There, There Marianne

It’s Friday, and that means a short story based on a writing prompt by ViewFromTheSide’s Blog. This week’s theme is “Happiness.” To see more entries click HERE and visit ViewFromTheSide.


There, There Marianne

By Rita Baker-Schmidt

English: A photo of a small green Budgerigar f...

English: A photo of a small green Budgerigar feather  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“There, There. Maaaaarianne….There, There. Maaaaarianne….There, There. Maaaaarianne….”

Today is the day I am going to get up out of this bed, go over to that bird-cage and kill that stupid parrot.

“There, There. Maaaaarianne….”

He can not help it, I suppose. He is a PARROT after all. He is only doing what parrots do. But it is hard enough enduring the genuine compassion of my sister’s hushed alto 200 times a day. I really can not stand this squawking avian imitation.

“There, There. Maa–.”

Ah,ha! a well-aimed slipper has temporarily silenced the screecher. I take a sigh of relief.


For the record I do not wish to be consoled (neither by human nor bird).

I have been wronged and I intend to wallow in the depths of misery as gloriously as I revelled in the delights of the love that caused it.

That is my role in this little drama, after all. I am “the E M O T I O N I A L one.”  I wear my heart on my sleeve. My mood floats like feeling filled flotsam in a sea of angst.

If you want stability, strength, restraint? Pray… look to my sister. She will not disappoint.

But I am none of those things. I am weak… a wreck… a ruin. Love has turned her starry eyes else where and she shall never look my way again.

And now I cry, of course. Sighing… moaning… tears are soaking the bed-clothes.

“There, There. Maaaaarianne….”

There is a gentle knock on the door. “Go AWAY!”

Why do I bother to say it? Why do they even bother to knock? They’ll just come in any way — tempting me with their strawberries or olives or advice.

But this is some one new. some one I have never met before. Yet…there is something familiar about this small woman.

“Good morning Marianne.” She moves to the window and sits down at the small writing desk. She pulls a stack of paper from her satchel. Sharpens a quill. She opens the inkwell.

“But-what-who?” I say with incoherent surprise.

“There, there, Marianne.” She tells me, “Everything will be alright. You are going through a rough patch right now, but things will turn out just right in the end.”

She puts the nib of the quill into the inkwell then holds it at the ready over the paper. She stares at the middle distance and thinks.

English: Quill pen

English: Quill pen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The parrot fills the silence with his familiar refrain.

“There, There. Maaaaarianne….”

“Well, we can lose the bird for one thing. ” She leafs through the stack of papers and pulls out a sheet.

“There, There. Maaa—….”

As she crosses out something on the paper the bird goes silent. With a few scribbles she  transforms it from a medium-sized, multi-colored parrot to three bright green song birds.  She continues to write as she says out loud ” Song birds singing Q U I E T L Y–” their volume goes down several notches ” in the corner.”

She looks at me. “Better?”

I nod.

“Alright, my dear, you have been moping about on the page for quite a long time now — and you’ve been doing the same in my head for a good deal longer. What am I going to do with you?”

Belatedly I realized that she has shifted from the rhetorical, and now actually expects an answer. “Oh,” I sniffle, “I , uh, I want what everybody wants.” I tell her, “I want to be happy.”

She smiles shyly under her bonnet. “You WILL be happy, dearest.” She gives me a little wink, like she’s got that part worked out. “In the end, I promise you.”

“It doesn’t feel like it.” I say gloomily.

She shrugs, “Well, I have a few hundred more pages to go, but we’ll get there.”

It occurs to me that this woman might be touched in the head. Or maybe I am — am I hallucinating?

“Marianne, know your own happiness. You want nothing but patience–“

Here I interrupt her, “If you want patience you’ll have to see my sister Elinor.”

“Very well, give it a more fascinating name, call it hope.”  She smiles, “You can hope, can’t you?”

Hope. That sounds like an appropriately romantic notion. I can wrap my arms around that and hug it to my heart. “And you can really do it — make me happy in the end?”

She raises an eyebrow. “You saw what I did with the bird didn’t you?”

Women in Empire Gowns

Women in Empire Gowns (Photo credit: Lea Ann Belter Bridal)


To read my other entries from previous prompts click HERE to read Rabbit Hole Island or HERE to read The Handels a Saga or HERE to read Emergency Exit Strategy


About ritalovestowrite

Freelance writer, graphic designer, musician, foodie and Jane Austen enthusiast in Northern Baltimore County, Maryland. As a writer I enjoy both fiction and non fiction (food, travel and local interest stories.) As an advocate for the ARTS, one of my biggest passions is helping young people find a voice in all the performing arts. To that end it has been my honor to give one-on-one lessons to elementary, middle and high school students in graphic design and music. And as JANE-O I currently serve as the regional coordinator for JASNA Maryland and am working on a Regency/Federal cooking project. View all posts by ritalovestowrite

2 responses to “There, There Marianne

  • SidevieW


    I dread the thought that some demented person somewhere is writing my life, laughing wildly as they watch me laugh, dance, cry, try, succeed, fail, try again, write and press delete, write and press publish…..

  • Rita

    One can only hope the writer by the window has a Col. Brandon in mind for us!

    Thank you for another wonderful afternoon/evening of writing. My family must wonder what comes over me as grab my pencil and marble top note book and say…”I’ve got a prompt. I’ve got to write!” 🙂

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