I locked the deadbolt and flicked the regular lock into place, dropped my bag on the chair and sagged against the door. Safe from the insanity outside. For now. How much longer could I cope? There were still six months left on my lease. With a sigh, I pushed off the door and crossed the large single room of my studio apartment to the walk-in closet in the back corner.
“Hello Eric, how was your day?” I shrugged out of my dress clothes and slipped into shorts and a t-shirt. “Are you awake?” I knelt on the closet floor and peered past a crumpled hoodie on the bottom shelf. Continue reading “Somewhere Safe”
Her laugh broke the silence. Anger rushed through me. My daughter’s casket had just been lowered into the ground! What the hell is wrong with her? I stared a hole through the woman without seeing her.
A gentle hand touched my shoulder. “Mom, look,” my son said, pointing at the laughing woman.
“I see her,” I said angrily. “What’s wrong with her?”
“Mom, don’t you see it?” my son said gently. “On her hand.”
I looked at the woman and for the first time realized it was my daughter’s best friend, Mandy. On the back of her hand sat a beautiful butterfly. Its brilliant blue wings raising and lowering slowly. My daughter, Nancy, loved butterflies from the first time she saw one as a toddler. Her love for them grew as she did, she even got a butterfly tattoo on her ankle when she’d turned eighteen. I raised my eyes to meet Mandy’s, her face glowed with pleasure.
The butterfly rose from her hand and flew over the group. The delicate little creature landed on my son’s head. His sad face lit with joy. “Mom, it’ll be okay. It’s a sign,” Brad said, reaching for my hand and turning it palm side up.
The butterfly gracefully flew from his head to my hand. Tears streamed down my face, completely at odds with my huge smile. Slowly I turned and knelt next to my granddaughter. “Look honey, it’s Mommy’s favorite butterfly.”
My little granddaughter laughed. The light tinkling sound mixing with the adults’ deeper chuckles. “Mommy always did wish she could fly,” she reminded me.
The butterfly left my hand, flying over family and friends gathered around. It rose into the sky and flew away. I held my granddaughter in my arms, we watched until it was invisible to our eyes. I don’t think my daughter was that butterfly, but I do think God sent a reminder of Nancy in the form of a delicate butterfly.
I was given the prompt “Her laugh broke the silence” with the instructions to use that as the first sentence and use 500 words or less. This is what I came up with. If you’d like to use the prompt and share your story, you may link to it in the comments or paste it into the comments. Let’s keep things PG-17 please.
It had been a month. But, my heart cried out that it was only yesterday. Raindrops covered the window and slowly trickled down. This morning the weatherman had predicted rain changing to snow this evening. I hope so, I feel as if the world is crying with me and I don’t think I have many more tears. Mom loved snow.
I scooped coffee into the chamber and assembled the old blue speckled percolator. I set it on the stove and turned to face my sister, Jenny. She worked up a small smile and sat down at the table. “It’s hard to believe Mom’s gone,” Jenny said. “I miss her so much.”
I gave her a hug. “We will get through this, I know we will,” I whispered. Grabbing a kleenex from the box on the table, I lowered myself into the other chair.
The percolator began perking. The sound immediately took me back to our childhood home in Oregon. On rainy afternoons Mom would put Postum in the percolator so that my sister and I could enjoy it with her. While we ate our breakfast before school each morning the smell and sound of percolating coffee would waft around the kitchen. Mom would fidget in her chair, waiting impatiently for the coffee to finish. She jokingly said it was the only way she could keep up with us.
“Are you hungry?” I asked.
“A little, but nothing sounds good,” Jenny responded.
It was almost midnight. Only one other truck sat under the bright fluorescent lights, its driver nowhere in sight. I twisted the cap back on the second fuel tank. Out of habit I locked both doors before I walked into the truck stops convenience store.
My eyes darted around, checking everywhere for anything out of the ordinary. It was my habit developed over a year of driving across the country by myself. I entered the store and looked for the restroom sign.
Huge letters spelled out R E S T R O O M S hung on the far wall, shouted to everyone that the bathrooms were this way. After taking care of things, I gathered the supplies I needed: windshield washer fluid, a bottle of milk, and a box of cereal. There’s nothing like the breakfast of champions for your dinner in the middle of the night. Continue reading “Pretending Not to See”