What I Fear – Day Seventeen: Your Personality on the Page

Day Seventeen: Your Personality on the Page

Today’s Prompt: We all have anxieties, worries, and fears. What are you scared of? Address one of your worst fears.

“Hey, time to get up! There’s something I want to talk to you about…”

And that how my day begins, my brain screaming at me hoping to jar me from whatever rest I was able to achieve. The thumping, no pounding, in my chest tricking my body into thinking that something is very wrong. It’s not until it gets to my ears that I really give it any credence, but when it does I jump running for another room, another place to be. Anywhere but in my bed, even if it means sitting in a robe on the couch in the basement, I run.

I have a few things to be anxious about. Some are things that would knock others off their game if dealing with but a single episode, I’m dealing with three. Fear took over making some rational thoughts some time ago, my knowing that picking the wrong path would set me back even further. In a world where I was measuring wins by weeks and months, I am scrambling to find a small victory in the simplest of things done on a daily basis.

The brain is a nasty, rotten thing when it decides that play time is over for you and it gets to call the shots based on whatever mixture of chemicals is currently flowing. Panic, fear, happy, elated; those are all things I feel in a single flash, all at once and with no ability to separate. Even when I should be feeling the warmth of a single smile, I’m flashing back to some other time when the smile was from something or someone else. My mother joking recently that the nurse had a crush on me and all I could do was frown and ask “why should she care an ounce about me, I’m nothing.”

I hate depression. Almost as much as I hate the cancer that keeps moving about my body. But at least that doesn’t come with such a high price, I can take a pain pill and get past most things. I don’t, because I want to feel the pain. But I also fear what it has left me with. A broken spirit to match my somewhat broken body.

My fear is bolstered by these questions I feel I need to understand. There are a couple of whys that will never be resolved because the answers lay within someone who has told me I don’t deserve to know. That my pain is my issue and they just aren’t going to help no matter what the circumstances. It’s a cruel joke that this person has the ability to control everything because I created a world based on my trust of her.

But while that pounding still rings in my ears, I run from everything and everyone. Hide from the world because I can’t allow any more fear to enter it. If I don’t give anyone the power to help, they also can’t have the power to hurt. There’s a disturbed irony to that.

I hear words like brain chemistry and emotional distress, they make me laugh. To think that the same machine that allows me to remember the level of detail it takes to rebuild entire equations from memory also uses those memories to remind me almost daily of some negatives that I wish never happened. Small children shut me down because I still have questions about my own daughter’s death. Creating a binding trust for something that protects my ex is hard to explain to anyone, even the lawyer! You ever here someone talk about how they wished they could remember everything, I’m telling you it’s not a great thing.

Every smell, every glimmer of positive balanced with seeing and feeling every negative thing all at the same, and all at once.

Fear is an ugly thing. I wish it were just spiders, or snakes, even a water tower; but it’s not. I’m afraid of myself. The guy who looks back in the mirror and thinks that karma has caught up to him. Having internalized someone telling me that everything was my fault, it just let’s the fear have more power.

At least I recognize it. Even while trying to control it, I know it is in the room waiting for me to slip up. It would be so easy to let it become anger and lash out, but that’s just shifting the fear to someone else. In a world were people around me count on using my grumpy demeanor for getting things done, at times it is true anger that wants to burn the world down. Only I fear letting that beast ever come out.

So while this has taken me days to write, it’s short and concise. I know fear right now, and I hope that the most you fear is heights or forgetting to check the stove when you went to the movies. This is not the type of thing I want others to know or understand. But I fear some of you do.


Centuries Old Heirloom – Writing 101

Day Twenty: The Things We Treasure

Today’s Prompt: Tell us the story of your most-prized possession.

The curves aren’t quite in the same shape they were years ago. And the keys that turn it over have to be gently placed in their opening for fear that something might pop out and start a long journey into finding parts for something that is clearly older than I am, older than anyone I know. It was once the center piece of the town I was born in having fallen into the hands of my relatives long before I was even a twinkle in a conversation my parents might have had about when they were going to start a family.

The face has grown this greyish patina over the decades, no one has ever wanted to put any type of cleanser near it. The wooden frame has been gone over with mineral oil and nothing more than a cloth. My banjo clock is about 300 years old and only functions when it gets the urge. More obstinate than any child, if you don’t have it resting against the wall at just the correct angle, the pendulum doesn’t sway as it should. The weight going in directions the builder never intended.

For years it hang in my grandparents kitchen. This clock was once the official timepiece of Lowell, Massachusetts. How my great-great grandparents came up with the funds to purchase it, no one knows. They were dairy farmers in Maine at the time. It was a good living, but not one that allowed for people to just run around buying crazy things. Who knows, maybe they traded something for it? My clock the result of several gallons of milk changing hands.

Every year someone would tell me this clock was to be mine when I got older. Plenty of my family has been born in Massachusetts, but I’m the only one from Lowell. So history was on my side. For years I watched the clock be taken apart and serviced. The gears oiled, tiny adjustments made to the inner workings. My participation limited to watch, no touch! As the years went by I would stare at that clock whenever I visited, wondering when it would follow me home.

That day came eventually, my grandparents selling their home to move into a Adult Residential Community (nursing home for those who aren’t being told to leave their homes!). I wrapped in up in blankets and put it inside my car, resting it across the backseat. Nothing else was going home with me. For that three hours drive I kept looking at it strapped safely in the backseat of my Volvo. Tied in like a child restraint would hold some other precious cargo.

It hangs in the formal dining room of my house. But it doesn’t work for longer than an hour. Somewhere along the lines my memory failing with whatever tricks my grandfather used to keep it going. Maybe that was his last joke on me, learn to fix this yourself. My own father not knowing anything about it other than, “It’s your clock!” I’ve called the Smithsonian to see if they could suggest a person in my area. I’m not mailing it anywhere, too big a risk.

So I fool around with 17th Century technology while wondering if I can ever get it to tell me time in the 21st. It’s passed through the hands of my relatives, people I’ve never met, people who are only names in a list. The mystery of why it came into their lives as interesting as the clock itself.

I don’t know what I’ll do with it. The person it was intended for having joined those other relatives before she had a chance to watch her father spend an afternoon a month cleaning this thing. It would have been one of the few stories I would have been able to tell her about my grandfather that didn’t make me cringe by the time I was finished. (although I will give him credit for taking such good care of it, he could have just tossed it in a corner or given it away.) I would have enjoyed teaching her how to fix this clock so that she one day could pass it on to a child of her own. Maybe I would have been lucky enough to teach them both.  [I know that is why my ex gave me a watch when we started dating.  It is also one of my most treasured things, I still wear it daily.  Even my mother notices when I don’t have it on!  That’s when she asks if I’m alright.  But that’s a different story…]

Maybe I’ll donate it back to the town of my birth, Lowell has tried for years to overcome the reputation as just another rundown former textile mill. And to me it has always been more than the depiction “The Fighter” staring Mark Walhburg and Christian Bale left in the minds of the country. I’ve enjoyed going on the canal tours whenever I visit, going to the Greek bakery and laughing when my parents remind me of how much snow was falling the day I was born (a foot!). The museums in the area might like to have something from that time as well.

This clock is a living history of people. So many hands have touched it over the years before it came to me. Just knowing that there was a point where my grandfather’s grandfather probably uttered some of the same misguided curses while working on it makes me smile. The horse drawn carriage that must have carried it from Maine to Worchester, MA a story in itself.

I love this clock for all it represents, and I feel sad for the things that it could have represented in the future.

Boy on a Stoop – Writing 101 Day 18

Today’s prompt: write this story in first person, told by the twelve-year-old sitting on the stoop across the street.

Mom said I can’t go out and help. I have ta just sit here and watch cause it’s safer than wandering the streets. Looking up and down the block I can’t see nothing. Everyone has been following the sounds of the police and the fire trucks since yesterday. Jimmy next door gets to go, why can’t I?

“Well, Jimmy’s grandma don’t care what he does. You lucky to have someone like me watching out for you. Damn-it boy, you don’t know how lucky you really is!” My grandma always had a way of fixing an argument by telling me how lucky I is. I don’t feel lucky, just left out. Jimmy got a new pair of shoes yesterday from his uncle. Bright white Air Jordans, like I seen on tv.

Wonder where he got the money for them? Jimmy’s uncle ain’t been working much lately. That city job went away after he starting yelling at his boss. Jimmy’s uncle got a temper, I seen him hit Jimmy once before. Grandma says it’s none of my business, but Jimmy’s my friend.

Last night there was some excitement cause some kids started lightin’ firecrackers so the police would come running. Not sure why they do something like that? Why would you want the police chasing you? Grandma says they no-good kids just making it harder on her to get to work. Three buses, walk some blocks and all so she can style hair at Aunt Lucille’s House of Beauty. She ain’t really my aunt, but we all call her that outta ‘spect.

My phone’s been blowing up with messages telling me to get down to the CVS. Smoke still coming from the place since it burned down Monday. The old people place they building burned down too. Grandma was looking to move there, church had it all set up for her. I could get my room back, not sleep on no damn couch anymore. Why they have to go a ruin that for me? I need me my space.

“Boy, I need you to go down the street and get me some milk. Don’t you be draggin back here two hours from now. You go, get milk, get back. You understand?”

“Yeah, grandma. I hear ya!”

Finally I get to see what all this ‘citement is about. Grandma give me $5 bucks and says to give her the change, she ain’t running no charity. Grabbin’ my jacket, I put my headphones in and start off.

I can see what’s left of that cell phone place that Korean guy run. The windows are gone. The shelves empty. Did he leave? That was fast. Then I see the police tape over the door. Yellow rope always means someone done something wrong. You see it here too much.

That market Grandma wants me to go to is closed up too. What have people been doin’? Mom was talking about people stealing stuff, but this looks like they took everything they could stuff in a pocket. There ain’t even no Windex sitting on a shelf. Grandma always talking bout how that stuff cleans anything.

“Excuse me young man, what do you think you are doing?” I know that voice! That neighborhood watch guy who always walkin’ and wavin’ at people. Always writing stuff down, ready to call the police if something not right.

“I’m just getting milk! What you care?” A little more loudly than I thought. Not smart, just angry I being ‘cused of doing something I ain’t.

“You best be getting back to your grandma, kiddo.” Writing something in that notebook and just wandering off. How’s even sure who I am? Stupid guard dog!

Taking the long way back so I can tell Grandma that I tried, I see the people picking bottles up in the park. Another bunch of people carrying off the remains of that jungle gym where Sheila let me kiss her last week. Jimmy so proud I finally be acting like a man, not no boy. She smelled like strawberry.

They start waving me over, asking if I wanted to help. “Grandma told me to get right back! She don’t know where I am.” But I want to stay, this looks like fun. At least it ain’t sittin on the porch staring at cars.

“Call your Grandma, tell her you here.” It’s that old guy who keeps walking by at night, Mr. Tyson. I think he got a thing for my grandma.

It might work. Grandma likes him too, maybe this is my get outta the house card?

She’s cool with it once I tell her whose her. She didn’t even ask me about the milk. Says she’ll bring some water or something for us to drink. Thank you Mr. Tyson! Grandma must really like you.

Everyone talkin bout how to replace this stuff. Where the money gonna come from, stuff like that. Maybe that guy who runs things at the community center might be able to help. Maybe, someone find some donor to take pity on us poor folk and just give us new stuff. That one gets boos. Ain’t no one gonna care later bout this.

Grandma comes down and the old people start talking about Dr. King. They saying he wouldn’t have been happy bout how things working out. People still talkin about that guy who died last week after he been arrested. Mom doesn’t like me watching the news, too depressing she says. But I hear the stuff at school. Teachers talking in class about how to act if things get bad. Way to talk to the police so you don’t end up in the back of some squad car. Grandma told me always answer with “yes, sir” and “No, sir”. Don’t say nothing stupid. Jimmy’s uncle always talking about they looking to lock up anybody, no reason. Some quota thing.

I see Sheila across the park. She just sittin there with her sister, sipping on some water. She starts pointing over where the jungle gym used to be and sorta shrugs her shoulders. I guess she don’t know where we gonna hang out later either.

Time to go home and sit back on that porch. Staring at cars goin by, some just cruisin’ looking for something to do. Other people driving through so they can see what the heck happened while the sun is still up. Before the curfew goes in at 10. Mom making sure she gets home in time, no need to have no police asking her where she coming from.

I just want to walk mt street without lookin over my shoulder. Me and Jimmy just talkin about girls. Talkin’ ’bout sports.

Just as I get round the corner I see flashing lights in the street. Why the police on Jimmy’s porch? And why they holding they hats while Jimmy’s moms be cryin? Grandma just holds my shoulder and tells me to stay where I at. We find out soon enough.

I Miss the Music, or Maybe It’s the People? – A Writing 101 Production

Today’s Prompt: Think about an event you’ve attended and loved. Your hometown’s annual fair. That life-changing music festival. A conference that shifted your worldview. Imagine you’re told it will be cancelled forever or taken over by an evil corporate force.

How does that make you feel?

Music, decent food made with love by a selection of vendors who are trying their best to outdo each other, and a bunch of rowdy people jockeying for space closest to a stage.  This is how I liked to spend the first weekend in May.  The DC101 Chili Cook-Off, sponsored by the National Kidney Foundation and Bud Light!  I get the irony in an alcohol based anything working with a national charity to raise money, but we’ll get to that later.  Standing under a series of tents, hawking beer to potential minors, praying that I didn’t have to wash my hands after every person I met tried to hug me; for me it was paradise and torture all at the same time.

Every year around March I would get a notice asking what I wanted to do to volunteer.  Check I.D.s, take tickets for the beer, help set up tables and later tear them down, or my go-to Selling Beer to Anyone with Money!  That sounds overly broad, if someone gave you a wrist band, I was selling you a ticket.  You’d wind your way through the rope, all 12 feet of it, hand me your money, I would hand you some tickets and point you towards the giant tanker truck style vehicles with taps in their sides.  This became more interesting as the day would go on, lots of drunk morons lost in the parking lot of R.F.K. Stadium just on the edge of Washington, D.C.

I’d pack Whitney up in the car, tell her that it was going to be fun [or the people I was laughing about would be the humor point], we’d watch a couple of bands and just do some good for a day.  I hated the Port-o-Pottys, I disliked the fact that I wasn’t sure if my car would be vandalized by someone from the surrounding hood, and I have a reputation for not liking people.  By the end of the day, my t-shirt saying proudly “One Last Call for Alcohol, 7:30 p.m.” covered in sweat.  Unfortunately I was usually the drunk who hugged me because I slid him an extra ticket.

Over the years I saw Stone Temple Pilots, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, plenty of other rock acts during my time slinging booze.  I never got over the people who would thank me profusely for selling them beer.  You gave me money, what did you expect me to do?!!  Even the year I felt creepy about the guys looking inside the shoebox we were storing the money in, until I put it in my backpack and walked it to security.  [The next year, they were a little better organized!]

Than, it just stopped.  No more asking for volunteers and then no more festival period.  I never heard why.  Clear Channel is a large enough company that they could have kept cajoling musicians into showing up.  The Kidney Foundation, well they do like to find ways to raise money.  These things always made plenty of that.  I sold $5,000 worth of beer on my own in the matter of a few hours.  There were at least 20 other doing the same thing, in four hour shifts, all day long!

I looked forward to that every year.  It was just one of those times when I would act goofy for a few hours with people I would never see again.  Or at least hoped I wouldn’t run into in a professional setting.  I looked forward to sitting in a chair, watching Whitney smiling back at me because while she wasn’t the biggest fan of this event, she knew I was secretly loving it.  Talking music, for a couple of hours with people who were so different from my daily routine, it excited me.

We’d drive back to Annapolis afterwards commenting about the people pouring both in and out of those Port-o-Potty stalls.  Some barely able to remember which direction the stage was in.  I’d talk about the first time hearing some of the acts first albums in college, she tell me about hearing some of those same things but she was still in high school.  There weren’t any worries about work, or family, nothing about doctors visits or some other issue.  I could always count those days as being something we could joke about, from the minute we left the house until the minute we crawled into bed exhausted from it all.

Maybe I miss it most, am angry about it’s having gone away because I always knew those were going to be good days.

Writing 101 – Day Fourteen: To Whom It May Concern

Day Fourteen: To Whom It May Concern

Today’s Prompt: Pick up the nearest book and flip to page 29. What’s the first word that jumps off the page? Use this word as your springboard for inspiration – [in this case my book was All the Light You Cannot See]

Dear Sirs,

I counted the steps it takes me to get to the mailbox, roughly 150!  There are days when I walk there and find nothing but magazines or letters from some company asking me to sign up for some additional services.  Other days there are reminders of things I would rather forget.  Bills, Bills, Bills as Destiny’s Child sang about years ago.  I don’t know what to expect on any given day, but there are a few things I don’t expect to see.  I would like to address that issue with your company.

Receiving a Birthday Card is supposed to be a joyous occasion, something that reminds you that another year has passed and you are on the minds and in the hearts of others.  The ads you sent along with them were equal amounts of confusion and a painful reminder of yet another year passing.  Why would you be thanking me for my series of recent purchases?  I know I haven’t stepped in your store since February of 2014.  It’s not like I need to look at my credit card statement, there has been no reason to go shopping for the products you provide.  If someone is using my rewards card, well you should notify them that the points they believe have been accumulating are just not going to be there.  But then if they are using my card, I guess the points would be available, let them use them!

Please take us off of your list.  I celebrate that birthday in a manner very different from what you intended when you sent the card.  It’s a solemn event now.  The candles aren’t being lit for a cake that shouldn’t be bought.  I like cake, but not on that day.  But that is a matter for me to deal with, alone.  The reminders in my house are hard enough.

I don’t hold you or your company responsible for my reactions, I own my feelings.  But I do question thanking someone for business that just didn’t occur.  It seems a little in congruent.

To sum this up, please remove my address and any other data you may have from your system.  I don’t think I wish to contemplate next year’s reminder.  That may feel cruel.



That Time I Found Myself…

Day Thirteen: Serially Found

On day four, you wrote a post about losing something. Today’s Prompt: write about finding something.

Most mornings I like to sit down with a cup of tea and peruse my work email.  That day was a little different, something unique had shown up and I thought I’d look through it first.  A note asking if I had an interest in volunteering to help build a playground in Washington, D.C.  It wasn’t just the request that caught my eye, but the sender as well.  The Washington Capitols had made the offer.  I’m just a casual hockey fan, a Boston Bruins one at that.  But it sounded like the type of thing I wanted to do, needed to do.

My office allows for people to take time off without using any leave to do charity work.  So I called up Human Resources and asked how to code it in PeopleSoft.  They just said mark it miscellaneous.  Did I have to prove what I was doing?  Oh, just take a picture for our wall of accomplishments and we’ll call it even.  Well that was generous!  Wonder how many people walk up to some charity event and take a picture then head off to the movies?

They scheduled me for two days worth of activity.  The first being a get to know you scenario where they learned if I could hold a hammer without needing medical assistance later.  I even spent some of my day working various saws trying to fashion the beginnings of park benches and trellises for flowers to be planted, or maybe they were just for shade.  I don’t recall.  By the end of the day, I was completely sunburned, tired, and had been assigned a small group of my own for the next day’s fun.

Having learned that I had no patience for D.C. traffic after manual labor, I called my dad and asked him to drop me off at the Metro station on his way into the office.  6 a.m. I’m standing on a platform with a dozen other people dressed in their best professional attire, me in hiking boots and a crappy t-shirt.  My savior being I was carrying a copy of the Wall Street Journal, so the eyes averted for a second trying to understand the picture before them.

By 8 a.m. I was dancing like a child, doing jumping jacks and wearing a colorful umbrella on my head.  A scene that would have made any of my friends or family wonder who they were looking at.  Calling out the names of the people on my team, trying to get them excited for the labor we were going to accomplish, scared I was going to screw this up when someone realized I’m just a guy who tinkers with tools on the weekends.

By the end of the day, I was covered in sweat, mulch, and a little blood from having taken a whack at my thumb.  But the other thing that I was covered in was so much better, pride and sense of accomplishment.

I rode that wave of good feelings all the way home.  You turn on some interview with a surfer and they talk about that perfect moment, that wave they sat all morning waiting for.  Only to ride it in and hope they sometime find that same feeling within themselves later.  For the next week I kept bragging about the project and how I felt.  It had become the park I had built.  Those other 50 people didn’t figure into my narrative.

I found something within myself that I haven’t felt since and wish I could.  There are times when I know I’m doing the things that need to be done, and the reasons they have to be done that way.  Others sometimes find it cold, some find it hard to accept that I shut it out in a conversation only to have it occupy my thoughts later.  For one afternoon, I did something that reaches out beyond the people I see, to a group of people I don’t know and will never meet.  Right now some mother is sitting on a bench I built watching her child slide down a rainbow colored tube.  A father is holding his child’s hand while pushing then gently back and forth on a swing.  I helped to do that.

For a few days I found myself.  Not the guy in the office who grumbles when things aren’t quite right.  It wasn’t about me being a son or boyfriend.  I wasn’t that guy with the cancer.  No one asked my advice on some work project.  My education didn’t matter to a single person.  For an afternoon I was just some guy with a hammer and nails building a park and it was the greatest feeling in the world to me.

Writing 101, Day Twelve

They always joke about looking at your audience and seeing them naked, or at least in some start of undress.  This would not be one of those times.  My family would be front and center, that’s just a picture you don’t ever want to have.  And when you do find yourself seeing the real thing, hopefully by accident, you try your best to scrub it from your mental Rolodex of images.  It wasn’t nerves about getting up in front of people are talking about him, it was mostly that I wasn’t sure that I wanted to.

Calling it a contentious relationship would have put a more positive spin on things then they deserved.  There were times when I couldn’t be in the same room with him and not think about wanting to strangle someone.  If not him, my parents for having the nerve to ask me to show up in the first place.  Holidays were the one thing I knew to expect, but random dinners were another subject all together.  And eventually as I got older, I stop going to Thanksgiving opting to remain safely in another state away from the craziness.

But now was my opportunity to get up in front of a large group of people and either lambaste the guy or choose to tell some heart-wrenching tale of my childhood.  Those being the only memories worth sharing with anyone. What was I going to do?  The drive was going to take me about 3 hours, it’s not like I hadn’t known for some time that there was a risk of others wanting me to regale them with some recollection.  But all I felt was confusion about whether this should be done for me or for him?

See I could talk about the time he tried to teach me the important lesson of ensuring the electricity is turned off at the breaker and not just the wall switch.  “Hey Snowy, did you turn the power off?”  My grandfather looking back at me and replying “Of course the power is turned off!”  This right as I’m getting ready to rewire the new combination fan/light fixture over the kitchen table.  Grab a wire, next thing I remember is being on the floor, my teeth rattling as I try to check if my bowels were still intact.  After getting up, looking him squarely in the eyes, instantly remembering that he no longer was taller than me I just growled and walked out of the room.  “Next time check the breaker boy!”  Another of those lessons taught, don’t trust my grandfather.

But then I think the crowd would be more regaled with the time we went to visit my cousin’s farm in Maine and they taught me to milk a cow.  Hundreds of these things wandering around a field, and all I knew about milk was I could find it in the refrigerator.  12 years old and sitting on a stool, grabbing an utter while my cousins sat there laughing about the “City Kid”.  I didn’t live in the city, I lived in the middle of an apple orchard you backwards hillbillies!  So while also telling me the virtues of not peeing near an electric fence [another of my grandfather’s life lesson, only this time he was the one shocked!], everyone gave me differing instructions.  By the end I didn’t have enough product to use for my own breakfast, let alone figured out how you do this to several hundred cows a day, everyday.  Pull back the stall door, there it is, modern equipment.  A room filled with stalls that could have saved my pride, or at least my version of it.

Now I think that story is hilarious and look forward to some day trying the same routine with my nephew.  So that would be one for the positive side of the ledger.  But it didn’t get me any closer to my solution.  And the drive was almost over.  I asked Whitney want she thought, “I don’t know what to tell you.  I only see the guy at Christmas and your aunt’s birthday so I might not be the best judge for these stories.  Just keep in mind, people will remember you for what you say now.  Maybe you should think about that?”

Getting out of the car and sliding my suit jacket on I could see all of the cars in the parking lot.  My cousins had made it down, my parent’s didn’t want to drive too long so they had come up the day before.  As I walked in the doors, people i hadn’t seen in years came over and wanted to talk about life, mine in particular.  “How was work?”  “Gosh you’ve gotten to be so much bigger than I remember.”  Me thinking that people were trying to gear me up for what was about to happen.  My dad walking over and just grabbing my shoulder, leading me off.

Passing my grandfather’s casket I just stopped for a minute.  The man I knew was there, but he wasn’t at the same time.  All of those ugly stories that crossed my mind felt bitter in my mouth.  I couldn’t say anything like that, I knew I never would have.  But seeing him, eyes closed with his arms folded.  Someone pointing out that we forgot to give the funeral home shoes so his big, floppy sock covered feet were just dangling there for us to smirk at.  One last giggle at his expense.  As it was time to walk in to the sanctuary, my dad drops one final gift into the casket.  A belt buckle made of brass, emblazoned with a Mack Bulldog.  The sound of heavy metal hitting the unprotected bottom of the casket sent a horrible thud through the silence, everyone turning to see if the old guy had gotten up or we had tipped him over.

“Is there anyone who wold like to say something else?”

I sat there is silent thought, I couldn’t move.  For a minute I allowed myself to grieve for the man who I had spent the last 15 years avoiding.  I shook out of it as quickly as I had the revelation.  But this was about him, not me.  It would be better to sit there in silence than say something stupid.  Grabbing Whitney’s hand, we both knew I was going to remain silent.

Day Twelve: Dark Clouds on the (Virtual) Horizon

Today’s Prompt: Write a post inspired by a real-world conversation.