Saturday, November 7, 2009

Moving On

This is the second part of a two part story, go check out Otin for his amazing set up, then come back.

Snowflakes drift on the breeze, winking out of existence as they kiss the dark brown surface of the coffee. Staring into it long enough, he sees their reflection, feels the warmth of their skin leaking into his fingers, until all heat is gone and it becomes as bitter cold as his heart. Crushing the cup, its contents join the slick coat of grime earned from nights in the street. Stringy hair slides with gravity as he hangs his head. Tonight, he would find some way to get another bottle, just to get rid of the eyes. And tomorrow, he will find another cup of coffee, waiting on him when he wakes beside the dumpster.

I don’t need your charity, eyes still pinched closed, his limbs wrapped tight around his body for warmth.

Don’t thank me it is my mom. She sends me over with the cup every day.

Her voice pierces the thin veil of insanity he has draped over himself to keep people at arms length. So young, like his Chelsea. Sunlight burns causing his vision to swim, shadows taking form, first the eyes…

Chelsea, air croaks from his throat.

No, I am Margaret, she smiles, enjoy the coffee. Mom says come into the shop if you’d like something to eat.

No one is more surprised than Dan, a week later, when he walks into the shop, perfumed by tangy alcohol laced perspiration, cheeks pink from scrubbing them with snow. That first day Anne sat silent as he eats ravenously whatever they put in front of him. Thanking her and disappeared out the door, but only after promising to return. Over the next week, Dan begins to talk as Anne just listens, tears dripping softly to her blouse as he recounts the last year of his life.

Why do you even care? contempt rides his words.

You know, I was there that day in church a few weeks ago. It was like you were giving voice to my heart.

I don’t understand.

Margaret, my daughter, is dying of leukemia.

I…I am so sorry, his lungs go flat as all air leaves them.

Don’t be. At first, we had many of the same questions when we first found out. God became an easy target for our pain. The reality is, the disease saved our family. It brought us closer together than we ever were.

Why does God allow this to happen?

We may never know that answer. Faith does not take away the trials or the pain, or even the questions.

For several weeks they talk over coffee, or share lunch together. The bottle that once medicated his ragged soul is replaced with some sense of meaning. As Christmas approaches, Dan finds himself consoling Anne as she sobs, overwhelmed with Margaret’s fading health and the thought that this would be their last together. They would argue and laugh all afternoon if the traffic of the shop would let them. Their eyes still haunt him, but he does not carry it alone.

Dan, I don’t know if I could have made it through these weeks without you to talk with.

I understand. I don’t have much, but these last couple weeks have given back a little of everything I lost. Thank you, Anne.

See you tomorrow Dan, a smile plays at her lips as she watches him retreat into the night, turning the lights out.

Frigid wind cuts through his coat, forcing Dan to shove his hands deep in the pockets seeking some fragment of warmth. His fingers curl around the crisp edges of a piece of paper, questioning its purpose. Pausing under a street lamp, he reads:

Its not your fault. I used to think that about my disease, that it was something to punish me or my family. It pushed me further and further away from them, it made me hate them, and myself. You have so much life left to live, don’t let that go. Thanks for being there for mom. ~Margaret

Warm wet trails burn his cheeks, the words breaking the clot of anger in his heart. Pulling out his photo album, he stares into their eyes, imagining the words coming from Chelsea…this time I’ll steer the right direction…he answers…God don’t let me lose another

Not quite faith, but maybe a start.

59 comments:

otin said...

Chill bumps upon chill bumps dude!!!! Whoa!

Beth said...

Good one! I love the ending as much as the beginning. Maybe you guys could co-author...

Brian Miller said...

Don't you love Easter Eggs on DVDs? Here are a few from this story:

The idea for the actual story was Otin's...

As most of you know my stories are ones from my actual life. While I have spent a lot of time with hurting people and homeless, this one is fiction.

I was going to have Dan freeze to death at the end but cut it this morning. You would have all hated me, I think. lol.

Really this was an honor to collaborate with Otin. He is an amazing storyteller, and a great friend. If you are not already following him, get over there and do it now!

JennyMac said...

Popping over from Otin's. You write with great imagery.

Antoinette said...

Love it. You both are amazing storytellers.

Rose Marie Raccioppi said...

Fiction but reflections and shades of a reality yet known ... Brian, the textures of the material world, the feelings of the inner world so vividly drawn. As I read, before me appeared the depths of desolation and the heights of transcendence from shades of cold grays to soft and warming mauve. So very well done! Descriptive that most certainly entices all sensibilities. And YES, "Faith does not take away the trials or the pain, or even the questions."

Sandi McBride said...

How do I find Otin???? Help!!!
Sandi

Brian Miller said...

Otin's name in the first line is a hyperlink...sorry, the colors got skewed in the transfer from word.

TechnoBabe said...

Oh yeah, steer in the right direction this time. Really good job you both did with this story. Thanks for sharing the collaboration.

Alicia @ boylerpf said...

Oh, Brian...I'm speechless...truly. Never would I have thought the story to end as you have written. I was riveted from the moment I started reading...your words jump to life on the page...feeling the sorrow and anger and in the end...the glimmer of hope. Just wonderful!

Liza said...

"Tonight, he would find some way to get another bottle, just to get rid of the eyes."
Holy cow that is good.
"the words breaking the clot of anger in his heart."
So original. I love it!
Well done, and great colaboration.
Enjoy your weekend.

Maggie May said...

I'm glad to hear that it was fiction & not something that happened to your family.

Well written.

Nuts in May

Cinnamon said...

Absolutely brilliant! Both of you! I hope you are going to do it the other way around now- with Brian setting it up. You write fiction really well- and yes, Otin is a master storyteller- but your styles compliment each other so well!! I love the way you started off with the cup of coffee- great link to Otin's. And I liked the imagery -'clot of anger'.

As for the message...many of us are at the 'not quite faith' stage.

Well, well done!

enchantedoak said...

Very very very neat. You two have different writing styles but that was part of what made the story interesting. Co-writing is a fun project; did so with a friend this summer, paragraph by paragraph, and what surprising turns the story took!
Good work!

gaelikaa said...

This is very touching. But I'd just like to say that God didn't put sickness and disease into the world. It's been put there by an evil force and it is the enemy's weapon against humanity! Sorry, I don't mean to sound preachy.....

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Lovely - heart-wrenching. Thank you for sparing Dan . . . and introducing me to Otin.

Green-Eyed Momster said...

You guys are amazing. Heavy stuff this morning. Thanks for not letting him freeze to death. I read your comment. I think I can put makeup on now. I cried it all off after reading Otin's part 1.

Stacy (the Random Cool Chick) said...

Absolute perfection. I'm glad you didn't have him freeze to death, though I sort of thought that's where you were going - and him meeting up with his wife and daughter... ;) I like the way you ended it much better! :)

I'm looking forward to you both doing more of these - you two are always riveting with your words! :)

The Bumbles said...

Wow - that was very cool how you took your own pieces and made it cohesive. Very different styles - character driven, imagery, lessons woven throughout both sides. I'm familiar with Otin's efforts. Nice that I was able to be introduced to yours.

Kate Hanley said...

Read Otin's start this morning and couldn't wait for you to post the ending. Loved them both!

Wings said...

Good conclusion. :)

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

You two created an amazing story. Loved every bit of it.

blueviolet said...

That was so well done. That whole story could be true, both parts. The whole storyline was so bleak, and I'm happy that there was just a wink of light there at the end.

Great job, you two!

willow said...

Well done, Brian. I've always been troubled by those who think illness is a form of punishment.

Little Ms Blogger said...

Thank you for not killing him off. Otin always seems to kill off his characters.

Loved the ending, loved how he made peace with the past events of his life.

Great writing.

otin said...

LMAO! I am going to look through my stories and see how many main characters died! I think that the number is not as great as people think.

Kathy's Klothesline said...

You guys are fabulous! I think the two of you could write a screenplay or a soap opera!

lakeviewer said...

I started with Otin's and then followed yours. Now, I'm expecting more to come. This story has drama, suspense,and a hint of resolution.

A lot of your prose is so poetic that I want to linger over it:
"Snowflakes drift on the breeze, winking out of existence as they kiss the dark brown surface of the coffee."

Kulio said...

ohhh, story! I love story. The narrative is awesome.

Ronda Laveen said...

Thos is so good! I loved the way the two of you melted this story together. And the end was a great message any yime but especially strong for this time of year.

R U still working on "Cold Revenge?" Can't wait to see where that goes!

tony said...

(again) Well Crafted.Bravo! Have A Fine Weekend Brian.

Joanna Jenkins said...

I vote co-writing is a regular feature for you guys! This was great reading! Thanks.

Alan Burnett said...

I rather like this idea. I was only thinking the other day what would be created if about 20 or 30 of us did this with a story, week by week letting it grow in whichever way it cared to. Your example shows it can work well.

Alix said...

Very truly amazing writing. I suddenly feel like I need a sweater.

Ocean Girl said...

Distinctly different styles, two opposing forces. An awesome piece(s).

Vodka Mom said...

wow.



that was just amazing.

the walking man said...

Ya never know where the hand of God is going to show up.

Nessa said...

Going to visit Otin.

Captivating story.

Sunny Sunday #5 - Paper Sol

Protege said...

I love your poetry, but your story writing is even better.
;)

only a movie said...

Wow!! Really really really great. Love both the first and second parts.
:-)

Jaime said...

great ending to the story! much better than having him freeze to death, though if otin were writing the ending, that sounds like how he might end things...

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Brian:)

The vivid description, the emotion, the feeling, the suspense, the drama, the sequence etc. makes a very interesting and touching story. You have inter twined each scene with a masterly touch. Amazing story!

Best wishes:)
Joseph

buffalodick said...

Good, no excellent collaboration!

staceyjwarner said...

Wow, amazing.

I love this "Her voice pierces the thin veil of insanity he has draped over himself to keep people at arms length."

absolutely beautiful

much love

Tom said...

2 different voices, one great collaberation...i'll just leave this 1 comment, but it's a great story from both of you guys!

It would be fun to try this with several bloggers, all with distinct styles...who knows how it would end up! Fun idea there, youz two.

CatLadyLarew said...

Great story, guys! Love it!

Mama Zen said...

Oh, wonderful!

The Retired One said...

You both did a fantastic job...sucked me in right away and kept me reading furiously as to how it would end.
Thanks, Brian for not letting him freeze to death. I would have been too sad. I am the ultimate optimist as to a person having a new life and a chance for a happy ending! (Except for the child who is dying sometime in the future). I am still a bit bummed about that too.

Madame DeFarge said...

Great storytelling and an interesting collaboration. Not sure I'd ever dare to write with someone - just in case I wasn't as good as them!

U R U! said...

I totally loved it!!!

Thanks for that ending and making it so beautiful!

How awesome!

S3XinthePantry said...

nice finish, better than the freezing to death idea, I think

Smart Mouth Broad said...

Bravo for a great ending. Thanks for not killing him off. You and Otin should team up again. Who knows....maybe there is a novel there waiting to be written.

Pat said...

Wow - some powerful writing here. I like that Dan has a second chance at life, love, his love of Jesus, and saving a little girl. Magnifico!

Baino said...

Well done boys. I'm not a person of 'faith' but it's nice to see it gives solace to some. . like you say . .it's a start.

Candie Bracci said...

Wow you guys have done an amazing job with that story!That was brillant!:)

smiles4u said...

Wow! I went over and read Otin's part...Wow! And now reading your part...again, Wow! I hope you guys do this again!!!

Laszlo Brown said...

I'm trying to figure out what both of your posts say about each of your attitudes toward faith...maybe a fool's errand on my part.

Tall Kay said...

Better late than never. I'm so glad I didn't miss this. It made me cry...miracles always do :o)

Yodood said...

For me, the depth of the real tragedy described in thie beautiful collaboration is so universal that it echoes long after its ostensible fix of finding fellow faulty faithful floundering in debilitating disappointment insured by very belief they encourage each other to renew.

Sorry if this is a wet blanket for some, I intend it to shine some enlightenment from the reality in which it occurs.

It could have been resolved by two compassionate people without the mention of God, but then, would it have occurred at all?