Versions of Love

Submitted into Contest #108 in response to: Write about a person or object vanishing into thin air.... view prompt


American Sad Drama

Small, rounded, sweet, with promise she enters our world. She is loved and loves. Held, cradled, protected always within her mother’s view. She is raised with dignity and pride. Her mom and dad set foot here in our world in 1909. Here in America with new beginnings and dreams of a life of safety and bountiful amounts of food and money and work.


Austria was not safe, so he fled. Poland was not safe, so she fled. She was 7 when her mother passed away. Her father took her 2 siblings to America. She stayed behind as there was not enough money for her passage. She would work and live with a family in Warsaw until such time that funds could be sent for her voyage to America.

He (her eventual husband) arrived at Ellis Island with his mother and 6 brothers and sisters.

They meet and marry in 1925.

The couple along with many Eastern European Jews settled on the lower east side of Manhattan in tenement apartments.

He was able to find work in a factory as a tailor. She worked in a local bakery. She married him because he had a lovely mother. She longed for a mother and because of her longing, she chose him. She reunited with her family already here and living with their dad and new stepmom within the same neighborhood.

She was schooled till 10.  She was quite capable in all tasks. Her English language skills, along with reading and writing were excellent. She was strong and prideful. She believed in her external beauty and used it to her advantage. She was cunning and manipulative, with a sweet and caring air. She did not know how to obtain her dreams, but she understood how to convey her strategies to her baby girl. She taught her girl that beauty was an answer. And that working to please men was an answer. Find the rich, successful ones, flirt, and make them love you. She was good at it. Her child had a different psyche.

The baby's father couldn't offer his daughter love or a healthier understanding toward male- female relationships as he made it known that he hated fathering a female. A female made him feel small. A female is weak and defenseless. Men are to be revered and if he had a boy, he would have been looked upon as a man of great strength and character.

Their little girl now filled with wounds, as the feeling of the pure and uncomplicated love once felt from her mother were now buried. She grew carrying her parents’ burdens. She was not pretty enough. She was not smart enough. She was not strong enough and therefore could not satisfy her parents empty and punishing strategies.

Her intellect was emotionally diminished by her conflicting parents. Her mother grew to hate her father and he learned to feel the same in reciprocation. Her values confused. Her morals compromised by her mothers’ teachings, but deep down she did not agree with her mothers’ ideals. Allowing those thoughts to surface was prohibited then.

Their little girl now a woman, met a young man, who loved her very much. He loved her not for her beauty, not for her brains, he just loved her for her. He too had needs that were skewed based on his early life, but he was determined to gain knowledge and live better and figure it all out with her.

They married in 1949 and grew together as best they could. This new world of industry with possibilities for wealth among the masses was becoming more and more realistic. Perhaps no gold paved the streets in 1909 but now in 1960, America was changing.

They had 2 children together and moved to the suburbs of New York City. This is where they developed their styles and mindsets. As they prospered financially leaving their parents ideals behind, they grew together developing a style of riches and materialism. Her beauty was adjusted as money buys all, and she started to adopt some of her early teachings. Now that beauty was hers, she saw the practical benefits of what her mother was trying to teach her. Her husband loved his wife’s new appearance, and she loved her new self, all the while maintaining the little girl struggles deep in her mind. Her newfound beauty could not erase all the conflict that still lived within her sole.

They had a little girl and a little boy. The boy was troubled, distant, inconsolable from birth. He grew to possess a type of narcissism that alienated him from meaningful relationships until he met his wife, who saw in him a neediness that she could ultimately gain from.

The daughter was self-possessed and rebelled against the materialism and mindset of her parents’ generation. All the while, the parents were loving and caring and devoted to seeing their children’s lives prosper. They offered financial support to the exclusion of emotional support. They loved their children and believed that they were offering their children the world, but their world was so closed and misdirected that they believed money was the best answer to all issues.

The brother and sister relationship ripped apart over money. They no longer speak.

The father died leaving the mother, his best friend, the young woman that he saved from that dysfunctional home on the lower east side, all alone. She needed him to tell her what to think, what opinion to have, what to wear, what to say, she just couldn’t live without him. He gave her, her identity. She slowly started making odd choices. She slowly started losing her speech. Her mind, her voice, her identity, gone. She, that round, soft, sweet little baby protected in her mother’s arms 90 years ago, has gone. Yet, she is here. I can see her. But she has no words, she has no thoughts, she has no opinions, she has no abilities. I hold her in my arms, I tell her that I love her, I hold her hand, I feed her, I think for her, I kiss her head. She smiles.

August 25, 2021 16:26

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19:11 Sep 15, 2021

Beautifully written! I was really in the story. And it's true: sometimes things change for worse... I liked your story a lot. I caught me.


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Claudio Murgia
16:35 Sep 03, 2021

I enjoyed the style foremost. The language used is so contemporary, almost capitalistic, to tell a story spanning almost a century. "English language skills" is an example of terminology that didn't belong to the age it describes. I find the contrast captivating. And I have to admit, I do not remember ever reading a three-generation family saga condensed in such a short space.


Noelle C. Lee
12:54 Sep 04, 2021

I am so grateful for your comments- can you elaborate on capitalistic? I’m a bit green to this and it would be very helpful. I experimented with a summary told in a poetic style… wasn’t sure how it would translate….


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