5 Replies to “12.4.2014 Journal Prompt”

  1. Mike let himself in to his uncle Charlie’s house to find him sitting in the living room staring at the wall. The big green wall with nothing on it. Staring. No words spoken: didn’t even look up when Mike walked in.
    “What’s going on Charlie?” Mike’s usual buoyant voice filled the room. His uncle shifted his body in his chair as if to speak. But then no words. The house was quiet. Not even the blare of the TV news that Charlie usually loved to watch.
    Mike and Charlie had been inseparable for as many years as they could remember. Ever since Mike’s parents began their messy divorce when Mike was about six. Often spending the night with Charlie and his wife Mary. Eventually going to school from their house if the parents were in one of their moods. And when the divorce was final Mike naturally moved in with them and tried to be a normal kid. It was more than a father/son relationship they had, for they had chosen each other.
    “Charlie I was just stopping by after work to see how you guys are doing.” And then “Where’s Mary?”
    Mike sat down next to Charlie, quiet like. He didn’t have to wait too long.
    Charlie cleared his throat and in a whisper said
    “Mary’s not doing so well.” A slight cough and another whisper:
    “She’s been in the hospital since this morning. Won’t know until I see the doc tomorrow morning to find out what’s going on.”
    Mike could only muster “She’s going to be ok, Charlie. She’s always come through.”
    “Not sure this time Mike. Not sure at all.”
    Mike knew somehow to not try to say any more for awhile.
    Sometimes men will do this. Men spend a lot of time trying to show who is the strongest or smartest or has the prettiest woman. Mix them up with a group of women especially and all the guys are putting up their tail feathers like roosters crowing in loud voices. Or get a group of men to drinking and bragging about how they are better than the next guy, have the best job, they picked the winning football team, have the inside on the market. It can go on forever.
    But sometimes men can sit and listen. Like they are around an ancient campfire. Listening to the sound of the forest, to the silence of the night, to each other.
    Mike listened.
    “Mary’s not doing so good this time.” Charlie repeated. “She’s been through a lot with her health over the years you know. That damned diabetes has been taking her a small piece at a time.” Mike put his hand on Charlie’s knee and just kept quiet.
    “She’s been through a lot Mary has.” Charlie was able to regain his voice now, finally getting some strength back. “She used to get dizzy and we learned to give her the orange juice instead of rushing her to the doctor. And the medicine has helped her too.”
    Mike remembered all the years with Mary working with her blood sugar, watching her weight, exercising. Trying to stop the slow invasion into her life, her body.
    “It’s maybe her heart this time, Mike. That’s what they’re thinking. That’s what’s got me worried.”
    There was nothing any more that could be said. They sat together quietly, the older man drawing strength from the younger.
    Finally as the embers of the conversation died down, Mike stood up. “Charlie, how about if I come by tomorrow morning early and we head over to the hospital together. Don’t want you taking this on by yourself.”
    Charlie stood up slowly. Embraced each other. Like men sometimes do.

  2. I like this. Such a quiet and real relationship between two men. Only quibble is that word ‘inseparable’ early on. It is such a full word to describe their relationship… and rings not fully true, especially as the story begins with them apart and coming together. ‘Close’ would have been a better word and won’t throw the reader out of the story before it’s begun.

    But, I do like this piece a whole lot. The relationship is so understated and so tender – in that way that men can be sometimes. Fab. Love the listening to the ancient forest bit and the campfire and how it is the whole story, right to the embers of their conversation dying down.

    1. So great to get your feedback. Yes I overshot the mark on the long word “inseparable.” Thanks for that. Had fussed with it for so long just wanted it to be done. In future posts will let it simmer another night.
      This one spoke to me and had to write it. Was at a restaurant where some drunks disrupted our dinner so had to put them in.
      Love your posts. Will keep at it.

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