Flash Friday Fiction: First Person Jury

First Woman Jury, Los Angeles, Nov 1911. PD photo by Library of Congress.
First Woman Jury, Los Angeles, Nov 1911. PD photo by Library of Congress.

First Person Jury – 208 words

I rub my fingers over the photo, again and again. At first it drew me for the fashions. The cinched waists. The long dresses. The woman with the hat that resembled a cake. I was grateful I live in an era of greater freedom.

But now I can’t stop looking at the woman in the back. The one who avoided the camera. Lips in a line, eyebrows up. Was it intentional, her avoidance? What was she hiding?

Someone had scrawled First Woman Jury, Los Angeles across the top of the picture.

They were there to pass judgment on somebody else. Yet I feel certain she’d already judged herself, that woman in the back. Found herself wanting. Convicted and condemned.

Maybe I’m projecting.

I study the woman in the front row, the one with the baleful eyes and defiant expression. It’s as if she knows. She knows what I’ve done. They all know. Family. Friends. Neighbors.

I can make all the excuses I want, but I’m the one who made the decision. I’m the one who did it.

Clutching the photo, the one I’d found in that second-hand suitcase, I realize the woman in the back and I are the same.

Trapped in prisons of our own making.

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Flash refers to the length of the story (in FF’s case, 200 +/-10), not the amount of time it takes to write said story. Unless one is writing on a deadline (meaning I had ten minutes before I had to drive the carpool to school). So this is what I dashed out, based on the prompt and the idea of struggle/man vs self. What do you think?

Traipse on over to Flash Friday Fiction to read other entries, or perhaps contribute one of your own!

2 Replies to “Flash Friday Fiction: First Person Jury”

  1. Wow. So potent in only a few words. Love it. Of course back then women weren’t supposed to smile for the camera; they were supposed to look serious. Only loose women grinned at a camera while getting their photo taken. This group doesn’t look very loose to me!

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