Exercising the craft—September 14, 2015

By Ekta R. Garg

Prompt: If only… I think we’d have used this phrase at least once in our life. I wonder how it will come in your posts today.

What does the phrase “If only…” inspire in you? You can use it as the title of your post, or begin your post with it, even end it with that phrase. Have fun.



Clarissa had had no idea so many people would regret when she died. If she had, she might have fought to stay alive. It would have given her the satisfaction of making them squirm a little longer.

But a woman’s got to give in some time. The day she died everyone knew she’d finally met her match. That something managed to outdo her in the stubbornness department.

If only the old bat had given in ten years ago, her daughter-in-law thought as she put out the three casseroles the neighbors had insisted on bringing. We could have gotten the house sooner. What good is it going to do us now that the kids are in college?

If only I hadn’t fought so hard when Mom wanted to set me up with Mr. Davidson’s daughter, her son thought. I wouldn’t have to deal with Barbara’s nagging. God, with the kids gone now it’s just me and her. How am I going to survive it being just the two of us?

If only Clarissa had had the sense to go before Harold, her neighbor thought, flashing a sympathetic smile at what was supposed to be the grieving family. She approached the end of the buffet table and moved a few things around to look busy, nodded at some of the other neighbors who came to offer their condolences. I would have had him eating out of my hand inside of a month, and the silver tea service would have been mine.

If only I’d told her how I felt, the elderly gentleman from her congregation thought as he stared at a family photo on the wall. His anger brimmed as easily as the tears in the corners of his eyes, and he pulled a handkerchief out of his pocket. He’d lent the hanky to Clarissa once when the pastor had preached a particularly moving message during a week of revival. She’d returned it after washing, drying, and ironing it. He stopped using all of his other handkerchiefs. If only I’d asked her to dinner or the movies or something. We could have…I could have…

If only I could have asked Grandma about Steve, the older granddaughter thought, staring out of the kitchen window at the back of the house. If only I could have told her how much I loved her oatmeal raisin cookies. And how much it meant to me when she sent me that care package last month. And about the credit card receipt from that hotel in Mom’s purse. Who am I going to talk to now?

It didn’t matter how many sighs passed through her lungs. The granddaughter couldn’t seem to lighten the weight that pressed on her chest. She thought again about the fact that she’d never feel her grandmother press her into a hug and sat down at the breakfast table with tears running down her cheeks.