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October Memoir and Backstory blog challenge

Year 12:

“We don’t have to do this. ”

“Yes we do.” Dan’s hair was slicked back and he was wearing a crisp collared shirt. Carole’s death had done something to him. It brought him back to a son that no longer wanted him.

“Don’t you think I’m getting a little old?” John twisted in his chair. Every one of his limbs twitched uncomfortably. He had been inside all day. What he really needed was a run, not a slow leisurely walk with the pretense of getting free candy.

“You’re short. No one’s going to say anything.”

John wasn’t worried about what other people would say. He didn’t care about any of them anyway. But his mind felt too tight, like a rubberband stretched beyond its capacity.

“Go change.”

“I don’t want to wear that costume.”

“Then you should have picked one out when we were at the store. You get what you get now.”

John pulled the costume over his clothes. “Seriously? A jail bird.”

“Well,” his dad shrugged. “You know what they say.”

John felt the heat rising in his cheekbones. He had gotten in more fights that he could count. In the beginning, everyone said it was a product of what he was going through. They said he’d get over it. They never said when it would happen.

October Memoir and Backstory challenge

So I’ve been ridiculously busy these days–who isn’t these days, right? But I got a couple of requests on my manuscript and have been revising and editing like crazy. Anyway, this challenge has been the bane of my existence for two reasons: one–I absolutely can’t stand not finishing something once I’ve started it. And two–I really want to know what happens to John. It’s the end of the month now and I’ve barely gone half way. My goal is to finish before the end of the month. Uhh…tomorrow. And then there is NaNoWriMo. I so wish there were more hours in the day. Two more and I just might make a dent in my “to do” list. Alright, enough of this.

Year 11:

Grains of sand fell through John’s fingers like passing time. He dug his toes deep into the warm sand, knowing that soon it would be cold again. The birds above flew in great sweeping arcs, occasionally diving for some unseen object.

He sighed at another day lost. His hand involuntarily touched the tender area below his right eye. It was still swollen despite it’s color, a faded dirty yellow. He got a week off school for his little skirmish–that’s what the women in the office called what he had done to that boy. The boy he used to call a friend. But it was hardly a skirmish. It was a fight and John had to be dragged from the boy. He couldn’t even remember why he lost his temper.

He lost his temper a lot these days. It didn’t take much. The wrong glance in his direction,  whispers, name calling…it didn’t matter, all of it set John off. There was an anger dwelling deep in his soul now and the only thing that made him feel better was when he lost control.


October Memoir and Backstory Blog Challenge

Year 10: The beeping machines marked every passing second as another moment lost for Carole Warren. Her chest rose and fell in an automatic sort of way, controlled solely by another machine connected to her fragile body. The accident Carole had been in, had done her the worse possible injustice–allowed her to live in a dead shell.

As John walked into her  hospital room, he passed his sleeping father. There was a car magazine on the floor by his feet.

John found the brush beside her bed and began stroking the long brown strands of hair that had already started looking like a brillo pad. The routine hadn’t changed in eleven months: school, hospital, and sleep. When he finished brushing her hair, he started to clean her room, discarding food wrappers–anything to forget why this day was so important.

Eleven months and Carole hadn’t changed at all. The doctors had given his dad a pile of papers that sat on the counter untouched for months. Today, they were placed in a file at the hands of Carole’s doctors. Already, several tubes had been removed from her body. The rest would be gone within minutes.

Carole’s pale face was thinner than John wished to remember. Her body had withered until her skin hung loosely on her fragile bones. She was so still. So peaceful.

But she wasn’t peaceful. She was trapped. That was why John had pushed those papers at his dad last week. It had been too long. Everyday, John wished he could place his hands upon his mom and heal the wounds that ran too deep. It wasn’t fair.

The nurse came in first. With a clipboard in her hand, she began moving amongst the machines, writing things down. The doctor came in next.

Dan stirred in his seat, eyes wide. His hands clutched at those of his wife as if the doctors had come in for him and not her.

The doctor spoke, but nothing made sense. Tears streamed his father’s face. John didn’t know what to do. Should he be standing? Sitting? Holding his mom’s hand? Touching her face or her hair? No one was telling him what he should be doing and so he stood to the right of the bed, opposite his dad, stiff and numb. He nodded in a timely manner so that the doctors knew he was listening even if he wasn’t. One, two, nod, one, two, nod…

His breath hitched in his throat. He leaned against the bed for support. The doctor unplugged the first device and the steady beeps turned into one long whine until it turned off altogether. Her chest stopped rising and falling. John reached for her hand. Had it already begun to cool?

With a sigh, all of the forced air left her body.

Both the doctor and the nurse left the room. Dan stifled his sobs into his wife, but she made no move to comfort him.

John leaned forward, touching his mom’s mouth and then kissing her lightly on her cheek.

He left the room and no one moved to stop him.

October Memoir and Backstory Blog challenge

Year 7: On the rarest of occasions, John shared a special day with his father and it nearly always involved cars. It began a year before. John had seen through his mother’s attempts at manipulating his father into taking him, but it was nice all the same. The weather was dry, but it wasn’t hot. It was the sort of day where it hurt to breathe, to blink.  It was magnified by the dirt lot of the car show.

There were two types of people at the show. The type that looked like his father: short hair neatly parted to the side, no facial hair, and a stiff posture. And the other type: those with long, stringy hair and beards that touched their chests. All of those that  looked like John’s dad seemed uncomfortable in their stained collared shirts and pants that had gotten too tight. The messier men seemed free, like they didn’t care where the wind blew them.

The cars were all freshly polished and glinted in the sun so that John’s eyes squinted everywhere he looked.

His dad wasn’t looking at any of them. He was in a hurry and moving towards the end of the row. John dragged his feet, feeling rushed. He imagined himself in one of those cars one day and not in the bus that his mom took everywhere.

Dan Warren shook hands with one of the men dressed like him. “So, where is it?” he said without any preamble.

The other man nodded and pulled a cream colored tarp to reveal the ugliest car John had ever seen. “Are we good?”

Dan nodded and the man dropped something into his hand. He walked away without another word.

“What do you think, kid?”

“I dunno know.”

“Well, do you like it?”

“It’s ugly,” John said, thinking about the other cars they hadn’t even seen.

“It’s yours.”