Paperback, Dead Pet, and a Passing
Two Micros and a Personal Note
(inspired by the prompt Write about a mystery from 28 Writing Prompts for the 2022 Flash Fiction Challenge)
Lana watches the mug totter and the baby try her legs; the fall is inevitable for both. The paperback absorbs coffee like the kids’ washcloths drink bathwater. She scolds herself for leaving coffee unattended. She scolds kids (silently) for being awake at 4:47. Lana ties her pajamas while leaping toward towels. The baby points at the spill. The toddler rolls to her tummy and gawks at the mess. Lana reminds herself not to swear, a task typically reserved for closer to 6:00. She dries the liquid (not really cleaning it) and considers the paperback. Still Life curls on the table.
A Personal Note
My father-in-law passed away. My kids, who are nine, seven, and three, were able in their own ways to say goodbye this past weekend.
My nine-year-old asks specific details about what happens in the brain when a stroke occurs. He puzzles about dementia. My seven-year-old gives more hugs than usual, and shares with her first grade class about her grandpa. My toddler rampages, oblivious.
I am not ready for this. But we’ve been ready for this for years.
There will be a short service on Friday. My older two kids will attend. My husband, having spent all last week at the hospice, is coping with life after death as well as he can.
This is normal. Not unusual. And it still hurts.
(inspired by the prompt Write about a character attempting to be heartfelt from the same source as above)
I see tears. He is six years old. Everybody knows fish die. “Child, stop crying.” “Lucky’s gone.” I put my hands on his soft shoulders. I try to keep them still. They’re trembling again. “I want Mommy.” “It’s just a fish.” I remember my Lucky. My chicken, Louise. I was his age. I helped Daddy prepare Louise for dinner. “Fish die, like everything else.” He shudders. “Will I see Lucky when I die?” I imagine all the dead people and dead pets bumping into each other and bunking together in a crowded afterlife. How uncomfortable. “No, child. You’ll be dead.”
Thanks for reading. I do appreciate it.