Flash fiction written under the influence of a temperature. Because life is meant to be an adventure and this qualifies.
He hadn’t been looking for a savior. Knew that love never conquered all. Despite what the fairy tales said. But when she came along, things…changed.
He found himself grinning stupidly for no reason other than in response to her batting her long eyelashes. He did things he wouldn’t normally do. Like suffer through a movie with subtitles. Seriously, if that wasn’t love, he didn’t know what was.
But he had never said it. Not those three words she often, to the point of being downright annoying, had longed for him to say.
He just wasn’t that type. So sue him.
To him, love meant showing it in your actions, not in meaningless words that conveyed nothing but hot air. And hadn’t he done just that?
She had said with a sigh about her birthday wish for the year being for him to rid their yard of the multitude of oak leaves before snow flew. Because it would be so much prettier to look at. Since he wouldn’t (sigh, whine, hint) say I love you.
He got the hint. He was on a mission. He would prove his love to her even if it meant their yard would be a bare lot before he was through. He had attempted several things but…then he had had an idea.
And he had succeeded. Not with gas, matches and a bare lot, that would be crazy, but in the leaves be gone sense.
“He’s not out of the woods yet.”
Geez. The voices in his head were back. Why wouldn’t they leave him be? Or… had he gone round the bend? Maybe she had driven him bonkers, it wasn’t too far-fetched.
And where was he? Why couldn’t he move? Why couldn’t someone turn off that infernal beeping and why wasn’t he hearing the dulcet tones of her-his love, his crazy in the making woman, his beauty, his lif-“Damn him.”
“Why he thought re-wiring bug zappers around all the trees and to those electric nets was a good idea, I’ll never know. All I wanted was a rake and sweat.”
See, you’re growing so fast now, forming your own opinions and getting to experience what I probably never will. And that’s cool, as this has always been a wish of mine-for you. Even cooler that it’s coming true in big ways.
I see so much of me in you and I have to smile.
There are some things I want you to remember. Consider it a gift from me, a few pieces of wisdom that I had to learn the hard way.
Speak with kindness. Always treat others as you would want to be treated.
It isn’t cool to put people down because they’re different or to make yourself feel better. All it does is to help you show your ass and reflects poorly on your own character. Nobody likes that guy. Trust me.
Be who you are, good and bad and own it.
Assimilating to the group mind may be fun but it’s the easy way out. It doesn’t do a damn thing but make you a follower and none of your unique talents will be able to shine.
Life ain’t always great.
Some days are going to feel like a gift, some you think you can do no wrong, and others are going to make you look for the bulls eye you’re absolutely positive is located somewhere on your bod.
Little hint? Check your butt. Yeah, been there.
You’re gonna get knocked down.
This is life. But you must get back up no matter the cost. Quitting isn’t an option. You will get through the nastiness and you might realize that it the best thing that could’ve happened.
Gas is funny-yes-but not all the time.
And cracking one on a date? Probably not the best idea unless you need an escape hatch. If that is the case, then by all means let fly. You can clear a room in 2 seconds flat.
Always open the door for ladies. Car doors, restaurant doors, all the doors.
It may be outdated but it shows respect and you never know how a small action like that can make someone feel really special or how much it’s appreciated.
People can be cruel.
Yep. It sucks but they don’t have to run your life. You come from a family of fighters. We don’t take bad situations and accept them, we fight hard to change the circumstances and we win. Always. You will too. This is your legacy.
Your sense of humor will take you further than anger.
More flies are caught with honey or-laughter as it were. Reacting out of anger or with bitterness won’t exactly help you win your argument. It only serves to drive the other person further away from seeing your point of view. Laughter can diffuse more than you might think. Try it.
Live your life babe. Out loud and not from the gamer chair.
For instance, as you can see I’m flirting with very real danger in real life– when your aunt catches sight of my Halloween costume that makes fun of her today at the party. She is a runner and faster than I am.
It’s the spice of adventure that fuels me (and I didn’t get any cardio in this week) and it should be what you crave too. Life lived from inside XBox is a fantasy and pales in comparison.
Now be a good son and help me get away from your “I’m a runner and I like it the rain’ aunt before she catches me and beats me up, permanent-like. Which brings me to the very last thing.
Yes, I know I’ve already sort of mentioned it before but this is important. Life is going to be full of crap. It takes talent to find the grins in the small stuff. I know you have this on board, you lucky boy, because you are my son.
It’s a great thing. If you don’t laugh, the bitterness will eat you alive like one of my dragons. Be sure to use your laughter often and you will emerge with your sanity mostly intact. Maybe a little warped but that part came from me, sorry about that.
If nothing else, my son, you must remember this. I love you more than anything else in this entire world and you make me proud every day.
There is plenty you can do to disappoint me, make me mad, make me crazy but there is nothing you can do to make me stop loving you.
Memories or pieces of them, are common with head injuries and traumatic events. In my case, I was walloped with both. But I’m doing something about that today. This is remembrance and making peace with the past that has haunted me so. This is a celebration of life and the end of a journey.
I’m taking one last ride. This is the one that counts the most. It’s time to purge a ghost I’ve carried since I was 14 years old. I’m alone and though not in the vehicle of my choice, it will do for what I have in mind.
It’s a sunny 75 degrees, not a cloud in the sky but a slight breeze is stirring the falling leaves around the still green yards. A picture perfect October day and almost exactly like the one so many years ago when everything changed.
This road is known well to me, though I haven’t driven down it in ages because it was too painful and because I was afraid of waking what barely left me alone as it was. Still tucked back in a quiet neighborhood and I can see that not much has changed since I’ve been here last.
No one is out to have to watch for and no one to stop me.
I stop at the stop sign, the one I can just barely remember from that day, before the memory blanks take over and everything is a grey fog, illuminated only by small flashes. Sounds, voices, feelings, that’s all I’m left with. Until I dream and remember it all.
It’s now or never.
Taking a deep breath, I let the clutch out and burn through first gear, just like I’ve burned through all the awkward social situations I’ve experienced. Hard and fast.
With the shift to second gear, the pain of those memories are gone. At least momentarily.
A couple flicks of the wrist and 2 stomps of a foot and the regret over things I should have said, actions I’d wished I’d taken, disappear, are left behind with third and forth gear. Going faster now, the white broken line begins to blur past the windows, much like all my relationships gone sour. There and gone.
50 miles an hour
I can do this, I have to do this.
55 miles per hour
The curve looms ahead, the one so deceptive in appearance that it’s fooled far more experienced drivers than that of an energetic 16 year old boy on a sunny day, out to enjoy the weather and the company of two teenage girls. Oh so full of life he was. He shone with it.
Right in the middle of that curve, I bank hard to the left, and I lock the brakes up. When the traction assist kicks in, the sound it makes, oh God, the sound it makes,the way it feels inside the car; it makes fragments of memories burst forth in waves.
And when I come to a shuddering stop, it’s to look at a paved driveway and a jutting bay window, one neatly manicured yard over. I can hear the sounds, can feel the jolts, see the sparks thrown from a roll bar dragging against pavement, can smell the stench of burning tires.
I can remember being glad that the horrible twisting and turning and metal grinding was over and feeling the warmth of the sun hit my face. I remember thinking that I could die now and it was with the greatest relief I’ve ever felt in my life.
I remember feeling like I was flying before the nothingness swallowed me up and I was still grateful. Because this terrible thing that had happened and I wasn’t sure what that terrible thing was, just that something truly awful had occurred, was done. I could rest and I could be at peace.
This is what I’ve run from since the day it happened and what has remained by my side despite all my efforts to block it all out, to forget, to survive. It was there through nursing school, the birth of my child, all the failures and the wins.
And it’s time to let go. This is something I have to do in order to move on with my life. Please understand.
I’m sorry that your life was taken, sorry that we had to learn about mortality at such a young age, I was only 14 and it scares me to think Duck is getting closer to this every year. But mostly, I’m so so sorry that I survived and you didn’t.
Until recently, I was convinced that the wrong person had been taken, that a mistake had been made, for surely there was no grand purpose for my life, not one that had been revealed to me anyway.
That purpose has yet to show itself to me but in spite of that snafu (remember you did tell me that I was God’s very own comedian…) it’s time for me to let you go, for you to rest in peace within my memories. Because in them you never have.
See, this is the first year since my world was blown apart that I haven’t wakened screaming from dreams I can’t recall except knowing that it was of this event. And of you whispering to me when I cried out that ‘every man walks alone,’ that, “No man walks alone.”
This is how I know I’m ready. I’m looking at the place where I hadn’t dared come back to and I’m not flinching any longer.
Be at peace my friend. Because I am. At last. I’ll never forget you, but I’ll only remember the good times we shared and not this.
I think most everybody born before the year 2000 knows of the song by 38 Special. Call me a rock traitor if you will, but I hate that song.
Just not for why you might think. My hate stems from my inability to let go.
Successful application of the concept, my letting go, is as easy for me, as it would be for you to say…
In its complete entirety with your mouth stuffed full of Saltine crackers, while your body is rocketing down the Schlitterbahn water slide at speeds alternating between the mild, ‘Non-surgical face-lift’ and the more exhilerating, ‘high colonic via bathing suit’.
Because I’m betting the odds of your being successful in verbalizing anything other than AAHH!!, much less all those troublesome syllables during your date with terror and g-forces in a clearly vain attempt to recapture your youthful glory and and that of my letting go with any modicum of grace and dignity are…
I’m thinking are roughly about the same.
It’d be easier for all of us if I were to cut to the chase and state that the aforementioned lack thereof doesn’t happen to be on the list with the rest of my various and many splendored talents.
The fact is, it’d be much more accurate for me to admit that I’m downright terrible at it.
Because you might get a few syllables out on that ride to meet your thrill destiny but my having to say the words “Bye, Duck, I love you.”
Then letting him go and not wanting to cry, well…isn’t looking like its going to get any easier.
Maybe its my having ADHD and the big emotions that come with it. My having to feel everything more intensely than everyone else (makes me the life of every party, yannow).
Maybe because Duck is growing so fast now and I enjoy being with him so much, maybe both, all or neither, who knows?
I can tell you the sun shines less brightly when the car door closes.
That the day doesn’t feel quite the same.
The low whisper of what good things may come and possibilities of cool stuff to explore, that is, if you just believe, fade away to a pained silence instead.
The waiting for his return begins. And yeah, it sucks.
It’s gotta be love to suck that bad.
So there are other lessons in letting go I’m having to learn this summer. Some stuff ranking really high on the suckage meter and some not so.
I’ll be here as much as I can and blogging about things decidedly less sucky, just not as often as I’d like.
I’ll be trying to answer and leave comments but will be more delayed than usual. No worries, just life related suckage.