Image


In honor of his promotion, Lena had made a celebratory dinner.  Robert didn’t have the heart to tell her he’d been fired that morning.  The seven of them sat around the dining room table in silence.  Robert preferred silence.  It was his thinking time, his time to plan for the morrow.  The squawking of the children distracted him, and he wasn’t interested in Lena’s trifling concerns over curtains or immunizations or making arrangements for boarding the slobbering dog.

Lena handed him the gravy boat.  He made a well in his mashed potatoes with the silver ladle, a wedding gift from a distant relative.  He returned the gravy to Lena who handed it to the eldest child.  The silence was punctuated by clattering silverware and the occasional murmured requests for potatoes or broccoli or bread.
Robert ate around the edges of his potatoes, careful not to make a break in the wall.  He didn’t like the gravy glopping all over his plate, mixing with the applesauce and the carrots.  He chuckled.  His boss had just told him this morning he was too risk-averse. 

“Father?”

He’d asked them to call him that.  A stupid request.

He looked up.  They’d paused, expectant, forks mid-air.   “What?”

“You laughed, just then.  You broke the silence.”  It was the fourth child. The brave child.  Phillip.  Robert glanced at the child’s plate.  “You eat potatoes the same way I do.”  Robert realized that he was looking at an image of himself, in miniature.   The child resembled him in every way, except for his courage.

“Are you feeling all right, Robert?”  Lena pressed a cool hand to his forehead. 

He brushed it away.

He wondered  idly whether Phillip would grow up to become Robert; whether he, too, would be so involved with his career that he wouldn’t notice himself reflected in his children seated round him at the dinner table. 
He dragged his fork across his potatoes.  Again he broke the silence.  “Who’s up for a game of catch after dinner?” 

This post was written in response to the Trifecta Writing Challenge.  The word was image.

Labels:

Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: Image

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Image


In honor of his promotion, Lena had made a celebratory dinner.  Robert didn’t have the heart to tell her he’d been fired that morning.  The seven of them sat around the dining room table in silence.  Robert preferred silence.  It was his thinking time, his time to plan for the morrow.  The squawking of the children distracted him, and he wasn’t interested in Lena’s trifling concerns over curtains or immunizations or making arrangements for boarding the slobbering dog.

Lena handed him the gravy boat.  He made a well in his mashed potatoes with the silver ladle, a wedding gift from a distant relative.  He returned the gravy to Lena who handed it to the eldest child.  The silence was punctuated by clattering silverware and the occasional murmured requests for potatoes or broccoli or bread.
Robert ate around the edges of his potatoes, careful not to make a break in the wall.  He didn’t like the gravy glopping all over his plate, mixing with the applesauce and the carrots.  He chuckled.  His boss had just told him this morning he was too risk-averse. 

“Father?”

He’d asked them to call him that.  A stupid request.

He looked up.  They’d paused, expectant, forks mid-air.   “What?”

“You laughed, just then.  You broke the silence.”  It was the fourth child. The brave child.  Phillip.  Robert glanced at the child’s plate.  “You eat potatoes the same way I do.”  Robert realized that he was looking at an image of himself, in miniature.   The child resembled him in every way, except for his courage.

“Are you feeling all right, Robert?”  Lena pressed a cool hand to his forehead. 

He brushed it away.

He wondered  idly whether Phillip would grow up to become Robert; whether he, too, would be so involved with his career that he wouldn’t notice himself reflected in his children seated round him at the dinner table. 
He dragged his fork across his potatoes.  Again he broke the silence.  “Who’s up for a game of catch after dinner?” 

This post was written in response to the Trifecta Writing Challenge.  The word was image.

Labels:

14 Comments:

At January 31, 2012 at 9:29 AM , Anonymous Elizabeth Young said...

These little reminders along the way set us straight and give us right perspective. Jobs come and go, children are forever.

 
At January 31, 2012 at 9:36 AM , Anonymous Michael Yost said...

Nice one.

 
At January 31, 2012 at 9:44 AM , Anonymous SadieCass said...

Oh, I do love this. The impact of not just a life change, but a look inside of yourself. Very nicely done.

 
At January 31, 2012 at 11:41 AM , Anonymous Satu Gustafson said...

I like how you sketch out the dilemma right in the first lines: In honor of his promotion, Lena had made a celebratory dinner. Robert didn’t have the heart to tell her he’d been fired that morning. - That says it all and throws the reader into the tension.

 
At January 31, 2012 at 11:47 AM , Anonymous SAM said...

The things we see when we take a moment to stop and look around. Perfectly executed through your writing.

 
At January 31, 2012 at 5:11 PM , Anonymous barbara said...

lovely picture of new hope in old habits - and how a child can lead. :)

 
At February 1, 2012 at 4:42 AM , Anonymous TLanceB said...

I love examples of how kids can lead adults in the right moments. This was really well written. I like how silence is a character.

 
At February 1, 2012 at 6:47 AM , Anonymous Carrie said...

Oh, how sad. It's tragic that it took a stressful event such as getting fird to let Robert really see how fortunate he was in his life, how lucky he was to have such a great family.

I really enjoyed this little scene

 
At February 1, 2012 at 9:01 AM , Anonymous jaum said...

Love the WAY this was written... Seeing your reflection in your childrem

 
At February 1, 2012 at 5:48 PM , Anonymous Pamelitasayers said...

Well written piece.

Pamela

 
At February 2, 2012 at 1:39 AM , Anonymous Jeremy Bates said...

agree with aforesaid... very clean writing

 
At February 2, 2012 at 7:09 AM , Anonymous Natalie said...

Favorite part--the introduction--well done!

 
At February 2, 2012 at 3:38 PM , Anonymous jesterqueen1 said...

The tension between the man and his family here is visceral. He has painted himself into a corner, into a role. And yet here, at the end, there might be a chance for him to break out.

 
At February 3, 2012 at 5:00 AM , Anonymous Trifeta said...

Kelly, as usual you bring everyone right into the scene that you are describing. I think we all felt we were sitting at the dinner table with them. Another really enjoyable story. Looking forward to the weekend prompt!

 

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