Strangers at Heart (flash fiction)  

Anne wanted to punch Claudia in the face. They were doing dishes after a mostly silent dinner of tuna noodle casserole and canned Le Sueur peas. Claudia was babysitting while their parents went to see The Carpenters at the Rose Theater. It was the first time they were alone together. 

Claudia was Anne's cousin, but she was older, like an Aunt. Claudia said that Anne's mom was the “oops-baby.”  Claudia’s mom and Ellen were mostly grown and gone by the time Anne's mom came along. That is why she felt so strongly about having Anne. She didn’t want Melissa to grow up as an only.
 
As Anne washed and Claudia dried, Anne told her about the A she had gotten on her math test. She was proud of that A. It was hard earned. Math had never come easily, and she had never gotten an A before. Math was always the subject that marred her shining report card.
 
Instead of acknowledging her effort, or being happy for her, Claudia said, “Math is so easy. I don’t know why it is hard for you. I always got an A in math.” Anne tried to get Claudia to understand how much she had studied, and how hard she had worked, and how significant the grade was to her, but Claudia just kept repeating over and over again that math was easy.
 
Anne could feel anger growing in her jaw, and in her fist. In that moment, she hated her. She knew Claudia would always be in her life. Family is like that. She would be at holiday dinners and family celebrations, and she knew there would be a few more years of being babysat, but she also knew that they would always be strangers at heart.
 
Anne didn’t hit her that day. She wasn’t a hitter, but she thought about it. In time, the anger she felt grew into tolerance, and then indifference, finally accepting that family doesn’t always feel like home. 

10 comments

  • Ale

    Ale Rome

    It's beautiful, everytime I am completely caught by reading your stories. My sincere compliments for the deserved success you are having! Ale

    It's beautiful, everytime I am completely caught by reading your stories. My sincere compliments for the deserved success you are having!

    Ale

  • Denise Moser

    Denise Moser

    Thanks Ale! I appreciate that, and I love that my stories touch you. Thanks for commenting and for believing in me. When I write my stories, I never know how they will be received. It is good to know they have found a home with you. Thanks for reading along.

    Thanks Ale! I appreciate that, and I love that my stories touch you. Thanks for commenting and for believing in me. When I write my stories, I never know how they will be received. It is good to know they have found a home with you. Thanks for reading along.

  • Alisa

    Alisa

    Thanks for a thought-provoking story, as always-- and your new branding style is so beautiful! The artist really captured the feeling of your music, I love the colors and textures. I'll be looking forward to seeing the rest as you unveil it. You are awesome!!! xo

    Thanks for a thought-provoking story, as always-- and your new branding style is so beautiful! The artist really captured the feeling of your music, I love the colors and textures. I'll be looking forward to seeing the rest as you unveil it. You are awesome!!! xo

  • Denise Moser

    Denise Moser

    Thanks Alisa! I am glad you liked the story, and the branding. I felt like I was cheating on you with a new artist. :) I always love what you create for me too. I am grateful. I look forward to showing you the rest! Thanks for commenting. Much appreciated...

    Thanks Alisa! I am glad you liked the story, and the branding. I felt like I was cheating on you with a new artist. smile I always love what you create for me too. I am grateful. I look forward to showing you the rest! Thanks for commenting. Much appreciated...

  • Alisa

    Alisa

    I also meant to say how much I enjoyed your new videos on FB, and I LOVE that new song "I Want to be Your Dog" (definitely not the Stooges' version). Thanks for being such an inspiring friend!!!!

    I also meant to say how much I enjoyed your new videos on FB, and I LOVE that new song "I Want to be Your Dog" (definitely not the Stooges' version). Thanks for being such an inspiring friend!!!!

  • Denise Moser

    Denise Moser

    I didn't know there was a Stooges song with that name! Thanks Alisa... I am so glad you liked the videos and I thank you for cheering me on. You inspire me too my friend...

    I didn't know there was a Stooges song with that name! Thanks Alisa... I am so glad you liked the videos and I thank you for cheering me on. You inspire me too my friend...

  • Bryan Abes

    Bryan Abes Kennett Square, Pennsylvania

    Hey! Interesting story. Its really nice to hear your voice reading it also. There is one connection I can make between this story and my own Experiance. math used to be by far my weakest subject of all. Then one year, I became very interested in it, and with my hard work and determination to strengthen my skills, it became my strongest within a few short years,And to this day, I am able to teach myself any kind of math from algebra 1 to calculus. Hard work and determination are pretty much what it took to get me where I am with my music playing today, and you also had a little something to do with it too(:

    Hey! Interesting story. Its really nice to hear your voice reading it also. There is one connection I can make between this story and my own Experiance. math used to be by far my weakest subject of all. Then one year, I became very interested in it, and with my hard work and determination to strengthen my skills, it became my strongest within a few short years,And to this day, I am able to teach myself any kind of math from algebra 1 to calculus. Hard work and determination are pretty much what it took to get me where I am with my music playing today, and you also had a little something to do with it too(:

  • Denise Moser

    Denise Moser

    Bryan, what I have learned about you, is that you can do whatever you set your mind to. I am glad you could relate with my story. Thanks so much for reading along (or should I say listening this time...)

    Bryan, what I have learned about you, is that you can do whatever you set your mind to. I am glad you could relate with my story. Thanks so much for reading along (or should I say listening this time...)

  • harry d

    harry d maine

    i love tuna noodle casserole. now i'm hungry. i am envious of Anne's ability to have..."the anger she felt grew into tolerance, and then indifference." For that to happen is a blessing i believe. i struggle with the indifference piece. i feel those insulting remarks way too much sometimes and hold onto it. It takes work to turn my brain to something else when those thoughts come up. What i would rather do is remember it's their 'stuff' not mine. And that 'what others think of me is none of my business.' i don't know why Claudia had to compensate for something irritating in her life by being rude and uncompassionate towards Anne. Anne rocks. i like the new look. the musical notation logo appeals to my creative side alot. well done Ale! Winter? is that what all that snow is doing outside my doors and windows; being winter. i love it! there's about 3 feet outside. my neighbors car is completely covered. i couldnt get out of my apartment a couple days ago. the plow guy just happened to get out of his truck and i was able to get his attention and he cleared a spot in front of my door so i could open it enuf to push my skinniness thru and outside. i love a cold white winter, especially snow days.

    i love tuna noodle casserole. now i'm hungry. i am envious of Anne's ability to have..."the anger she felt grew into tolerance, and then indifference." For that to happen is a blessing i believe. i struggle with the indifference piece. i feel those insulting remarks way too much sometimes and hold onto it. It takes work to turn my brain to something else when those thoughts come up. What i would rather do is remember it's their 'stuff' not mine. And that 'what others think of me is none of my business.' i don't know why Claudia had to compensate for something irritating in her life by being rude and uncompassionate towards Anne. Anne rocks.
    i like the new look. the musical notation logo appeals to my creative side alot. well done Ale!
    Winter? is that what all that snow is doing outside my doors and windows; being winter. i love it! there's about 3 feet outside. my neighbors car is completely covered. i couldnt get out of my apartment a couple days ago. the plow guy just happened to get out of his truck and i was able to get his attention and he cleared a spot in front of my door so i could open it enuf to push my skinniness thru and outside. i love a cold white winter, especially snow days.

  • Denise Moser

    Denise Moser

    Hi Harry! Anne did better with it than I did too. Her transition from anger to tolerance, and then indifference took years in my mind. I love what Ale did with the logo and the graphic too. There is more! I will be rolling them out over time. The logo will stay the same, but there are other images. I love snow, but I never saw as much as you are describing. (For anyone reading this, today's newsletter talked about winter...) I am glad you got rescued. Thanks for always reading along. It is appreciated...

    Hi Harry! Anne did better with it than I did too. Her transition from anger to tolerance, and then indifference took years in my mind.
    I love what Ale did with the logo and the graphic too. There is more! I will be rolling them out over time. The logo will stay the same, but there are other images.
    I love snow, but I never saw as much as you are describing. (For anyone reading this, today's newsletter talked about winter...) I am glad you got rescued.
    Thanks for always reading along. It is appreciated...

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