The holidays had barely started and already she wished to be somewhere else.

“Say, when is it your time, Rosie?” Out of nowhere, Aunt Delia had appeared and presently stood smiling crookedly at her as if they shared some inside joke, before nodding in the direction of the kids rustling about. “Your parents aren’t getting any younger you know, no one wants to be ancient grandparents.”

Rose felt needles pulling the corners of her mouth in opposite directions, hoping without much hope that it was enough of a smile and answer for Delia. Alas, Auntie only regarded it as a challenge as she prepared her devastating reply. “Sometimes, my dear, you have to lower your standards. I did with your uncle and, frankly, at your age-“

“I think I hear Mama calling,” Rose blurted out before the killing blow had landed, and left Auntie raising her eyebrow, presumably thinking what a rude child her sister had birthed. Safe in the kitchen, Rose ticked off another relative on her list talking about her supposed future motherhood.

Grandpa Rob and Mom, two parties still not on that list, were deep into conversation about their special sauce and its elements of splendidness. Dad swung open the door, missing Rose with an inch, searching for a lost whisky bottle. He exclaimed for the gazillionth time how adorable cousin Jessica’s twin boys were, proving their worth as tiny humans by blabbering nonsense in non-alphabetical ways, before disappearing out again.

Stifling a yawn, Rose dug out her phone and pressed the app of impending disappointment. “Looking for my princess”, “Searching for the One”, “Delivers smiles to die for” – the lines came tumbling towards her, following a left swipe and her heart sinking even deeper. What was wrong with her? Did she really set her standards too high?

Then, feeling a sudden sting of annoyance, she gently scolded herself. I belong to myself, she thought, drawing a full breath. For the first time that evening, Rose returned her mother’s smile as she and Grandpa Rob showed off the sauce, ready to meet the family.

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Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
10 months ago

Hi Rebecka and welcome back. I did enjoy your story. I think family gatherings, especially parties, can be incredibly difficult if other family members have expectations of you that really aren’t part of who you are or what you want. Bravo for her decision to belong to no one but herself. Well done 🙂 Oh, BTW – cats rule. I have five of them ????

Last edited 10 months ago by Carrie OLeary
Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
10 months ago

Hello, Rebecca. Nice to see and read your writing again here in Voice club. Great story and concept for the theme “belong”. In situations like this, we really can’t help but feel awkward and stressed. Too hard, but I am happy to know the decision of your protagonist to belong only to herself. Good job. 

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Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
Reply to  Rebecka Pettersson
10 months ago

You’re most welcome, Rebecka.

Piyali Ganguli
Piyali Ganguli(@piyali-ganguli)
10 months ago

It is a very good decision that Rose makes. She is a powerful woman. The rose will be known for her fragrance. She does not really need a sapling.

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Marianna Pieterse
Marianna Pieterse(@marianna-pieterse)
10 months ago

Rebecka, I enjoyed reading this. I could picture the family gathering so clearly. I very often find it to be an insensitive question to ask a person about when they are planning to have children, especially when asked in front of others. I have met so many people who would love to have kids, but would not necessarily want to disclose to the whole world that there may be medical reasons why it might not be possible. Others might just not want to have children. The same goes for asking a person when they are planning to get married. I think a person should ‘earn the right’ to ask such a question, by actually being involved in that person’s life and asking from a point of caring, not just trying to force your expectations on them. This is a great story.

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