Ghosts of He

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Not while we dined, but long after she told me, I thought of him, snuggled by his mother – his little hands in hers, holding them tight while she cried, both of them seated on the couch.

There was an afghan crumpled at the foot, which he spied out of the corner of his eye. He slid off the couch, plumped a pillow for which she could lay her head and motioned for her to lie down. Bending her knees as she did, he placed his palms on the back of her calf and guided her legs into a straightened position, better for her to rest and relax.  Then, grabbing the blanket, he pulled the worn and faded corners over her body. Almost as if he were tucking her in at night, he wrapped the ends tightly around her shoulders, thighs and feet, so that she looked like a newborn in swaddling.

In that moment, he placed his hands on her face and looked into her eyes.  Sweeping the hair from her brow and tucking it behind her ear, she remembers the weight of that moment.  In his death, those moments of innocence seem swept away, and I can see where it weighs heavily on her.

Without that memory she so graciously shared, I had loved him and would love him anyway – but folded with the gestures of care and comfort, his light shone even greater.

As he gazed into her eyes, wiping away the final wisp of hair stuck to her dampened forehead, she said “Oh, honey, I’m so sorry.” His response came ever so sweetly, past his little boy lips, “It’s okay, Mom.  Just please don’t do it again.”

Our coffee mugs were dark that morning, with grounds in the bottom we hardly noticed were there. The bitterness of each sip, rested hot and heavy on our tongues and burned on the way down.  His sudden death lingered for us both and served to bring us to this table.  “What was he like when he was a boy?” I asked. “He was so sweet,” she said, “sweeter than I deserved.”

*note from Miss Erin Terese*

P.S.  The short story above is the third piece I have written for a 10 week Writers Workshop I am participating in.  The exercise was to pick a mood and depict the feelings through the action (and scene) of someone else. The primary goal is to reveal the narrator and get a feeling without having to tell it.

In the interest of growing in my writing technique, style and tone, I will be sharing my pieces here.

I hope you enjoy!  xo

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