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!

Father Friday 12/21/12

My father was a tough man to live with.  I was an only child born out-of-wedlock and more than likely not out of love.  Caring maybe, love I will never believe it.  My father was the oldest of four kids and a mother of gold.  He graduated high school at the age of sixteen and received his degree in forestry from Louisiana State University in 1941.  He was a navigator for the US Army Air Corps during World War II.  He was a son, a brother, a husband, a father and an alcoholic.  He was loved by his friends who did not know the man I knew.  He was well thought of in the community. He was an intelligent man who read constantly.  He died at the age of 64 on April 27, 1982.  That was a little over a week before my high school graduation.  My memories only begin at age 5 for a reason I can’t explain.  Maybe others are like this as well, I don’t know.  We briefly lived in New Iberia, Louisiana before finding a house to rent on a sugar cane farm just outside historic St. Martinville Louisiana.  We resided in this 3 bedroom wooden house with no heating or air conditioning till his death.   All my memories of him are  in this house.  My memory of  him was drinking every day, except for the occasional hospital stay for heart issues.  A few days of peace was interrupted by his return home.   There were lots of yelling at my mother, me, the television or just at nothing at all.  He was occasionally warm and tender then off he went breaking a window or throwing a beer can across the room while my mom and I watched television.  He was Jekyll and Hyde which made it more difficult cause you didn’t know who you were getting each day.  My defense was to just stay away which I did often.  It was only years later that I realized why I was away from home so often.  To my mom, I am sorry for this, it must have hurt her or perhaps she was happy that I wasn’t going through something I should not have at that moment.  She took the brunt of things, often protecting me and I love her dearly for that.

Me in 1976

Me in 1976

 With all this said, I did love him.  And we did lots of things together.  So every Friday (beginning next Friday) will be Father Friday whereabouts I will write some memories I have of my time with him.  For me, its kind of healing process.  A time to filter the bad and find the good.  Amongst all the tirades where moments of instruction, laughter, love and normalcy.  Too few unfortunately.  I will begin each Father Friday with a link to this post so readers will get a brief background of my relationship with my father.  Time is starting to heal my wounds.  I am learning to forgive, slowly.  Perhaps sharing some of the moments of my past me will aid in this healing process.  Time will tell.

Till we meet again.  Good day.

Mind of Shoo

Finding A Soul

There are moments in time where we meet someone who really affects our life.  That person to me was Gina, an employee I met three years ago in Yellowstone.  She sat next to me at breakfast in the employee dining room and said in a low voice “I see the scars on your arm.  I have scars too, expect mine are hidden inside.”

I stared at Gina speechless.  She was a beautiful southern belle with a lovely South Carolina accent.  Finally I muttered “nice to meet you, I am Brad.”

“I am sorry I was blunt, but I bet we have lots in common.  Our past.  Alcoholism.  Abuse.  Abandonment.  Sounds familiar?” she asked.

“Yes” I replied.  I was numb.

“I understand.  I am here in Yellowstone to heal emotionally and spiritually.  Therapy didn’t help.  So I turned to nature.  Nature will heal me,”  she said staring blankly ahead.  Then she looked at me and smiled.

I finally cleared my throat enough to say “I am here for the same.” 

“Great!   I am here to start a journey.  My last journey.  I am dying Brad.  My body will break down but my spirit will grow.  This I know.  I am here to live, not to die.”

What do I say?   Why did she chose me?  Do I make a friend when I know she will die?

“Brad,  when I saw your scars I immediately knew why I came here.  To find a soul that would understand me.   Are you that soul Brad?”

“Yes I will be that soul. But I am scared.”

“No Brad, don’t be scared.  Be strong.  Your scars tell me your are strong.  You survived.”

She was right.  That was the perfect word for my life.

We indeed had a journey together. It brought us across the US.  Hiking around Europe.  To India. And today we return to Yellowstone.  With her ashes per her request.   My  old scars have healed but a new one is open.  Can I survive now?

This was written for the Trifecta Week Fifty-six using the third definetion of the word:

HEAL

1a : to make sound or whole <heal a wound>
b : to restore to health
2a : to cause (an undesirable condition) to be overcome: mend <the troubles … had not been forgotten, but they had been healed — William Power>
b : to patch up (a breach or division) <heal a breach between friends>
3: to restore to original purity or integrity <healed of sin>