Not For The Amenities

Photo prompt © Jean L. Hays


“Lush, ain’t it?” The sixteen-year-old shivered in her short jacket.

Frosty patches dotted the monochrome shrubbery. She nudged one with her sneaker. “So, why exactly did you choose this godforsaken nothingness for your midlife crisis? Couldn’t have been the view, or the amenities.”

It’s fixable, Branden thought but said nothing. He’d worry more if Lizzie didn’t quip. And anyway, he knew she knew why they’d had to move.

Lizzie sniffed. He offered a tissue but she leaned into him, seeking a rare hug.

“Mama would’ve loved it here,” she whispered. “Even if we hadn’t lost everything to the medical bills.”



For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers Challenge



47 thoughts on “Not For The Amenities

    • Yes, alas too true, and until elected officials in this country listen to the DEMAND of the people (who voted, overwhelmingly, to keep the ACA and healthcare for all, and work to fix the problems with the ACA instead of dismantling healthcare protections) – many Americans would continue to be one illness away from losing everything, one accident away from homelessness, one prescription away from impossible decisions — life for them or food for their family.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t argue with that. It was a (flawed, but given the circumstances and deliberately heaped obstacles. compromise) stop in the general right direction toward universal healthcare. It’s an improvement on what was before, but absolutely not an optimal situation–lots more to do to improve on it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Some taboos have lifted some, at least in some cultures, yes. That is a good thing to remember. Lots more to do to shed light on the realities lived by too many in too much unneeded sorrow, but yes, social activism and work for social change has allowed some things that our grandmothers couldn’t have shared, to be spoken about now.

        While this story isn’t about domestic violence or childhood sexual abuse or sexual assaults, it never fails to jar me that until very few decades ago, it was legal in some US States to rape one’s wife, and that there are STILL many places in the US where a rapist can claim custody of a child who is the product of rape (even while in most of the same states, a rapist cannot be filed against for child support). So … we’ve got some work to do still.
        Such as with women’s health care and Universal Healthcare, too.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s not just in the states. I remember the legistration being pushed through in the UK. I can also remember lots of fellas simply not understanding. *She’s my wife, how cn it be rape.* But is it the man’s fault, or the culture that actively encouraged it for so many years … centuries. It was the teaching of the Church. Yet in medieval England a woman could get a Church-issued order that her husband must *please her in bed*. Changes.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, the anti-women, pro-man’s-control laws have been in place (often pushed by the Church) for many centuries and in many countries. That women had to fight to have the right to vote, to have a right to own property, to have the right to testify, to be recognized as their own entity and not someone’s possession — it took a lot of hard work against resistance (and violence against those who tried to fight for change), to create change.
        I hope that more will change in more places, and that the fight to prevent women’s autonomy over their own bodies (which continues to this day, even in the US), will become a thing of the past, with all — regardless of their gender, nationality, religion, skin color — be granted full human rights that were previously granted, basically, to only select sections of humanity.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I hope they manage to make a good life for themselves. I imagine if I lived in a country where I had to pay for medical treatment I’d live in a constant state of fear that I’d get ill and go bankrupt.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I hope so, too. And yes, alas this is the reality for many in the United States, who are one illness/accident away from bankruptcy.

      The ACA (aka “Obamacare”) improved the situation some, and millions more have coverage now that did not before, and at least pre-existing conditions are covered (when insanely, enough, they were not covered before the ACA, so you could be denied coverage for the exact issues you needed coverage FOR!). However, there are still many remaining issues, not the least of it because of constant and deliberate attempts to sabotage it, prevent people from signing on to it, and damaging it (the ACA had some inherent issues that needed fixing to begin with, but weren’t helped by the constant barrage of demands to destroy it completely instead of constructive ideas to improving it).
      The reality is that millions are still without healthcare in the US (even if millions more now have coverage compared to before the ACA), and for many, it still comes down to paying for life-saving medicine, or having a roof over one’s kids’ heads. It is an insane reality for any modern country. I hope that one day soon there will be universal healthcare in the US, too.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Keith. As I replied in my response to Sandra, the realities of universal healthcare – even if they aren’t perfect (which doesn’t mean they shouldn’t aspire to be or work on improving toward betterment) – are better than the realities of some having no access to healthcare at all, or having to weigh getting basic care against being financially ruined by it. That in this day and age, in a modern country, people have to weigh getting a life-saving prescription against being able to feed their children that month, is outrageous to me. And it should be, I believe, to all.
      Working to fix the problems that might arise within a universal health care system should be the step AFTER ensuring all people HAVE healthcare to begin with …

      The ACA (aka “Obamacare”) is far from perfect. Some of it’s issues are due to intrinsic problems with the program, and many are due to continued and deliberate sabotage of the program by those who then turn around to say “See? It has problems so it is junk.” However, even with all its problems, and even though there is MUCH to remedy and tweak and fix in the ACA, it is still a vast improvement over the realities of millions who could not get healthcare before it, and millions more who could not get coverage for any of their ‘pre-existing conditions’ (i.e. if you’d had cancer, you could not get coverage for anything related to cancer .. and if you were born with a heart-defect, forget about getting coverage for ANYTHING related to your heart defect). And, more people now have healthcare than had before, even with all the obstacles those who are against the ACA have put in their path. So .. I have hope that one day soon America will evolve to actually having healthcare for all.
      Naturally, it isn’t ‘free’ (in the UK, either — you pay for it in your taxes) but it is affordable if it is spread across all the populace, and if human beings have access to the healthcare they need.
      Off the podium with me … and …. thanks for the comment! Obviously I have a thing or two to say about this topic, eh? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • I know a bit more about it than some, less than others, for sure … 😉 But yeah, living here and working with some who’d had no health insurance before the ACA because they could not afford to get one, and some who’d moved to NY from States where they could not get health coverage (NY is helping people get insurance coverage through the ACA, unlike some States which deliberately made it difficult for people to do so), and as someone who personally knew people who could not get coverage for their medical issues (a friend with a recurrence of cancer could not get coverage for anything related to her cancer, which she was told she’d have to pay for out of pocket, which was, of course impossible and insane but was the reality at the pre-ACA time).
        I hope one day people will know little about it because they’d be able to take for granted that they have health insurance the same way they have roads, police, and access to education for kids.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I fully agree with the point you are making here, Na’ama. What makes the situation even more obscene is that the system in the USA is more expensive and gives worse results than in, say, the UK. Over 17% of the USA’s GDP goes into health care; only 8% of the UK’s GDP goes into health care. And yet that buys us universal health care, and the USA doesn’t have that.
        Keep the private sector out of healthcare – they’re just a rip-off.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Yes. I think people confuse perfection (which is fine to aspire to) with dismissing something altogether if it is not perfect … So when opponents of Universal Health Care in the US speak, they try to point out how imperfect other systems are, while they completely ignore the far worse realities that people live when there’s no access to healthcare at all … or when interaction with healthcare is ruinous (as in this short story). That doesn’t mean there isn’t much to remedy in the UK’s system (or other countries’ universal healthcare), only that having access to healthcare must be the FIRST step to improving it further …
      Thank you for the comment, Sandra, and for deepening the conversation!


  2. You’ve written a poignant story about a subject that is clearly very close to your heart. I very much like the way you’ve drawn the two characters, who are believable human beings with flaws, and who show human love to each other in a very difficult situation. It’s really well done. Kudos!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Penny!
      People are often (always?) flawed, and pain can both distance and tie loved ones together. I hope they find a way to make a life in spite of loss (of many kinds).
      As for the subject … yes, unnecessary pain and injustice are very close to my heart … and I’m rather vocal about those, in my writing, in my social media stuff, too. …
      Thanks for this comment (and your comments, in general)


    • Yes, higher taxation to prevent inhumanity seems a good trade-off to me. The ones who are opposing it are often those who have access to all they need and who manage to persuade vulnerable and uninformed population that to provide them with basic human rights is to deprive them of ‘freedoms’ …
      A lot to mourn indeed.


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