4 Replies to “11.20.2013 Journal Prompt”

  1. It was something Denny’s dad had done. Before he’d passed. Before the cancer had eaten out his insides. He’d made lists. Written in a deteriorating hand so that some things could not now be read, but he’d shared those lists with the boy. Like he was taking stock of all he’d done and the things he’d still to do. That gave Denny the idea.

    The end was more quick than anyone had expected. Quicker than his dad had thought. Quicker than any doctor’s estimate. They’d said months and it was but weeks. And so there were things on that last list that the Denny’s dad never got to do, other than talking them through with the boy and that at least was something. And the last thing he’d said to the boy, his rattle-words all spit and breath and small sound, the last thing he said was that Denny was not to waste his life, not one moment of it. So the boy made his list.

    His dad’s list was of places he wanted to see and things he wanted to do. The places were far off and everywhere and the names they carried did not sit easy on his father’s tongue. Strange places they were, places that held spice and mist and mystery in their naming. And the dad told the boy stories of those places, things the dad had read in books and things that made him want to see for himself. Statues as tall as hills and all of gold; and girls prettier than mam was when she was pretty, and those girls wore no clothes and thought nothing of that; and beaches with sand as white as snow and water as blue as summer skies and the air warm as winter breaths held in the cup of your hands; and everything so different and clean and happy.

    It cost Denny dear to put down in words all that he wanted to see and do. Not because the list, like his dad’s, was a trailing toilet roll of dreams, and his dad said he was sure he’d missed something and was, till the last, adding to the list that he kept tucked under his pillow. Not for this was the making of the boy’s list a hurt. Denny’s list was modestly short, but no more within his reach than the places on his dad’s list.

    There was only one thing Denny wanted to do and that was to kiss Olivia Barre, her name a holy prayer in his mouth, rolling and rolling around on his tongue. She was a year behind him in school and she was the prettiest girl in all of the town and it was not just Denny who thought so. And some of the boys said they’d like to put their hands under her shirt and they closed their eyes and pretended that was what they were doing. And one boy said he’d been so close and they were warm as puppies and as soft and he was talking Olivia’s tits. But Denny only wanted the kiss, for he could not dream any further than that.

    And the place he wanted to see, some far off unspoiled place that had never been seen before, but Denny did not know how it could ever be. And it was no unwalked beach lit up like the sun slept there. No, a darker place it was. The inside of Olivia’s head was where he wanted to be. And he imagined it was a room with shelves from floor to ceiling and books on every shelf and there just might be a book with his name on it and he wanted to read that book, cover to cover, to see what her thoughts about him were.

    And having written those two things down in a new scrawl, he could not think of anything more. His dad had wanted to see the whole wide world and Denny wanted the same; the difference was that for Denny, now his dad was gone, Olivia was his whole world.

  2. Thanks for this Judith… I threw this off this morning before rushing off to work and wasn’t all that sure of what i’d written, though there were some lines that I knew I liked.

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