Helping a Close Friend - 6/1

The editors of Writer's Digest provide a weekly Writing Prompt to get your writing going.
Posts: 927
Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2005 5:07 am

Helping a Close Friend - 6/1

Postby Brian » Tue Jun 01, 2010 5:43 am

Posts: 927
Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2005 5:07 am

Helping a Close Friend - 6/1

Postby Brian » Tue Jun 01, 2010 5:43 am

A close friend has a life-altering decision to make and asks you for advice. What advice do you give? Write the conversation between you and your friend.

You can post your response (750 words or fewer) here.

Posts: 927
Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2005 5:07 am

Helping a Close Friend - 6/1

Postby Brian » Tue Jun 01, 2010 5:43 am

A close friend has a life-altering decision to make and asks you for advice. What advice do you give? Write the conversation between you and your friend.

You can post your response (750 words or fewer) here.

Private E-1
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon May 31, 2010 1:52 pm

RE: Helping a Close Friend - 6/1

Postby closch » Tue Jun 01, 2010 9:21 am

“So what do you think?”

“I don’t know. Wow?”

“Yeah, that about sums it up. Wow.”

‘It could have huge implications. Have you considered all the possible outcomes?”

“I’ve tried as best I can. But each time I go over it I can’t help but think it will work; that it’s the right thing to do; the right course of action. I’ve been going over it for months now, imagining this result and that result. The consequences of each. I can’t see how it wouldn’t work.”

“Timing will have a significant impact.”

“I know. If I’m off by even a few hours it could change the entire outcome. The whole plan could fall apart.”

“Not just hours. Minutes. Based on what you have told me, minutes may make the difference between success and failure. Maybe even seconds, I don’t know. I don’t know that much about it. Not they way you do.”

“Yeah, I know. But I try not to think about it. Reducing it to seconds is frightening.”

“You need to think about it my friend, otherwise you won’t be aware of the dangers. You want to make sure you eliminate as much risk as possible in this. It’s not worth doing if you’re not going to do it right.”

“True enough. That’s why I have you here to set me straight. My guiding light, so to speak. I need to talk through it to get it all straight in my head. I have pages and pages of notes and what feels like even more pages of thoughts, but I need to get it all settled. I need to walk through the plan one more time.”

“What about the others, how it will affect them? Have you thought about that?”

“That is all I’ve been thinking about. That one I’m struggling with. But I know they will understand. Once it’s done, they’ll understand. It might take the younger ones some time but they will come to realize that it was for the best.”

“I sure hope so. I’m can’t even begin to imagine how to explain this one. It’s mind boggling. How are you going to explain it, have you given that any thought?”

“Some. But I am stuck on it. I don’t know whether to explain it before or after. And I don’t know how much detail to share right now. I don’t want anyone getting any more upset than they need to. I don’t want to make this bigger than it is.”

“Bigger? Can it be any bigger? This is going to blow everyone away. They will be shocked; some even scared by all of this. On the other hand you may end up with a few supporters. There are those that will be ok with it. And the reality is, it’s your decision. What they think has nothing what-so-ever to do with it.”

“True. But it does concern me. Some support would be quite welcome though. It would make the transition go somewhat smoother. It would help to know there are those that would back this decision.”

“But you still have to do what is right for you. And if you do this you have to live with this for a very long time, regardless of the outcome.”

“Trust me, that much I know. That’s the one thought that keeps bouncing around inside my head.”

“Well, my friend. Quite an interesting life you lead.”

“Yeah, guess it is. So, back to my original question. What do you think?”

“I was afraid you were going to ask me again. Sure hope I don’t come to regret this. What can I do to help?”

Author Leanne Dyck
Private E-1
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Jun 01, 2010 1:50 pm

RE: Helping a Close Friend - 6/1

Postby Author Leanne Dyck » Tue Jun 01, 2010 2:05 pm

"The sudden turbulence in our lives caused a division in our relationship," she sobbed into the phone.
"What? What are you saying? I don't understand? Are you saying you're getting a divorce?"
"Frank and I have mutually decided to terminate our joint venture at this juncture," she bawled.
"Are you okay, Sally? You're not making much sense."
"I'm suffering from an repeated sense of depression followed by a..." Her voice was lost in a shower of tears.
"I'll be right over," I told her and left immediately.
When I arrived at Sally's I found her sitting on the floor -- her knees drawn to her chest. She was rocking back and forth. Prone on the floor next to her was her husband. A large knife still embedded in his back. All I heard from Sally for the longest time were sobs. Then all of a sudden she stopped rocking, she stopped sobbing, she looked at me.
"What do I do now?" she asked.

Private E-1
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Apr 21, 2010 6:39 am

RE: Helping a Close Friend - 6/1

Postby BMDLewis » Tue Jun 01, 2010 7:34 pm

I want a divorce, what do you think?

You know what I think, so why are you asking? Well, I just feel so trapped and unhappy that I just wanted to get another opinion about it before making the call to the lawyer. What are you so trapped and unhappy about? Just everything! I don't feel the love anymore, he doesn't spend enough time with me or treat me that way that I want to be treated and I deserve to be happy.

Have you discussed this with him? He knows. But have you talked about it lately? No, but he should know. How does he know? He should know how I feel and if he doesn't he should find out.

I think you should sit him down and have a conversation before making this decision. I'm tired of talking. But when did you talk? Well, well we've talked about this so much that I'm tired of talking.

Okay, what about the kids? What about them, they will be fine. Have you really thought this through and considered all parties involved? Have you considered that this decision will tear you family apart and you will be no more happy than you are now?

But I want to find someone who will make me happy! Have you considered that only God can give you the true peace and happiness that you desire? When man give you joy and happiness, he can also take away! You must search your soul and find that inner peace to persevere through difficults times no matter how hard they get.

You have no told me that he was cheating on you or beating you but only that your not happy. You could be the one blocking that happiness.

Do you really believe what you just said to me? Yes, I do! There have been many times throughout my marriage that I've had to encourage myself for one reason or another. I do find that it makes me feel better and makes my situation better. Everything is not centered around me but for the four individuals in the family in addition to the two in the marriage. This life is about give and take and sometimes you may give more than take but it all works out in the end.

I advise you to pray hard before ending your marriage only to start anew and possibly end up where you are now after the newness is gone. I can't make that decision for you but I will support you the best way I can.

I love you girl,

Benita Lewis

Private E-1
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Jun 02, 2010 7:19 am

RE: Helping a Close Friend - 6/1

Postby cherwood » Wed Jun 02, 2010 9:09 am

Jesus, Susan. You’ve been married for 40 years. You guys are… each other’s skin. You’re wrapped up in each other. You poop and fart in close proximity. And brush your teeth and spit. And have paid off a mortgage together. Raised two kids. All of it!

I know.

Splitting up? Splitting up’s what teenagers do. What young adults do after a tumultuous and passionate yet brief romance. (Pause.) So you mean, “divorce.”

Yes, that’s what I mean.

I … can’t even fathom this. I mean, the kids’ll be OK, being all grown up and all that, on with their own lives. He’ll be remarried FOR sure, as men can marry well when they’re older. Companionship and all that.

I suppose….

But what about YOU? My darling, you’re no spring chicken. What are you going to do? Are you keeping the house?

I have no idea. I’m sure I could stay with--

Your children? You’re still too young for that. Besides, you need to save that card for when you’re elderly and have no husband or medical to take care of you.

What I meant to say was I could--

What? Get a job? At your age? At least there’s social security, but will that really help you out now, at your age to live up to the means you’re used to? Are you keeping the house, or will you live in a hovel?

Well, I’m sure we will have to sell—

And divide, I suppose, divide resources you need now more than ever?

Please, it’s not so bad…

WHAT??? (sees Susan’s uncomfortable demeanor) All right, honey, I’m sorry. I’m just worried about you.

I know you are, my darling. It’s OK. This has been on my mind for a while now.

What? Really? This has been on your mind, for how long?

Well, for many years, actually, but especially since Julia’s wedding. You remember. I just wish we had been able to raise our girls in a more loving and Christian environment.
A more Christian environment? He’s a Christian, you’re a Christian, you’ve gone to Church together for forty years. How much more Christian can you get?

Well, it’s just I wished to be a model Christian family for my girls, you see. Now that they’re married, I see problems, problems I can help them with…

Oh no! (sitting down). Oh no!

I think I’d like helping out…

Please tell me how far into the process are you?

I, uh, don’t know what you –

Have you and Peter actually gotten a separation? Have you talked to a lawyer, and filed papers, and all that?

No, not yet.

WHY? Then, why are you doing this? This can’t be best for YOU!

The marriage has dissolved over the years, and I think it’s best to be freed so we can do what we want in our later years.

What would you want in your later years? Are you going to be alone in this world? And have no one to turn to, to wake up with in the morning? To comfort you? And all of that! He’s going to find someone else, you know. Someone will snatch him up sooner than you think if you’re not careful!

Yes. I think he has found someone already.

(GASP.) Susan! Jesus, Susan, you don’t mean to say that there’s already another woman.

No, that’s not it. That’s not it at all. Harry, now I am thinking of you….
:o :o :o :o

Private E-1
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:27 am

Re: Helping a Close Friend - 6/1

Postby MPayne » Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:35 am


“Hi, it's me. Is this a bad time?”

“It's ok, I've got a few minutes. What's up?”

“Well, I wanted to talk to you about--”

“(waah) Billy stop pulling your sister's hair. (waaah!) Right now!... Sorry. These kids. I love 'em, but they drive me crazy. Now what's on your mind?”

“I need some advice abo--”

“Goddammit! That guy nearly ran me off the road!”

“Oh! Are you ok?”

“Yeah, fine. Drivers are getting worse, you know? It's like they're the only ones on the road. So what did you need advice about?”

“Yeah, um... This is kind of hard for me, but--”

“Hang on a sec... Yeah, I'd like a caramel frappucino aaannnd... oo! A low fat rasberry muffin.... Now what were you saying?”

“Maybe I should call you back...”

“Oh. Well, ok. Call me whenever, I'm never busy.”


Private E-1
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2010 1:53 am

RE: Helping a Close Friend - 6/1

Postby Goodbyekiss » Thu Jun 03, 2010 2:34 am

"I don't know what else to do! I've got a week to get the money! A week!"

"Sally, you can't just go off and rob a bank! It's not like the movies you know!" Tommy hopped out of his chair and took a more authoritative stance. "What are you going to do if you get caught? Huh? Run?"

"Yes!" Sally shouted and stomped her foot. She was glaring at Tommy with such determination. "I'll run if I have to," She sauntered over to him and shoved him back with her finger, "what do you think of that?"

"It's insane!" He threw his hands down with fervor. "I can't believe you would do this!" He was at a loss for words, his eyes shifted aimlessly while he racked his brain for a feasible response, but couldn't find one.

"Is that all you got? Well, I guess it's not such a bad idea." She looked him up and down, but he had nothing. He had choked on his words. Sally folded her arms and stared deeper into him. "You think I'm a bad person, now, for saying this?

Tommy looked up at her, defeated, and with sad eyes he quietly said, "I could never think of you that way." She had teared up as he said this. She covered her mouth but the tears streamed down her face, giving her away. She sat down, put her head on the table, and sobbed. Tommy stood there with an instant feeling of relief followed by sympathy. He pulled up a chair next to her, and awkwardly placed his hand on her back.

"I'm sorry, Tommy," She sat up looking at him, "that was a stupid idea." She wiped away her tears, "I don't know what I was thinking." Tommy just smiled. "Do you want something to eat? I was about to make some pot roast before you came in."

"Sure." Tommy said politely. "That sounds good."

Private E-1
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2010 1:13 pm

RE: Helping a Close Friend - 6/1

Postby sumbano » Thu Jun 03, 2010 1:30 pm

One simple invitation to lunch turned out to be more than I bargained for. I look forward to our monthly lunch dates. She can make me laugh or smile right when I need it. There is something about my childhood friend that always puts my mind at ease.

Today, my friend sits across from me with a hollowed look in her eyes that I’ve never seen before. I don’t like it. I don’t like this place we’re in - this place where the air is humid and drenched with anxiety.
She sighs because that’s about all she can manage to do. “I never thought I’d find myself in a situation like this,” she says.

“I never thought I’d find myself in this situation with you,” I say nervously. There’s a bowling ball in the pit of my stomach that I wish would go away. I’m not accustomed to situations like this. I’m afraid I can’t help my friend. What can I say? What can I do to ease her heart, her pain? How can I help someone that I rely on to talk me off the roof when I threaten to jump?

Silence came and sat with us at our table and stayed for at least two drinks. It watched her move around the greens of her salad with her fork as I did. Would she ask him to leave? I reach out to touch her hand which is well manicured but balmy to my touch. I hold her hand for dear life. It’s my turn to keep her from going over the edge.

“What does Harold say about all this?” She looks at me with a surprised, yet confused expression upon her face like I reminded her of something she’d forgotten to do but not sure if she was supposed to really do it. “I haven’t told him yet. Oh my God, I go over the scenario over and over in my head. What will he say when I tell him? How will he think of me once the truth is known? Will he continue to love me?”

I study her as the hollowness in her eyes is joined by tears. She pulls her hand away from me as if it suddenly grew hot. I’ve practiced for years being the one who needed to be saved, not the one who saves. Life didn’t prepare me for this. In her fragile defense, life didn’t prepare her for this either.

“Well, I can take the boys for a day or two if you need me to. I mean, you know…while you get it together and tell Harold. He has to know about this and the longer you wait..”

“Don’t you think I know that? I mean, who do you think you’re dealing with here? I’m not stupid!” She forces these words out in a heavy whisper as if she needed to hear them.

She looks around to see if anyone noticed her heated reaction like she did when we were kids afraid her mother would catch her smoking. I miss my friend. I would rather not have lunch with this person. I would rather be the one who carried the pain, the torment. That’s the way things were with us. I want my friend back.

“I’m sorry,” I stumbled with my words. “I’m sorry this is happening to you, kiddo. I’m sorry that I didn’t prepare to be a better friend for a time such as this. I’m sorry this is happening to your family”.
I try to keep her tears from turning into my tears.

“I’m sorry I broke your skates when we were 8. I’m sorry I spilled green nail polish on that pillow you got from your Memaw.”

I can’t help it now. I’m crying hysterically at this point. Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God has become my mantra.

She rises from the table and crosses over to me, puts her arms around me, hugs me and quietly encourages me. “Shhhhhh.” She rubs my back, looks down at me and amazingly manages a smile.

Now, this feels normal. This feels right. Here’s my friend. The one I needed to have lunch with. I look up at her, a bit embarrassed. This lunch isn’t about me. It’s about her. She returns to her seat. A figure comes and stands beside our table as if to join us. Silence decides to sit down and join us for the rest of our lunch.


Return to Writing Prompts and Challenges

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests