Embracing Epiphanies

Rita Bourland

Rita Bourland
Columbus, Ohio,
August 04
I have three sons in their twenties and have been married for 35 years. Life is good. I embrace life's epiphanies as they come to me and pass them along in my writing.


MARCH 25, 2011 9:32AM

Fiction Friday IV - Open Call - Shifting Sands

Rate: 14 Flag


  Shifting Sands

I never knew the truth until today.  I had often wondered, been slightly confused, and even bemused by my family.  Maybe I didn’t want to know or maybe I was afraid of the truth.  Truth can be so clear, so defined, with sharp angular edges jutting out like shards of glass.  I like soft, subtle shading with ill-defined edges possibly aided by a glass of red wine, jazz on the radio and a shimmering sunset.

I didn’t look like anyone in my family – blue eyed, blonde hair, fair skinned, left-handed.  How could I belong to this group of brown-eyed, brown-haired, right-handed people? 

 My sisters fed the beast by telling me frequently I had been left on the doorstep and was taken in by our family.  They told me this story mostly so I would cry and they could comfort me, wiping away my tears while they said, “But it’s not true.  We love you and you are one of us.”  But I was never sure.

 When I took high school biology and we studied genetics, I became quite absorbed with recessive genes and how I ended up with blue eyes.  I discovered that blue-eyed grandparents had fed the trait and I breathed a little easier.  Maybe I really did belong.  Maybe I was just special.

For years, I was consoled by the proof of high school genetics, but then one day a letter arrived asking if I was interested in meeting my birth mother.  What in the heck did that mean?  I shuddered and realized I had been duped by my family.  I was adopted and the truth had been revealed by a thin little letter arriving in my mailbox on a cloudy day in May. 

So, who did I belong to?  Who were my people?  I wasn’t sure I wanted to meet this stranger claiming to be my mother.  I wasn’t sure I could withstand the shards of glass that might cut my fragile life in two - the life I had so carefully built out of blocks of sand.  Somehow I had suspected a stiff wind or raging storm might blow my house down and it finally had.  The shaking earth and shifting sands pulled me to a distant shore where genetics proved to be stronger than that which I had known as truth before I knew the truth.

Below you will find links to all the other participants in Fiction Friday IV.  Please send me a PM if you would like you link to appear here.  


Felicia Lee




Out on a limb

Susie Lindau

Cheryl Snell

Rei Momo

Naomi de Plume

Alysa Salzberg


Fred Hallman


Sarah Smile

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The shifting values of memory and chance. Yes the shifting sand erases and exposes all things in it's own way and time.
Great story and it hits close to home with me, real close!
So true, Algis. The first part of this story is true. I don't look like anyone in my family and my sisters did used to tease me in exactly that way, but the rest is fiction. I'm glad you liked it.
scanner, I am actually a huge proponent of adoption, but I have always wondered what that feels like for the person discovering the truth, especially if it comes later in life. That is why I wrote about it today.
Nicely done Rita! Love the picture!
I'm sure it feels just like the sand shifted beneath your feet and everything you knew is different. You nailed it!
This is your best ever! I love your comparison to the sand.
I felt I was that person. I look just like my father so there is no doubt but I often wondered as a child.
Rated with hugs
It's that age old dream of children angry with their parents. Maybe I'm adopted, and my real parents the "nice ones" will come and take me away.
Confirmation puts the final period at the end of one's suspicion, and shifts the sands for certain leaving no room for an escape of 'maybe'. You've illustrated this poignantly, Rita.
Many times after a beating by my father who carried on the curse from his father, I felt, no, I knew I was adopted. That never was the case.

Good read...indeed!
I added two lines to my story. The comments I got seemed to want an ending or a few more facts. I love OS. I learn so much here.
A stranger and afraid in a world I never made. Got it. Good story, Rita.
Two thoughts:

1. This was very thought-provoking and I love how you describe the protagonist's preferred kind of truth.

2. Whoa. Our pieces for this week's Fiction Friday are very different, but there are some major similarities in the conflicts of our characters! Really, really strange coincidence...great minds think alike!
This is so interesting to me. I wonder if kids do know, on some deeper level, when their family isn't their biological family. Like something just doesn't fit. Good story.
That sounded so real.r
So exquisitely well-written, Rita. I love your stories and your idea for Fiction Friday. Many thanks for sharing your immense talents. I feel so enriched to know you. Rated
I am thrilled with all the wonderful posts today. What a talented group of writers. I will be commenting on everyone's post - it turned out to be a busy day for me so I'm a little bit late. Thank you to everyone who participated either by writing, reading and/or commenting.
zanelle, I have a feeling many people feel like the sand is shifting when hearing this kind of news. It takes a while to adjust and regain one's footing. Thanks for your kind comment.

Thanks Satori! Thanks to google images for the photo!

What a nice comment Susie. Much appreciated!

Linda, I'm glad you found a little something to relate to. I have a feeling we all feel a little out of place in our own families at times.

Out on a limb, I suppose it is a bit like that.

FusunA, yes the maybe disappears and the truth is there to behold.

Blinddream, I'm sorry if this stirred up unhappy memories, but I'm glad you enjoyed the story.

Very specific, Naomi, the north side of a tree. I suppose he lived on the south side!
zanelle, OS is a great place to learn. You take the best from it and make it your own!

Thanks, Leon.

Alysa, I do see the small parallels in our stories but yours is much more fully fleshed out. If any of you haven't read Alysa's yet, please head that way.

Rei Momo, I suspect there are many kids that sense something doesn't feel right. I think nowadays people tell their adopted children quite early so they can talk about it and deal with the feelings that come up.

Thank you, hugs me

Michelle, your kind words are deeply appreciated.
What a great piece...poignant and moving. Just when you think you have it all figured out.
So very true, Sarah!
Such a richness to your imagery in this piece -- very evocative. Very well done and, yes, I say this everyone but it's always true!, wouldn't mind seeing this grow into a longer piece.