The Whole Town Came

This story is fiction.  It was written for the Trifecta: Week Fifty-Eight writing challenge.

This week we want you to write on the third definition of:
survive

1: to remain alive after the death of
<he is survived by his wife>
2: to continue to exist or live after
<survived the earthquake>
3: to
continue to function or prosper despite : withstand <they survived many
hardships>

I sit in my car on a Friday night.  Through the tears and darkness I see 12:28 on my dashboard clock.  I am outside my high school football stadium where hours before I played my last game of high school.  I dropped the game winning pass with less than two minutes.   Everything afterwards is a blur.  All I remember is a constant stream of teammates and coaches approaching me saying its ok.  Not your fault.  It’s a team game.  All the clichés.

“They can all go to hell!  I lost the game. It was my fault!”

Suddenly I notice car lights driving up behind.  It’s the police chief, my dads best friend.  He exits his car and taps lightly on my window.

“Come out and talk to me,” he says.

“No, leave me alone Mr. Landry. I want to be alone.”

“I came cause your dad would have wanted me to” he replies.

“My dad died this morning.”

“I know its tough on you. Everything has been.  Tonight too.  I know you hurt.  You have the right to hurt”

I hear another car door close.  I look over and see my mom walking towards my car, tears in her eyes.

“Are you ok” she says to me.

“I’m not mama. I lost the game.”

“Its ok, I love you.  Very much.  I know you feel bad.  It’s ok to feel that way.  Everyone loves you.  This whole town.”

I hear another car door.  I look in my rear view mirror and I see a line of cars pulling into the stadium parking lot.

Now my coach is here.  My best friend.  My postman.  The owner of the grocery store where I work.  The priest of my church.  My english teacher.  My favorite aunt.  Plus many I barely know.

A little girl I don’t know, dressed in pajamas,  steps in front of my car with a sign saying: We support #88.  Everyone starts clapping.

Through the pain I understand it’s just a game. I will survive.

Comments and critique are welcome!

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20 thoughts on “The Whole Town Came

    • TY. I am humbled. I feel it certainly could happen in my small town where high school football is more attended than the catholic church. Lots of pressure on young kids I suppose. But hs football is the one thing that in my time there brought our town together.

  1. This was wonderful, and it did ring true. It was heartbreaking, but there was also love and hope as the town gathered around the young man to cheer and encourage him. Well done!

    • The time frame for this (which I did not disclose cause of word limit) was in 1980, pre-cell phone era. It would be nice to believe people would do this today. Maybe in a small town perhaps? Thanks for your kind words, I appreciate the feedback.

  2. Wow, I love how everyone rallied together to support him and help him through his pain. The father dying was an unexpected twist. I can’t help but think that if we all paid attention like this to others’ pain, we just might save some lives 🙂

    • So well said….just to acknowledge someone’s pain certainly could have a positive affect. The father dying, I never can have something without true pain. Not many can relate to the pain of letting your team down, but lots can to losing a father. Put them both on the same day. Changes ones perspective of why he may have missed catching that pass. I never claim to be a writer, I just put words on paper. And most of those words are lined with pain. Its hard for me to find happiness or humor in writing for some reason. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I appreciate it dearly.

  3. A heart warming story about the insecurities & negative experience we face in our lives sometimes & how they effect us.Lovely positive ending-shows how love,support,appreciation, acknowledgement,encouragement & reassurance,helps one deal with these negative emotions & accept the goodness within:-)loved it!

    • Awe so nice of you to say. It is that at its core. And more if it is expanded. Like, is it just a game to the player or is it more? Can it be so easily dimissed or will it tourture him or mold him throughout his life. Who knows. But the gesture of the town is indeed sweet.

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