Painted Black

Welcome to Friday Fictioneers, when writers from around the world post 100-word stories based on a photo prompt provided on Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ blog. This week’s photo is from anelelphantcant.

The old bicycle in the photo looks well-loved, like there is a long story behind it.  I hope I have done justice to it in my 100 words. The bike has obviously travelled through many years.  But despite its very visible wear, it is still valued, like an old friend or family member. (Hmmm… there’s a metaphor for my life in there somewhere, but that’s a story for another day.)

As always, I encourage you to read other Friday Fictioneers’ work by clicking the link that appears below my story.

Painted Black

by Jan Brown

Jenny found my old bicycle in the basement. She painted it black. She painted everything black after I died. Her room had black walls. Her lamps had black shades. Her nails had black polish.

She refused to put a new seat on the bike. She said it was a sacrilege to replace any part of her big brother’s bike. Like she believes my soul lives in the rusted metal of the frame, the unraveling leather of the seat, the bald rubber of the tires.

That’s what I thought, too, when I rode the old bike. It used to be Dad’s.



48 thoughts on “Painted Black

  1. You’ve just described my mother’s jersey, that I’m wearing right now. Can’t bear to part with it.

  2. Grief transforms. I understand this very well. You did a great job with this one. (Though I secretly was waiting for you to say that she’d painted her red door black, but that’s just the Stones fan in me)

    • Thank you, Helena!

      The Stones’ song actually would have been a good addition to the post, but its mood is a little darker than I wanted. Regardless, I have a feeling I’ll be hearing it in my muddled brain the rest of the day 🙂

  3. Poignant story. Louise de Lorraine mourned her husband King Henry III so much she had her bedroom at the chateau de Chenonceau painted black with white feathers. Spooky room! There are pictures of it on Google. I still have the black bike leathers that belonged to one of my late brothers. He died at 22. I have tried to give these away to charity. Can’t. Ann

    • Thank you, Ann. I’m very sorry your brother’s life was cut short. It’s lovely that you have a personal remembrance, and I appreciate your sharing that.

  4. A lovely story Jan, liked the way it was told by the dead brother – yet another unusual take on the prompt. I love the way the bike has been passed down through the family, gots lots of stories I guess

  5. sweet, sad, emotional, tragic. excellent tale! and reminded me too of a little phase i went through during my pre-teen years when i painted the walls of my room all in black. and i love too that it was told by the dead brother. 🙂

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