WeWriWa—The joyless boy Tsar


Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors, a weekly Sunday hop where writers share 8 sentences from a book or WIP. I’m skipping ahead a few paragraphs from last week’s snippet, past one of the liberating soldiers telling 13-year-old Aleksey he’s now an orphan and that if only they’d reached Yekaterinburg and been directed to Ipatyev House a little sooner, everyone would’ve been saved. Another soldier observes how pale and skinny he looks, and attributes that to the living conditions under Bolshevik captivity. This soldier promises he’ll have all the best things now, and that the high wooden fence around the house will be knocked down as soon as the battle to retake Yekaterinburg is over.


Alekséy was in a daze as the soldiers left the room for him to maneuver into day clothes.  He still couldn’t bend his knees, and he felt pain when he touched his legs, but he had no choice but to dress himself now that his father and the servants were gone.  When he was finished, he called for the soldiers, and they lifted him into his mother’s wheelchair and took him into the dining hall.  He’d sometimes used the wheelchair during the previous seventy-eight days, but now that its real owner was no more, its ownership fell to him.  Having a wheelchair full-time, though, now felt like a curse, not a blessing.  His mother’s scent was still on the wheelchair, reminding him powerfully of how he’d just been robbed of his parents.

On any other day, the breakfast which presented itself would’ve come as a joyous surprise and veritable feast, just as the soldiers had promised.  Now he had no appetite for the smoked fish, poached eggs, sautéed mushrooms, tomato and carrot salad, oatmeal with honey, or sourdough toast with blackberry jam.


I know it wasn’t so nice for me to deprive such a nice boy of the mother he adored, but as stated last week, I really felt it would develop Aleksey into a healthy, independent adult if he had to learn how to rely on himself and not be so enmeshed in a co-dependent family. He was probably a bit of a mamenkin synok, a mama’s boy, and I wanted to avoid creating a character who either became even more of a mamenkin synok as he got older, or constantly clashing with a mother who refused to see him as a grownup with his own life and beliefs. It’s fine for a young boy to be dependent on his mother and be a bit of a mamenkin synok, but that’s not an attractive trait in a grown man.

I also wanted to spare his future Tsaritsa the ordeal of competing with her mother-in-law to be first in his heart. One of the numerous reasons I broke up with my so-called “fiancé” was because he refused to put me first, and still defends putting his henpecking, domineering mother and dysfunctional family first. No woman wants an overgrown mama’s boy who can’t stand up for his woman to his mother and assert himself as a grown man with his own life.


10 thoughts on “WeWriWa—The joyless boy Tsar

  1. Poor boy! I can’t imagine being faced with such a constant reminder of a missing parent, especially when the loss is so fresh. I thin it’s very interesting how some of your own experiences color your choices in this story. That can make for some emotionally compelling storytelling!


  2. I agree with your decision to have him orphaned. It adds immediate poignancy to the story, drawing in the reader and having them pull for Alekséy. The food description was interesting, especially for a breakfast menu. A different time, a different place. 🙂 Good 8. 🙂


  3. I think your choices re the plot and his mother are well considered and will serve the book well, no matter how sad they may be. (And of course the reality was worse.) I thought the detail of her perfume lingering on the wheelchair was poignant and quite an effective touch. Fascinating story…


  4. I’ve been away for a while, but I’m glad you’re still sharing this story. I do like the way you’re changing the history. And this scene is very poignant, with the wheelchair and its tie to his mother. Well done.


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