...our GIFs were stellar

Submitted into Contest #34 in response to: Write a story told entirely through text messages or emails.... view prompt



Text thread: Amy, Julia, Holly, Karen


Amywhat does Dave’s post mean?

Julia: I wondered the same

Karen: I didn’t see it… 

Amy: he wrote – for those who know: good news

Karen: what DOES that mean?

Amy: I’m going to contact Dave.  I’ll get back to you


Amy: Dave said Sue has cervical cancer.  She’s been undergoing treatment for 8 months and got a good report yesterday.  She’s in remission.  

Holly: I had no idea about anything

Julia: me neither

Karen: I haven’t really spoken to them since Julia’s wedding 12 years ago… I mean aside from a casual chat on Facebook.  Do you think we should go visit?

Amy: I actually mentioned getting together when I was texting with Dave.

Julia: a brunch in York?

Holly: sounds good to me just let me know the details

Karen: we could swing by 228 and relive the memories, can you believe it’s been 25 years since we all lived there?

Text thread: Amy, Dave, Holly, Julia, Karen, Sue

Amy: I started this thread so we can arrange our date

Karen: good thinking Amy… you’re my hero

Amy: lol

Holly: what are we thinking?

Dave: Amy and I talked about meeting for brunch next Sunday – is everybody free?

Sue: yep

Dave: we know you are Sue – we planned it around you

Dave: she just gave me the finger

Karen: hahaha ain’t love grand…. Yep I can be there

Julia: I’m free

Amy: it’s on my calendar already

Holly: I’ll have to see if Eric can handle the boys for the afternoon.  And if I rearrange my Scouts meeting and skip the 2nd part of mass I can make it…

Text thread: Amy, Julia, Karen


Karen: has Holly always been this much of a pain in the ass?  A simple yes would suffice

Amy: lol

Julia: the 3 of us should go the night before and have a secret hangout session

Karen: ooooooh I’m in

Amy: me too!!! I’ll get us a room

Karen: meanwhile, I almost sent that message in a thread that Holly is part of

*Julia changed the name of the conversation to “simmer down Holly”*

Julia: I named this thread so none of us makes that mistake

Text thread: Amy, Dave, Holly, Julia, Karen, Sue


Dave: we have a 10:00 reservation

Karen: can’t wait! 

Holly: I might be a little late.  Eric needs help with getting the boys ready for church.  Start without me I’ll be there by 10:15 or so depending on traffic. If I’m running really late, I’ll text.


Sue: thanks for an awesome day!  I’m sorry I had to get cervical cancer to reunite us!

Amy: we’re sorry too but maybe we wouldn’t have made the effort without a push.

Julia: it was a really fun day.  

Karen: I had a blast. I hate that we waited til one of us got sick but I’m glad we made time for it.  We’re all here for you and Dave, anything you need.  I can’t wait to see you all next month.

Holly: It was great seeing everybody.  Until I got home - Eric and the boys had destroyed the house and I had to clean up! Heading off to my Scouts meeting.  See you next month.

Text thread: Amy, Holly, Julia, Karen

Amy: I thought Sue looked great, but you can really see the worry in Dave’s eyes.

Karen: yeah, it was tough for me to look at him

Julia: can you imagine what he’s feeling? They’ve been together since sophomore year of college… they moved into 228 together – what year was that? ’91?

Karen: yep – that was the only year the 6 of us all lived there.

Holly: he looked sad, but Sue looked unfazed

Amy: typical Sue

Text thread: Amy, Dave, Holly, Julia, Karen, Sue


Sue: Had a great time again yesterday!  I love our brunch dates!  I’m so excited for New Orleans.  

Karen: me tooooooo. Just sorry I can’t get there til Saturday!

Amy: we understand pharmacy owner friend.  We’ll miss you but if you get there early on Saturday, you’ll really only miss 1 day since we’re all flying in at separate times on Thursday.

Karen: my thoughts exactly

Julia: I love our brunch dates, too.  I’ve only had to miss 2 in the past 2 years.

Karen: slacker…..

Amy: lol

Dave: I’ve enjoyed my afternoons with you ladies… still my favorite group of non-male people…


Sue: we LOVE 2-D Karen!!!

Karen: hahahaha since I couldn’t be there until Saturday I thought you might like a life-sized version to have around.

Julia: it scared us when we walked in

Karen: my face has that affect…

Amy: how in the world did you get it in here?

Karen: I asked the home owner if I could mail it to her and have her set it up before you arrived… 

Holly: you’re a goofball!  Can’t wait to see you Saturday.


Karen: 3-D Karen is at the front door but nobody is answering… are you in there?  Or are you avoiding me on purpose?

Dave: we’ve decided we’re more fond of 2-D Karen…

Holly: I’m coming down the stairs now

Text thread: Amy, Holly, Julia, Karen


Julia: anybody else concerned about the back problems Sue was having in New Orleans?

Amy: yes!  I hate to say it but I think it’s cancer related

Holly: between Sue’s back and my foot blisters… 

Karen: Holly… only you would buy new shoes on the way to a sight-seeing vacation…

Holly: I know

Text thread: Simmer down Holly


*Julia renamed the conversation ‘toes and bandaids’*


Julia: you think Holly got all of those souvenirs unpacked yet?

Amy: lol it’s going to take a while

Karen: she literally had to buy a suitcase JUST for souvenirs… who the hell does that???? 

Julia: I wish she would’ve bought some walking sneakers

Amy: I told her too… I can’t imagine how messed up her feet are

Karen: how can one person be such a pain in the ass?

Amy: lol

Julia: I’d laugh if it weren’t so true

Karen: I mean she’s genuinely a good person, but she is just the personification of the word effort.

Text thread: Amy, Dave, Holly, Julia, Karen, Sue


Sue: well, I finally went to the doctor about the back pain

Karen: jumped right on that, huh Sue?

Dave: yeah… 7 months later

Amy: so what did they say?

Sue: it’s not good

Amy: oh no Sue…

Sue: the cancer is back.  It’s metastasized.  We are working on a plan but it’s pretty significant.

Text thread: toes and bandaids


Julia: I haven’t heard from Sue and Dave in a while…

Amy: I texted Dave yesterday.  He said Sue is doing ok.  The treatments are taking a toll, but Sue is facing it like she does everything – matter of fact and being strong for everybody else.

Karen: I’m in awe of her… she’s so blunt.  It’s unnerving and comforting at the same time.

Julia: I thought maybe we could meet up.  I didn’t include Holly because she’s got so much going on and it’s always so overwhelming with her…

Karen: agree… I love her with everything in me but sometimes I just want to visit without being talked AT for hours on end

Amy: so when are we free?  Sue is home all the time now and Dave has his schedule arranged for a lot of home time.

Karen: I’ll ask Dave if he can take off this Friday - does that work for you guys?  


Karen: Dave is good with Friday… do we want to stay over?

Amy: yeah let’s stay Friday night and leave early Saturday 

Julia: that’s good with me.


Karen: ok… just go with me on this – I’m going to “suggest a trip” on the other thread so that Holly doesn’t know we visited without her and discussed it…

Amy: gotcha

Julia: on it

Text thread: Amy, Dave, Holly, Julia, Karen, Sue


Karen: hey! We had so much fun in NOLA last year… wanna try for another trip?

Sue: yes!  I’ve always wanted to go to Tennessee

Karen: we were just in Pigeon Forge a few years ago – it was awesome.  We rented a beautiful cabin… I could look into it.

Holly: what time frame?

Amy: what about early November?

Julia: I can only request Nov 2-6 because of other vacations – I’ll have to put the request in soon

Dave: those dates are good with us

Holly: well Eagan has scouts and Declan will be playing football… Wilson will be between things but he’s working now so I’ll need to get everything set up.  But I think I can make it work…

Text thread: toes and bandaids


*Karen changed the name of the conversation to ‘who invited Holly’*


Text thread: Amy, Dave, Holly, Julia, Karen, Sue


Dave: sorry to be the bearer of bad news but I don’t think Sue will be able to travel to Tennessee

Sue: I can travel to Tennessee – Dave won’t ALLOW me to travel to Tennessee

Julia: now worries, we can all just go to my cabin in the Poconos.  It’s closer and free!

Karen: I’ll cancel our cabin.  Do you need anything Sue?

Sue: Dave… to quit hovering

Dave: it’s a curse

Amy: lol

Text thread: Amy, Holly, Julia, Karen


Amy: that does not sound good…

Julia: I thought the same

Karen: I think we have to play it by ear… we could always rent a hotel near them instead so that Sue doesn’t have to travel at all…

Holly: that’ll probably be what we have to do

Text thread: Amy, Dave, Holly, Julia, Karen, Sue


Dave: I hate to change up again but I don’t think Sue can even travel to the Poconos

Karen: oh no Dave… I’m sorry.

Dave: she’s really getting weak and we need to be close by in case of an emergency

Amy: oh Dave….

Karen: what if we get a hotel near you and visit for 3 days.  Sue can rest when she needs to and we can visit when she’s up for it… would that be ok?

Sue: I would love that!!!

Dave: I didn’t realize you were awake

Sue: how can I sleep with you staring at me

Dave: lol

Julia: we’ll see you Friday!

Text thread: Amy, Holly, Julia, Karen


Karen: I have a cold! !  I don’t know what to do…. I don’t have a fever but I’m coughing, sore throat, and sneezing… I hate to not be there tomorrow but I don’t think I should go…

Holly: stay home and see how you feel Saturday morning

Julia: I think it’s best to stay home until Saturday at least.  

Karen: I hate myself…….

Text thread: who invited Holly


Amy: you missed 2 hours of Holly arguing with Eric and the boys on speaker phone about where the scout uniforms are. 

Julia: she sat right in the middle of the living room – yelling.  

Karen: hahaha what is wrong with her???

Amy: how are you feeling? Do you think you’ll be better tomorrow?

Karen: I feel quite a bit better I chugged orange juice all day and slept.  It’ll be a game-time decision tomorrow

Text thread: Amy, Dave, Holly, Julia, Karen, Sue


Karen: hello friends… I feel much better but will leave it to Dave and Sue whether they want me and my infestation around.  I was coughing and sneezing Thursday, sore throat.  Yesterday I rested and started to feel better around 8p – today I feel good but am sure there’s still something lingering….

Dave: Sue’s not on chemo.  She decided to stop treatments so her immune system is intact – we have masks, too.  We’d like for you to come.

Sue: come see meeeeeeeeee

Karen: ok, I’m showered and ready to go – I’ll be there in a couple hours!

Text thread: Amy, Holly, Julia, Karen


Julia: I’m glad we went… 

Amy: it was tough to see at times

Karen: I love how open she is – there definitely is no elephant in the room.  When she told us she wouldn’t be around much longer and asked us to take care of Dave… god I almost lost it

Holly: it’s very sad

Amy: it’s amazing to see her face it with almost no fear

Julia: definitely no regrets

Karen: the pain in Dave’s eyes is gut-wrenching. I wish I could make it ok for him

Amy: I’m afraid we won’t get a chance to make good on the January visit

Text thread: Amy, Dave, Holly, Julia, Karen, Sue


Dave: ladies… Sue is in the hospital. She’s had a stroke.  Unfortuantely we won’t be able to entertain visitors until further notice… so our January group 50th birthday party will have to be postponed.

Karen: we love you Dave please tell Sue we love her

Amy: yes please

Text thread: Amy, Holly, Julia, Karen


Julia: I went to see Dave and Sue today.  Steve went with me.. it was spur of the moment

Karen: how did it go?

Julia: well, I had texted Dave to check up on them and he said, “if you want to visit – you’d better do it soon” so Steve happened to be off and we went… it’s not good

Amy: I can’t even imagine… 

Karen: can we all get there next week? 

Amy: I don’t think I can get a flight… I wish I didn’t have to move to Florida….

Karen: well I can go any day – just let me know 

Holly: I can’t do Monday or Tuesday, I have Wednesday free but I’d have to reschedule a cookbook meeting. I’m doing a fundraiser with the school and the deadline is approaching.  We have meetings on Thursday nights but I could do Thursday.  Fridays are my day to volunteer at the school from 9 til 11.  Just let me know….

Julia: I have off Thursday – does that work

Karen: works for me

Holly: my meeting was changed – I can be there by 3…

Text thread: who invited Holly


Julia: I wanted to BE HOME by 3…

Karen: yeah… I was thinking of visiting from like 10-2 or something.  If we visit at 3 I won’t be home til after 7…. Give me a minute…

Text thread: Amy, Holly, Julia, Karen


Karen: I have to be home early Thursday – anyway we could do morning Holly

Julia: I’m with Karen, I was planning to be there at 10 or so

Holly: do whatever you need to do, if I see you there great… if not I’ll just visit by myself.  I’d rather see you but it’s not imperative…

Text thread: Amy, Dave, Holly, Julia, Karen, Sue


Dave: I hate to bring you this news this way but… Sue passed last night.  It was peaceful.  She’s in a better place.  We love you.

Karen: Dave….. I’m so, so sorry.  I don’t have words….  We love you.

Amy: I’m sorry Dave.  Sue will always be with us.

Julia: We’re here for you.

Holly: I’m sorry Dave.  Would you still like for us to visit tomorrow?

Dave: thanks ladies.  We love you, too.  Let me see what today has in store. I’m a little overwhelmed.



Amy: that was a beautiful service Dave. Sue would have loved it.

Karen: it really was… it was everything Sue hoped for… you are amazing to be able to talk like you did…

Dave: thank you.  I didn’t want to fuck it up.  It was the last thing I could do for her.  She laid out every detail and I wanted it followed to a ‘t’.  It really was the best it could’ve possible been.  My only regret is not having a chance to visit with you all…

Julia: we understand, you and Sue have a lot of friends – they all wanted to be with you.

Holly: it was perfect and no need to apologize to us.

Text thread: Dave and Karen


Karen: just a friend check… I’m worried about you.  How are you holding up?

Dave: we’re still friends if that’s what you’re checking on… lol. I’m doing ok I guess. I’m devastated… I’ve only known love with Sue.  I don’t know how to be Dave… I’ve been Dave and Sue for so long.  I know I’m depressed, and I know I’m struggling.  I’m happy to have both kids home but at the same time I think about how much fun we could be having if she were with us… how much fun we SHOULD be having.  My whole world is gray and I’m not sure when the color will return…

Karen: Oh Dave… Sue was larger than life… when we had her here with us we reveled in that fact… with her gone we have a hole that can’t be filled.  It’s magnified for you… I promise you… the color will return – unexpectedly, for some reason without explanation but until that point – lean on us.  Call me, text me… just let me help you.  Don’t be sad alone…

Dave: thanks pal.  I promise to let you help….

March 27, 2020 20:56

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Lynn Penny
22:21 Apr 01, 2020

This was absolutely beautiful. The way you were able to represent such a significant story with only text dialogue was incredible.


Karen Iseminger
23:56 Apr 04, 2020

Thank you Corrie-lynn... sadly, it was a real-life event...


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Kassidy Barber
04:03 Mar 29, 2020

I love how real to life this is. The language is so natural to how we really talk when texting each other- down to the random caps, acronyms, and punctuation usage. And I definitely DIDN'T cry at the end.... ;)


Karen Iseminger
23:30 Mar 29, 2020

thank you Kassidy... art imitates life - I just took excerpts from actual, real-life text exchanges. Sue passed away 3 weeks ago...........


Kassidy Barber
07:03 Mar 30, 2020

I'm so sorry to hear that. I'm glad you were able to channel your feelings through a wonderful piece of writing.


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