The Messenger

chicago-downtown-sunset_30728_990x742I’m having a busy week and only found time to get a little writing exercise. I’ve tried to compose a very little story of ten sentences, the first of 50 words, the second of 45, the third 4o… you get the idea. It felt a little like rolling downhill, and the tone and content may have tumbled with it…

Because you left the door open and because your expression said you meant for me to enter, I walked through it, and, though you wanted comfort—isn’t comfort all we ever want?—I was only silent company, another heart in a room, a near stranger often worthless even to himself. Once, as my mother waited for my father, sitting in the gray light of a Saturday’s end, an empty glass in her hand, her hand resting on the table, staring toward the street, she hummed music I barely heard and didn’t know, and I spoke. She turned as you turned, eyes landing on my face as if my face were dusk itself, the final whisper of light when sun slips past the last obstacle, and every echo of reflected gold in every window blinks out. Now I don’t remember exactly what either of us said, but her half smile, which she hoped offered warmth and attention, couldn’t hold its place on her lips and, despite her, fell with her tears. So perhaps you understand why I didn’t extend a word but sat just out of your reach and vision, more keen to be present, frightened to topple your fragile calm. When you grow up in a house that swings between ferocity and exhaustion, you harmonize without noticing, settling into whatever keeps you safe but close. And what was there to say that you didn’t know?—he was gone and meant to be, wouldn’t be back. Sorry as I was then, I couldn’t tell you so because I loved him too. He left both of us, and he meant to leave. I only found him gone.

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Filed under Doubt, Experiments, Fiction, Fiction writing, Friendship, Grief, Laments, life, Pain, Silence, Thoughts, Voice

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