5 Replies to “7.22.2013 Journal Prompt”

  1. It stopped him dead in his tracks. All the street busy around him and he was a still point and it was something he’d read and he’d not expected that. His name found in the paper and in the obituary column and maybe it was just a coincidence and he understood that there must be others with his name walking about in the world; or, in this case, no longer walking – not the man mentioned in the newspaper, or himself come to a halt in the street.

    But it wasn’t just the name. Not when he continued reading. There was the place he was born, this dead man in the paper, and the parents he’d had and the college he’d attended when young and it was all the same. He lowered the newspaper and looked ahead and then behind, as if he expected this was a joke and there’d be snickers held in cupped palms and ‘April Fool’ shouted at his back – even though it was July.

    Then he returned to what he was reading, combing all the details of this dead man’s life and looking for other points of connection. The man’s wife and her name was Stephania, too. And he had three children and ages the same and Rosa and Giorgio and Elena. And the man worked in Luccio’s where they said he was a valuable member of their sales team and he’d be missed.

    He lowered the paper again and he looked up at the church clock and saw that it was past eleven and moving towards twelve and he was going to be late. He checked the date of the paper and performed a small mental calculation of when it must be. And he’d been at Aldo’s birthday party the night before and he’d been careful with the drinking and he’d left before midnight. Stephania and the whole house was asleep as he’d crept into bed and hadn’t she reached for him in sleep and taken him to her and said his name back to him and then dreamed?

    Was this a dream, he thought. Was he still in sleep and Stephania just in reach if he put out a hand to find her? But then he remembered getting up and the kids going off in a bright storm to school and his wife wet from the shower and she didn’t have time before work and he said he’d meet her for lunch around twelve. Then he’d taken his time getting ready and it felt a little odd being in the house on his own and he walked from room to room and found only quiet and he’d laughed to fill the space and then turned the radio on.

    He folded the newspaper and tucked it under his arm. Then he looked in front and behind again. Still there was no laughter, and looking up at the clock he saw that the hands had not moved and that was odd, he thought. And he was going to be late if he didn’t get a move on.

    He took the paper from under his arm again and opened the pages and began reading, and it caught his eye again, except it was like seeing it for the first time and the man’s name was the same and the place he’d gone to school as a boy and the name of his wife and his children and where he’d worked and where he’d be missed. And he looked up at the church clock and still it was after half eleven and moving towards twelve and he was definitely going to be late. But he did not move; was as still as still and dead in his tracks.

  2. Oh dear. You had to read it several times? I wonder why that was. I was going for unusual and surprising and definitely sad, so thanks for persevering with this, Judith.

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