Sunday, July 25, 2010

mourning after

"one day you will die..."

we were sitting around a wooden picnic table, in the middle of the park, kids climbing the monkey bars, slipping down slides, giggling into the arms of waiting parents. a group of teens stood to one side, comparing multi-colored discs, before their turn on the frisbee golf course. a few older men, grandparents maybe, pointed here and there at the children, making comments we could not hear.

our table was laden with orange and yellow wrappers of cheeseburgers and boxes portraying Ronald McDonald in fanciful colors, standing next to the propaganda for the next big kids movie. empty ketchup packets, drained of their substance, peaked from within the grease stained bag our lunch had been carried in.

the conversation, that had been light and fluid, ground to a halt, like overused brake pads against the drum, as i looked into the innocent smile of my seven year old son, his statement heavy in the air. the bite i had just taken of my burger, tasted like cardboard and stuck to my tongue like peanut butter, choking me. forcing it into my throat, it burned the whole way down, all the moisture in my body lining up on my eyelids.

coke chortled in the straw as i took a long pull, before managing, "yes, someday."

"can we go play now?," his question seemed so awkward, but right, as he stood outside of the shadows that crept into my thoughts.

"yeah, let's go play," i grabbed him by the middle, fingers finding the spots that make him wiggle, legs kicking, arms flailing, as he danced in my embrace.

~~~~~

Standing at the foot of his bed, i watch as they unfold the board game, Sorry, his little fingers placing the pieces in their starting circles. blue for him, red for mom and yellow...

"hey, why are you putting out three?" she asks playfully, tousling his hair.

"one for you, one for me and one for daddy."

"honey, daddy..." hot tears spill down her face and i am moving to embrace her, to take away the pain.

"daddy is right there," he points right at me, but when her gaze passes through me, i shudder, knowing she can not see me.

"no, your dad is..."

dead. two days after the day at the park. barely two weeks ago. yet the morning after i found myself here, and only my son could see me. he is one i have come for...

For the rest of the story, go see Tina.

This is a 10DOM post.

78 comments:

JeffScape said...

For some reason, I replaced Darth Vader with the Grim Reaper and heard the line, "I am your father!"

Need coffee. Yeah... that's my excuse.

Tina said...

This was such a strong beginning to continue from. I enjoyed this collaboration very much!

TechnoBabe said...

This is a fun read, sort of emotional but still practical. I read the end at Tina's blog. Another great collaboration.

Cheryl said...

Part of me wants to let this just end here. It works.

The rest wants to see what unfolds over at Tina's. Guess I'm going.

The Urban Cowboy said...

I enjoyed this piece, very much. Now I'm off to see how this ends.

gospelwriter said...

Sometimes "someday" comes on awfully fast... Great cliffhanger, just had to go read Tina's continuation. Great collaboration, you two.

Steven Anthony said...

its like ghost whisperer or that movie with bruce willis...I love it....and the way you ended it is perferct.

Eva Gallant said...

You both weave a wonderful tale.

Betsy said...

I remember the first time I heard this question, too...it was so 'matter of fact' that it stunned me. No sadness, no worry...just asking the question and going on playing. I was the one left feeling the panic. :)

Brian Miller said...

betsy...yeah the whole first part of my part is for real...think most parents get that question at some point and it is scary...that is where the basis of this one came from for me...what if they were right and it happened...

Luisa Doraz said...

You two work well together. I enjoyed this. :) Thank you. Have a fun week.

Warm Coco said...

Oh that is spooky.
Now I'm flying over to Tina.
Flying....like a ghost?

Caty said...

This was a terrific story...even by itself, but Tina did a great job collaborating. Her part was terrific too!

5thsister said...

I just finished reading both parts and I want to commend you and Tina for a beautifully written, tear inducing piece of work! Wonderful!

Pat said...

Now, darn it! Here I am, reading the first part, thinking this is all true, that your son has asked you this question, and then, WHAT, this is a story?

Okay, I can handle it. You are such a gifted writer that I am RIGHT THERE with you thinking this is so real.

Now I have to go swing by Tina's to see how this all ends!

secret agent woman said...

My son used to point to different things in the house and say, "When you die, can I have that?"

Becky said...

Oh real tears here,LOL.I gotta go check out the rest.No more sad ones Brian,LOL

Lizzie said...

What a super collaboration. I found my jaw wide open at times. So emotional and powerful. You really do have a talent for writing. I'm blessed to know you.

moondustwriter said...

Brian: that one was strong,realistic, and sad.

Nicely written compadre.

The Empress said...

brian....I am just going to analyze your writing to death, b/c I want to know how you create such a vivid scene..

Felicitas said...

Intriguing beginning to this story, Brian. Your second part was completely unexpected. Can't wait to see how Tina ends it!

steveroni said...

What a great setup for Tina to carry on. It could go SO many ways from here.
Imaginative, yep.

I'm off to Tina's....

TALON said...

What a powerful opening line. Had me instantly hooked!

Monkey Man said...

Great start, Brian. Just like the Brotin...suck us in with a great beginning and push us through the door to finish elsewhere. *smiles*

Bernie said...

I often wonder how often this happens.........:-) Hugs

Who Is Afraid of Alfred Hitchcock? said...

Hi! Brian...
What a very sad, yet very well-written, detailed and interesting 160 words story and I will be making my way over to Tina...
Thanks, for sharing!
DeeDee ;-D

Shas said...

Moved by the words. Am just trying to imagine the surge of emotions and thoughts that must have gone through your mind on hearing the child's question. It is scary indeed and one has no idea how to assure or comfort the child. Will read Tina's part and get back to this space.
Have a great day ahead !!

AngelMay said...

Nice twist in the title, Brian. Appropriate.

Tony Single said...

"Coke chortled in the straw."

Now why can't I think of great lines like that? I think I may just be green with envy! :P

lakeviewer said...

Oh Brian, this tears my heart!

Velvet Over Steel said...

I felt the emotional element right away! You gave me goosebumps again!
Great beginning!! ~ Coreen

She Writes said...

Children always see more than us!

Marla said...

This sent a shiver down my spine.

hvninhell said...

"he is the one I've come for" chills!

sheri said...

brian, this was incredible!! you and tina pulled off a story that was well worth the reading, a magical duo at the keyboards!!! as always, you capture me with your details, every sight and sound becoming so real...i love your work, your gift :)

Eternally Distracted said...

I was crying from the beginning. Didn't expect the ending... so sad. Will go and check out part two.

Birdie said...

sigh. this question so fresh to me ... the other day my son asked me "mommy and when you will grow old and die who will take care of my socks"? :-) that made me smile ... will have to check the end at Tina's even though I'm not sure I want to know ...

Zuzana said...

I find it amazing that you can collaborate like this with another writer, the combination gives the story a certain depth.
Now I will read the ending.;)
xo

Susan Deborah said...

Death has its own way as does your narrative. Tearjerkers or lessons in life.

Joy always,
Susan

adeeyoyo said...

I just love the way you notice the little things 'his little fingers placing the pieces in their starting circles'. Children's fingers are unique! I could see him concentrating hard.

Just Be Real said...

Children's hearts are open and honest. Powerful post Brian.

PattiKen said...

Heavy. I'm hearing Haley Joel Osment in Sixth Sense say "I see dead people." Now off to see what Tina says.

Candie Bracci said...

wow!

Shadow said...

this is heart-rendering...

blueviolet said...

Poor little guy..

Goofball said...

I'm glad your son can still see you

H said...

Wow. This gave me goosepimples. I know just how that Mom feels! I'm heading over to Tina's now because I know she'll write an ending worthy of this fine beginning!!

Vicki Lane said...

Whoa! Terrific beginning!

Vicki Lane said...

Whoa! Terrific beginning!

sheila said...

Oh my goodness! If you only knew, this one is rather close to home this week. BIZZARE!

Stacy (the Random Cool Chick) said...

I've got chills - now I'm off to read the rest to find out what happens! :)

Lorraine said...

sometimes I can't find the words ...this is one of those

Kay said...

oh, Brian, why must you crush our hearts today???

sad, sad... yet captivating!

SuziCate said...

Wow, you gave me both a shiver and a tear!

Daniel said...

Nice tag team on this one. Kind of spooky and eerie, yet at the same time uplifting.

Becky said...

lol Brian your comment on my blog about drying roses.

gayle said...

So very sad! As I get older I think about this more.......especially with a grandson.

AmyLK said...

Very nice story! Off to Read Tina's part. I love when you collaborate with someone! :)

Claudia said...

I hate sad stories - and you lull us into happy family sunshine - until the tragedy happens...
Why can't I just stop reading when you write something..?
Off to have a look at part 2...

schererart said...

Great tale. And loved how you ended it.

Maggie May said...

Wonderful tale, between the two of you.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Magpie said...

Wow...what a beginning! I'm crying already. What more can you two do to me? You paint such an everyday scene with so much emotion.

Sam Liu said...

From that first, shattering line, you kept me gripped throughout. I was hanging off your every perfect word, and then that poignant, take-a-deep-sharp-breath ending - it was simply amazing.

Mona said...

I come here and shudder at the title first...and the story sends a chill down my spine...

so prophetically ominous...

Jessie said...

extremely well done on both sides.

thank you for stopping by.

warm smiles,

JStar said...

Ok, this is sad...I must go finish reading

Maggie said...

:O

This one is a really good one! And I do believe that small children are capable of seeing and feeling such things.

You two did an amazing job! :)

Barbara said...

Wonderful, Brian. I'm going over to Tina's to see her finish, but frankly, I like this just the way it is.
(And I am definitely in mourning today since I read the shocking news about my blogging friend Buffalodick. He will be missed.)

Brian Miller said...

barbara, you have no idea how much it hit me to read about buffalodick this morning...i had the opportunity to chat with his every once in a while...and...yeah.

kavisionz said...

This was a sad story (at least thus far).. and I am off to Tina to read the rest!
But it was gripping! And the description, vivid !!!!
Enjoyed (wrong word maybe) the read nevertheless!!! Okay.. now off to Tina

Have a great week (here), Brian! :)

otin said...

Ooh, you are doing ghost stories! Creepy stuff. I like creepy!

Kat_RN said...

Pretty strong stuff there Brian. You worked well together.
Kat

william said...

Brian you never cease to amaze me, superb :)

Tracy said...

Well, darn, I had a feeling this was gonna be sad...

Life@Cee said...

Brian, you and Tina make a great writing team. What a creative idea to take something that kids say innocently and turn it into a thriller.
Cee

LadyFi said...

Oh, that is chilling...

Syd said...

That is powerful and sad too.

CatLadyLarew said...

Wow! Now on to Tina to catch up with the rest of this story!