2013 / 9:58 PM

      Thanks, Widdershins! I’m glad you enjoyed this one 🙂

  7. mairzeebp June 7, 2013 / 3:26 PM

    Janna, this is fabulous! What a story in just three sentences. I see the picture of them and I felt it. I LOVE it!

    • jannatwrites June 7, 2013 / 9:59 PM

      😳 Thanks, Mairzeebp. Thanks for reading and sharing your kind words!

  8. philosophermouseofthehedge June 7, 2013 / 3:33 PM

    For the fiction: If there was a big insurance policy, perhaps a vow fulfilled not soon enough?
    Cute story

    • jannatwrites June 7, 2013 / 10:00 PM

      She probably wished it would’ve happened sooner, Phil. She paid her dues and earned her freedom.

  9. nrhatch June 7, 2013 / 5:41 PM

    Well done, Janna. You definitely have a way with words! 😀

    • jannatwrites June 7, 2013 / 10:01 PM

      Thanks, Nancy! I wanted to keep it light for the weekend 😀

  10. pattyabr June 7, 2013 / 10:44 PM

    wow I really like this trifecta. happy weekend.

    • jannatwrites June 8, 2013 / 9:13 AM

      Thanks for reading, Patty! I hope you have a great weekend, too 🙂

  11. GodGirl June 8, 2013 / 3:40 AM

    So many years packed into so few words – well done! It was a big risk on her part – i.e. potentially losing a husband and kids. I wonder what kind of marriage they would’ve had after that?

    • jannatwrites June 8, 2013 / 9:15 AM

      I think she had a sense he wouldn’t step up and be responsible, but it was still a chance. I can’t imagine the marriage would be great if obligation is the only reason to stay. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts on the piece, GodGirl.

    • jannatwrites June 8, 2013 / 9:16 AM

      Thanks so much, Thewizardsword. I appreciate you reading 🙂

  12. Debbie June 8, 2013 / 7:29 AM

    Wise woman! No man wants sole responsibility for FIVE kids, even if they’re all his!

    • jannatwrites June 8, 2013 / 9:17 AM

      I wouldn’t want sole responsibility either, Debbie! Sometimes two is more than I can handle 🙂

  13. gotmeghan June 8, 2013 / 9:24 AM

    You know, this is a “good” thing to use for women who have kids and a cheating husband. If he really wants to leave, just let him raise them, that would pretty much scare the living crap out of every dude, especially if they have all girls. Serves both of them right. I liked it. It was very interesting. 🙂

    • jannatwrites June 8, 2013 / 11:09 PM

      Your comment made me smile, Gotmeghan! I think her telling him he had to take the kids caught him off-guard. Normally, women fight to keep the kids. Thanks for taking the time to read this and share your thoughts!

      • gotmeghan June 9, 2013 / 3:40 AM

        It definitely caught him off-guard. He’ll definitely think twice before cheating on her again. Lol. You’re welcome dear 🙂

        • jannatwrites June 9, 2013 / 10:33 PM

          Or at least cover up better so he doesn’t get caught 🙂

        • gotmeghan June 10, 2013 / 8:01 AM

          Yeah you gotta point there.

  14. dcardiff June 8, 2013 / 10:10 AM

    Truth is stranger than fiction. I loved this story.


    • jannatwrites June 8, 2013 / 11:12 PM

      Thanks for reading – I’m glad you liked the story, Dcardiff!

    • jannatwrites June 8, 2013 / 11:12 PM

      I don’t believe I could issue this offer, but it is a bold move, Lena!

  15. Eric Alagan June 8, 2013 / 5:36 PM

    Looks like he has been stringing her along and she deliberately left that lipstick smudge – to push the issue – to make the choice.

    He made the right choice – thanks to his wife!

    • jannatwrites June 8, 2013 / 11:15 PM

      I hadn’t thought of the possibility of her staging the lipstick. I guess that could be possible 🙂 I think sometimes leaving is just easier, so it is nice when people choose to stay and manage to work things out, Eric.

  16. Draug419 June 8, 2013 / 7:47 PM

    Five kids! Can you blame the guy for going out for some time away from home? Okay, yes you can haha He was probably smart to stick around those extra years (:

    • jannatwrites June 8, 2013 / 11:17 PM

      Staying was probably the smartest choice he made, Draug 🙂

  17. trifectawriting June 8, 2013 / 8:37 PM

    The wife drives a hard bargain. He made the right choice.

    Thank you for linking up!

    • jannatwrites June 8, 2013 / 11:17 PM

      I think she was tired of putting up with nonsense 🙂

  18. yarrpirate June 9, 2013 / 5:14 AM

    Nice one..though…um…I would have taken that deal!

    • jannatwrites June 9, 2013 / 10:35 PM

      Well, one who is ready for the responsibility might take it, Yarrpirate. This man is nowhere near responsible, though 🙂

  19. Tina June 9, 2013 / 6:32 AM

    I think that he made a wise choice, under the circumstances. He must have married her for her intelligence. Well done!

    • jannatwrites June 9, 2013 / 10:36 PM

      Thanks for reading, Tina. Since he wasn’t ready to be responsible, it’s probably better he stayed 🙂

  20. Lumdog June 9, 2013 / 7:03 AM

    You really have a full blown story here. Well done!

    • jannatwrites June 9, 2013 / 10:37 PM

      Thanks, Lumdog – I appreciate you reading!

  21. jesterqueen (@jesterqueen) June 9, 2013 / 8:28 AM

    My husband and I have a running joke that the first one to give up on the marriage has to take the kids alone. It’s complete nonsense, and what we really believe, and say regularly to each other, is “Thank GOD I’m not a single parent!!!”

    • jannatwrites June 9, 2013 / 10:38 PM

      I hear you, Jesterqueen. Neither one of us wants to go it alone, either!

    • jannatwrites June 9, 2013 / 10:38 PM

      Thanks, Ann! Appreciate you stopping by 🙂

  22. betarules June 9, 2013 / 3:54 PM

    Hmmm. Who would give their kids up like that… or maybe they knew the end result. (RogRites)

    • jannatwrites June 9, 2013 / 10:40 PM

      I think she knew he didn’t want the responsibility, RogRites. I’m not sure that the kids would be relinquished that easily.

  23. Christine June 9, 2013 / 8:34 PM

    I would do the same thing, and we’ve only got the two. Brave woman, though – and smart! 😉

    • jannatwrites June 9, 2013 / 10:43 PM

      She must know that he won’t go for the offer. I don’t know that I could have suggested this, but thankfully, I’m not in a position to need to 🙂

      • jannatwrites June 10, 2013 / 8:19 PM

        Thanks for sharing your comment, Bjorn 🙂

    • jannatwrites June 10, 2013 / 8:18 PM

      If they had some measure of happiness, then I think the choice is good.

  24. KymmInBarcelona June 10, 2013 / 4:23 AM

    What a way to fulfill a vow. Makes you wonder if it’s worth fulfilling. Good story!

    • jannatwrites June 10, 2013 / 8:19 PM

      I don’t know, Kymm. We should contemplate vows carefully before making them just for this reason!

  25. Suzanne June 10, 2013 / 6:17 AM

    Hahaha! Brilliant ultimatum. And what a great little story!

    • jannatwrites June 10, 2013 / 8:20 PM

      Thanks, Suzanne! I appreciate you stopping by 🙂

  26. Joe Owens June 11, 2013 / 6:43 AM

    Wow this is great. i especially liked the line about the heart attack fulfilling his vow.

  27. Dayle Lynne June 12, 2013 / 1:32 PM

    45 years of turmoil packed into 3 sentences! Well done!

    • jannatwrites June 20, 2013 / 11:42 AM

      Thanks for taking time to read it, Diane!

  28. Imelda June 23, 2013 / 8:03 PM

    This is lovely and sweet! What a clever lady that wife is. :-).

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