Things Upside-Down


David wakes moments before the alarm clicks on.  He pats Tessa’s side of the bed, hoping to find it occupied.  He’s disappointed.  He’s not surprised: For the past three hundred and forty-seven days, he’s looked for his wife on the other side of the bed.  Of course, despite the gossip at the office, he doesn’t actually believe she is coming back to him—to them.  But in that tiny sliver of space between dreams and reality, lives hope.  He settles easily into this hope every morning before forcing himself to wake.  Now, he blinks into the darkness, listening to the morning headlines on NPR, hoping to catch the Phillies score before Teddy comes in, demanding breakfast.

Three alarm fire at an apartment building.  Armed robbery on South Street.  He needs to get these kids out of the city.   

“Daddy?” 

David sighs and pulled back the covers.  Teddy crawls into Tessa’s side of the bed.  David draws him close, wrapping his left arm over Teddy’s tiny body, nuzzling his hair with his chin.  “You need a haircut.”

“I like it,” Teddy murmurs. 

David has meant to get Teddy’s hair cut for the past several weeks.  But somehow, he never seems to have enough time.  Besides, if it keeps the kid happy, David reasons, let him keep it long.  Until the principal calls, he will let it go.  He closes his eyes; tells himself just five more minutes.   He feels himself drift away; allows him mind to drift back into that tiny sliver of space.

“I’m hungry, Daddy.”

David blinks his eyes back open.  “OK.”  He rises and stretches; pulls socks, tee shirt, boxers from his dresser.  He turns down the volume on the radio Tessa bought him for his thirty-sixth birthday.  “Catch the score for me, Ted, OK?”

Teddy rolls over and looks at David.  “OK, Daddy.”

David’s heard that nosy woman next door—Susan something-or-other—yammering on about how children need both parents.  He’s heard her saying that a father doesn’t notice the things a mother does.  But David has noticed all right: Since his mother left in the dead of night, without so much as a goodbye note, Teddy has changed.  He’s become careful and withdrawn.  He watches his father like a hawk.  David suspects he fears his father will suddenly disappear, too.  “I’m not leaving you, buddy.”

“I know, Daddy.”  Teddy’s big brown eyes are wide and unblinking.

David nods; swallows the lump in his throat and goes into the bathroom, carefully shutting the door behind him; leaning against it for a moment to gather himself together again.  He turns on the shower; hangs his pajamas from the hook Tessa had installed on the back of the door three weeks before she disappeared.

“Daddy?” 

“Yeah, Ted.”  David pauses at the entrance to the shower.

“8-2.”

“Phils?”

“Yep.” 

“Thanks, buddy.”  David smiles and shuts the shower door behind him.  Maybe today will be a good day.

* * * 

“Got my clothes picked out?”  David emerges from the bathroom toweling off his hair.

Teddy hands him a white button down shirt, wrinkled in the back, because David had had no time to iron it properly.  “Blue or brown suit, Daddy?”

David pretends to give the choice weight and consideration.  “Blue, I think.” 

And Teddy laughs.  “You always wear the blue one on Monday.”

David smiles.  It is good to see Teddy laugh; good to see his son slowly repairing the damage done to him.  

“Go jump on your sisters, Ted.  And then get yourself dressed.”

“OK, Daddy.”

David buttons his cuffs, listening for the indignant yells; the subsequent giggles; the opening and closing of drawers and closets that will tell him that preparations for the day are underway.

He heads to the kitchen to prepare breakfast.  He feels slightly queasy, as if the milk they’d used in last night’s dinner had been sour.  Or maybe it had just been dinner itself; Katie’s selection.  David hates macaroni and cheese.  Hates packaged food of any sort.  Kate gets a kick out of it, though: heating the milk, adding the contents of the foil package, watching the chemicals swirl around, an ever-increasing vortex of orange as she stirs with the giant wooden spoon.  Now, it sits heavy and thick in his stomach.  He needs to start making proper meals for the kids, he knows this too.  At first, when Tessa had disappeared, the neighbor ladies showed up on the front porch bearing mournful, sympathetic looks and tuna-noodle casseroles.  But eventually the donations slowed before stopping altogether.

He pulls four bowls from the cabinet, grabs a box of cereal and shakes some into each bowl.  He sloshes on the milk and sets out three gummy bear vitamins on silver spoons.  Their reflections are distorted, as they lie nestled in their concave beds of silver; they’re larger than they really are.  Their colors are more vibrant against a background of silver.

He considers himself in the remaining spoon; gazing at his upside-down reflection. 

“Hey, Dad.”  Kate flounces into the kitchen, backpack slung over one shoulder.  She picks up a vitamin and puts in her mouth.  Picks up her spoon and begins eating. 

David heads down the hall.  “Hurry up, guys.  Bus is coming in five.”

They eat hurriedly, David signing permission forms and homework as he shovels food into his mouth; the girls quizzing each other on their spelling words.  Teddy looks up, spoon held halfway to his mouth.  “Bus!” he says and everyone jumps into action, carrying their bowls to the sink and heading out the front door.
David watches them board.  He waves until the bus disappears.  Then he gets on his own bus bound for Center City. 

At four thirty, the queasy feeling finds its way into his stomach again.  The children are going home to an empty house.  They are doing homework alone.  Likely, they’re making more macaroni and cheese.   He wonders about the stove; wonders if they’ll forget to turn it off the way they did last week. 

At five o’clock, he leaves the office; feels the eyes of the other partner wannabes on him; feels them shaking their heads in disgust, disbelief, perhaps a bit of jealousy.  He doesn’t know.  Doesn’t care, really.  He finds a seat on the bus, picks up a discarded Inquirer and begins to read.

This has become his routine.

This has become his reality.

 Key in hand, he pauses at the front door.  Sniffs.  Does he smell gas?

“Hey, David.”

He looks up.  Susan something-or-other leans on the black railing of her front porch.  “Hello.”

“Kids all alone in there?”

“No.”  Yes. 

“I didn’t see anyone come in with them.”

“Thanks for your concern, Susan.  But we’re fine.”  He slides the key into the lock, turns it to the right and enters.  “Guys?”

“Daddy!”  Teddy runs down the hallway.  There’s a smudge of chocolate on his upper lip.  David wipes it away.  “You guys been making cocoa again?”

“Yep!”

David gathers Teddy up in his arms and carries him to the kitchen.  The girls are sitting at the kitchen table, doing math homework.  The remains of microwave cocoa litter the kitchen counter: white packets torn across the top, droplets of milk, powdery chocolate.  But they are safe.

They are safe.

He deposits Teddy in a chair and rolls up his sleeves.  “What should we do for dinner?” 

“Spaghetti and meatballs,” Kate says.

“No.  You picked yesterday.”  Yvonne frowns at her sister.  “Pizza.”

“Pizza!” Teddy echoes.  He pulls a pizza from the freezer and sets it on the counter. 

David nods, and begins the breakfast dishes, scrubbing away the shriveled O’s clinging to the sides of the bowl; the dried up milk in the center of the spoons the hollow place in his heart.

* * *

Precisely eighteen days later, at seven o’clock in the morning, the doorbell rings.  David sits up quickly, his heart racing.  He doesn’t pat the empty side of the bed.  He goes down the hall, hoping.

He opens the door. 

His mother bustles in.  Kisses him on the cheek.  “Happy birthday dear.”

“Mom?  When did you get here?”

“Flew in this morning.”

“It’s not a good time, Mom.  You know it’s…”

 “Yes, yes. I know.  The bitch left one year ago.  On your birthday.  Without saying goodbye.  Her problem.  Not ours.  You taking the children to church this morning?”

“No.  I…”

“David.  They need some stability in their lives.”  She ties on an apron and begins pulling items from the fridge: eggs, butter, milk.  She opens the carton and sniffs.  “Where do you keep your vanilla?”

“What are you doing?”

“I’m baking you a cake.  Not every day you turn thirty-nine.”

David rubs the sleep from his eyes.  Tries to understand what his mother is doing standing in his kitchen.  

“We don’t have time for cake.” 

 “Nonsense.  Just because Tessa decided to leave, doesn’t mean you have to change your life around.”

“Let’s order a cake, then.  You must be tired.”

“And fill your children’s little bellies with that shit?  No.”  She shakes her head.  “There is always time to do things right.”  She measures cocoa powder, flour, salt. 

He watches her.  He’s amazed at how competent she is.  “I can’t do this anymore, Mom,” he tells her. 

“You can.  Just the way I carried on when your father died, God rest his soul.”  She mixes two sticks of butter with two creamy-yolked eggs and two cups of sugar, and just watching this, watching the eggs chase the butter around the bowl before they succumb to the force of motion and become one, settles David somehow.  His mother looks up from the mixer.  A stray hair has fallen from behind her ear.  “You can do this, David.”

She is right.  This he knows as well.  He can do this.  They can do this.  “Where’s your luggage?”

“Didn’t bring any.”

“Why?”

She turns off the mixer.  Looks him in the eye.  “David, I’m asking you to move in with me.  You and the kids.”

“You live three hundred miles away.”

“I’m not going to interfere, David, you know I won’t.  But it would be good for the kids to have someone there, for after school.  And once you’re ready to begin dating…”

David pulls out a chair and sits.  “I will never date again.”

“You will.  And it would be good for me, too, having some young kids around me.”

David considers.  His boyhood home is situated on three wooded acres.  Teddy would have the run of the place.  And he wouldn’t be worried about the kids coming home to an empty house after school.  “My job is here.”

“There are other jobs.”  She turns on the mixer again.  “Promise me you’ll think about it.”  She pours the batter into a cake pan and slides it into the oven.  “There, now.  That’s done.  I’m going to wake my grandbabies.”

She telephones when they’re at church.  While his birthday cake is cooling on the kitchen counter; while he is praying to a God he’s not so certain he believes in anymore, she leaves a message on the machine: She wants to come over for a visit.  He deletes the message immediately, without listening all the way through.
He sits through his birthday dinner.  Opens his gifts.  He blows out his candles.  His birthday cake sticks in his throat.  His mother pats his hand.  “Why don’t you take the dog for his walk?  We’ll get these.”

He nods.  Stands.  He grabs the leash and the dog skitters across the floor, tail wagging.

He heads around the corner.  The dog barks suddenly, sharply.  He looks up.  She’s standing on the sidewalk. 

“He doesn’t recognize me,” she says.  Her tone sounds injured; indignant almost.

He stares.  “Maybe he’s just angry.”

“May I walk with you?”

He shrugs. 

She hands him a package.  “Happy birthday, David.”

He ignores it; begins walking.

“David.  I…”  He hears her running to catch up; feels her hand on his arm.  “Can we get a cup of coffee?”

Again he shrugs, but when they reach the café, he sits at an outdoor table.

She smiles.  “Thanks.”  She slips her feet from her black pumps, curls them beneath her.  She shakes off her jacket and he can’t help but notice her arms, tightly sculpted and tanned. 

She orders an espresso.  “Decaf for me,” he tells the waiter apologetically.  He feels old.

The coffee is delivered.  She takes a sip.  They fall into an uncomfortable silence.  He scratches the dog behind the ears.  Waits. 

“Listen, David…”

“Where the hell did you go?”  He slams his first on the table.   

“I didn’t have time to tell you.  Didn’t have time to make it right with you and the kids.”

He nods.  Shoves his coffee away. 

“Can we work it out?”

“No.”

“David.  For better or worse, remember?”

“Seems like you forgot.”

“Can we try?”

 “I’ve been looking for you to come through the door for one year, Tessa.  I’m not looking anymore.”

“I need to see the children.”

“You have no right to see the children.”

“They’re my kids, David.”  She blinks.  “Our kids.”  She sets a bag on the table.  “Give them these?”

He nods; throws a twenty on the table.

“Tell them I love them.  Tell them I’ll see them soon.”  She stands, hands shaking, as she gathers up her purse and her jacket.  She slips her ballerina feet back into her leather pumps.

“Goodbye, Tessa.”  On the way home, he hands the bag to a homeless man pushing a shopping cart down the sidewalk.

His mother meets him at the door.  “I was worried…Where were you?”

David smiles.  “Just walking.  Thinking.  Can you cut me another piece of birthday cake, Mom?"  And then he heads down the hallway to tuck each of his children into bed.

For the Scriptic prompt exchange this week, Laura gave me this prompt: There's always time to do it right.. I gave Major Bedhead this prompt: We do not belong here.





Labels: ,

Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: Things Upside-Down

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Things Upside-Down


David wakes moments before the alarm clicks on.  He pats Tessa’s side of the bed, hoping to find it occupied.  He’s disappointed.  He’s not surprised: For the past three hundred and forty-seven days, he’s looked for his wife on the other side of the bed.  Of course, despite the gossip at the office, he doesn’t actually believe she is coming back to him—to them.  But in that tiny sliver of space between dreams and reality, lives hope.  He settles easily into this hope every morning before forcing himself to wake.  Now, he blinks into the darkness, listening to the morning headlines on NPR, hoping to catch the Phillies score before Teddy comes in, demanding breakfast.

Three alarm fire at an apartment building.  Armed robbery on South Street.  He needs to get these kids out of the city.   

“Daddy?” 

David sighs and pulled back the covers.  Teddy crawls into Tessa’s side of the bed.  David draws him close, wrapping his left arm over Teddy’s tiny body, nuzzling his hair with his chin.  “You need a haircut.”

“I like it,” Teddy murmurs. 

David has meant to get Teddy’s hair cut for the past several weeks.  But somehow, he never seems to have enough time.  Besides, if it keeps the kid happy, David reasons, let him keep it long.  Until the principal calls, he will let it go.  He closes his eyes; tells himself just five more minutes.   He feels himself drift away; allows him mind to drift back into that tiny sliver of space.

“I’m hungry, Daddy.”

David blinks his eyes back open.  “OK.”  He rises and stretches; pulls socks, tee shirt, boxers from his dresser.  He turns down the volume on the radio Tessa bought him for his thirty-sixth birthday.  “Catch the score for me, Ted, OK?”

Teddy rolls over and looks at David.  “OK, Daddy.”

David’s heard that nosy woman next door—Susan something-or-other—yammering on about how children need both parents.  He’s heard her saying that a father doesn’t notice the things a mother does.  But David has noticed all right: Since his mother left in the dead of night, without so much as a goodbye note, Teddy has changed.  He’s become careful and withdrawn.  He watches his father like a hawk.  David suspects he fears his father will suddenly disappear, too.  “I’m not leaving you, buddy.”

“I know, Daddy.”  Teddy’s big brown eyes are wide and unblinking.

David nods; swallows the lump in his throat and goes into the bathroom, carefully shutting the door behind him; leaning against it for a moment to gather himself together again.  He turns on the shower; hangs his pajamas from the hook Tessa had installed on the back of the door three weeks before she disappeared.

“Daddy?” 

“Yeah, Ted.”  David pauses at the entrance to the shower.

“8-2.”

“Phils?”

“Yep.” 

“Thanks, buddy.”  David smiles and shuts the shower door behind him.  Maybe today will be a good day.

* * * 

“Got my clothes picked out?”  David emerges from the bathroom toweling off his hair.

Teddy hands him a white button down shirt, wrinkled in the back, because David had had no time to iron it properly.  “Blue or brown suit, Daddy?”

David pretends to give the choice weight and consideration.  “Blue, I think.” 

And Teddy laughs.  “You always wear the blue one on Monday.”

David smiles.  It is good to see Teddy laugh; good to see his son slowly repairing the damage done to him.  

“Go jump on your sisters, Ted.  And then get yourself dressed.”

“OK, Daddy.”

David buttons his cuffs, listening for the indignant yells; the subsequent giggles; the opening and closing of drawers and closets that will tell him that preparations for the day are underway.

He heads to the kitchen to prepare breakfast.  He feels slightly queasy, as if the milk they’d used in last night’s dinner had been sour.  Or maybe it had just been dinner itself; Katie’s selection.  David hates macaroni and cheese.  Hates packaged food of any sort.  Kate gets a kick out of it, though: heating the milk, adding the contents of the foil package, watching the chemicals swirl around, an ever-increasing vortex of orange as she stirs with the giant wooden spoon.  Now, it sits heavy and thick in his stomach.  He needs to start making proper meals for the kids, he knows this too.  At first, when Tessa had disappeared, the neighbor ladies showed up on the front porch bearing mournful, sympathetic looks and tuna-noodle casseroles.  But eventually the donations slowed before stopping altogether.

He pulls four bowls from the cabinet, grabs a box of cereal and shakes some into each bowl.  He sloshes on the milk and sets out three gummy bear vitamins on silver spoons.  Their reflections are distorted, as they lie nestled in their concave beds of silver; they’re larger than they really are.  Their colors are more vibrant against a background of silver.

He considers himself in the remaining spoon; gazing at his upside-down reflection. 

“Hey, Dad.”  Kate flounces into the kitchen, backpack slung over one shoulder.  She picks up a vitamin and puts in her mouth.  Picks up her spoon and begins eating. 

David heads down the hall.  “Hurry up, guys.  Bus is coming in five.”

They eat hurriedly, David signing permission forms and homework as he shovels food into his mouth; the girls quizzing each other on their spelling words.  Teddy looks up, spoon held halfway to his mouth.  “Bus!” he says and everyone jumps into action, carrying their bowls to the sink and heading out the front door.
David watches them board.  He waves until the bus disappears.  Then he gets on his own bus bound for Center City. 

At four thirty, the queasy feeling finds its way into his stomach again.  The children are going home to an empty house.  They are doing homework alone.  Likely, they’re making more macaroni and cheese.   He wonders about the stove; wonders if they’ll forget to turn it off the way they did last week. 

At five o’clock, he leaves the office; feels the eyes of the other partner wannabes on him; feels them shaking their heads in disgust, disbelief, perhaps a bit of jealousy.  He doesn’t know.  Doesn’t care, really.  He finds a seat on the bus, picks up a discarded Inquirer and begins to read.

This has become his routine.

This has become his reality.

 Key in hand, he pauses at the front door.  Sniffs.  Does he smell gas?

“Hey, David.”

He looks up.  Susan something-or-other leans on the black railing of her front porch.  “Hello.”

“Kids all alone in there?”

“No.”  Yes. 

“I didn’t see anyone come in with them.”

“Thanks for your concern, Susan.  But we’re fine.”  He slides the key into the lock, turns it to the right and enters.  “Guys?”

“Daddy!”  Teddy runs down the hallway.  There’s a smudge of chocolate on his upper lip.  David wipes it away.  “You guys been making cocoa again?”

“Yep!”

David gathers Teddy up in his arms and carries him to the kitchen.  The girls are sitting at the kitchen table, doing math homework.  The remains of microwave cocoa litter the kitchen counter: white packets torn across the top, droplets of milk, powdery chocolate.  But they are safe.

They are safe.

He deposits Teddy in a chair and rolls up his sleeves.  “What should we do for dinner?” 

“Spaghetti and meatballs,” Kate says.

“No.  You picked yesterday.”  Yvonne frowns at her sister.  “Pizza.”

“Pizza!” Teddy echoes.  He pulls a pizza from the freezer and sets it on the counter. 

David nods, and begins the breakfast dishes, scrubbing away the shriveled O’s clinging to the sides of the bowl; the dried up milk in the center of the spoons the hollow place in his heart.

* * *

Precisely eighteen days later, at seven o’clock in the morning, the doorbell rings.  David sits up quickly, his heart racing.  He doesn’t pat the empty side of the bed.  He goes down the hall, hoping.

He opens the door. 

His mother bustles in.  Kisses him on the cheek.  “Happy birthday dear.”

“Mom?  When did you get here?”

“Flew in this morning.”

“It’s not a good time, Mom.  You know it’s…”

 “Yes, yes. I know.  The bitch left one year ago.  On your birthday.  Without saying goodbye.  Her problem.  Not ours.  You taking the children to church this morning?”

“No.  I…”

“David.  They need some stability in their lives.”  She ties on an apron and begins pulling items from the fridge: eggs, butter, milk.  She opens the carton and sniffs.  “Where do you keep your vanilla?”

“What are you doing?”

“I’m baking you a cake.  Not every day you turn thirty-nine.”

David rubs the sleep from his eyes.  Tries to understand what his mother is doing standing in his kitchen.  

“We don’t have time for cake.” 

 “Nonsense.  Just because Tessa decided to leave, doesn’t mean you have to change your life around.”

“Let’s order a cake, then.  You must be tired.”

“And fill your children’s little bellies with that shit?  No.”  She shakes her head.  “There is always time to do things right.”  She measures cocoa powder, flour, salt. 

He watches her.  He’s amazed at how competent she is.  “I can’t do this anymore, Mom,” he tells her. 

“You can.  Just the way I carried on when your father died, God rest his soul.”  She mixes two sticks of butter with two creamy-yolked eggs and two cups of sugar, and just watching this, watching the eggs chase the butter around the bowl before they succumb to the force of motion and become one, settles David somehow.  His mother looks up from the mixer.  A stray hair has fallen from behind her ear.  “You can do this, David.”

She is right.  This he knows as well.  He can do this.  They can do this.  “Where’s your luggage?”

“Didn’t bring any.”

“Why?”

She turns off the mixer.  Looks him in the eye.  “David, I’m asking you to move in with me.  You and the kids.”

“You live three hundred miles away.”

“I’m not going to interfere, David, you know I won’t.  But it would be good for the kids to have someone there, for after school.  And once you’re ready to begin dating…”

David pulls out a chair and sits.  “I will never date again.”

“You will.  And it would be good for me, too, having some young kids around me.”

David considers.  His boyhood home is situated on three wooded acres.  Teddy would have the run of the place.  And he wouldn’t be worried about the kids coming home to an empty house after school.  “My job is here.”

“There are other jobs.”  She turns on the mixer again.  “Promise me you’ll think about it.”  She pours the batter into a cake pan and slides it into the oven.  “There, now.  That’s done.  I’m going to wake my grandbabies.”

She telephones when they’re at church.  While his birthday cake is cooling on the kitchen counter; while he is praying to a God he’s not so certain he believes in anymore, she leaves a message on the machine: She wants to come over for a visit.  He deletes the message immediately, without listening all the way through.
He sits through his birthday dinner.  Opens his gifts.  He blows out his candles.  His birthday cake sticks in his throat.  His mother pats his hand.  “Why don’t you take the dog for his walk?  We’ll get these.”

He nods.  Stands.  He grabs the leash and the dog skitters across the floor, tail wagging.

He heads around the corner.  The dog barks suddenly, sharply.  He looks up.  She’s standing on the sidewalk. 

“He doesn’t recognize me,” she says.  Her tone sounds injured; indignant almost.

He stares.  “Maybe he’s just angry.”

“May I walk with you?”

He shrugs. 

She hands him a package.  “Happy birthday, David.”

He ignores it; begins walking.

“David.  I…”  He hears her running to catch up; feels her hand on his arm.  “Can we get a cup of coffee?”

Again he shrugs, but when they reach the café, he sits at an outdoor table.

She smiles.  “Thanks.”  She slips her feet from her black pumps, curls them beneath her.  She shakes off her jacket and he can’t help but notice her arms, tightly sculpted and tanned. 

She orders an espresso.  “Decaf for me,” he tells the waiter apologetically.  He feels old.

The coffee is delivered.  She takes a sip.  They fall into an uncomfortable silence.  He scratches the dog behind the ears.  Waits. 

“Listen, David…”

“Where the hell did you go?”  He slams his first on the table.   

“I didn’t have time to tell you.  Didn’t have time to make it right with you and the kids.”

He nods.  Shoves his coffee away. 

“Can we work it out?”

“No.”

“David.  For better or worse, remember?”

“Seems like you forgot.”

“Can we try?”

 “I’ve been looking for you to come through the door for one year, Tessa.  I’m not looking anymore.”

“I need to see the children.”

“You have no right to see the children.”

“They’re my kids, David.”  She blinks.  “Our kids.”  She sets a bag on the table.  “Give them these?”

He nods; throws a twenty on the table.

“Tell them I love them.  Tell them I’ll see them soon.”  She stands, hands shaking, as she gathers up her purse and her jacket.  She slips her ballerina feet back into her leather pumps.

“Goodbye, Tessa.”  On the way home, he hands the bag to a homeless man pushing a shopping cart down the sidewalk.

His mother meets him at the door.  “I was worried…Where were you?”

David smiles.  “Just walking.  Thinking.  Can you cut me another piece of birthday cake, Mom?"  And then he heads down the hallway to tuck each of his children into bed.

For the Scriptic prompt exchange this week, Laura gave me this prompt: There's always time to do it right.. I gave Major Bedhead this prompt: We do not belong here.





Labels: ,

8 Comments:

At September 9, 2012 at 7:43 PM , Anonymous Jessie Powell said...

My heart just ached for him. I was surprised when Tessa had the gall to show up, and I was sad he wouldn't let her see the kids, though I have an idea he was exactly right, that he was, for once, taking the time to do it right. So lovely.

 
At September 10, 2012 at 7:31 AM , Anonymous jaum said...

Kell Great story! You really get to know these people, quickly. Like your others, we need a second chapter maybe a third etc.

 
At September 10, 2012 at 10:22 AM , Anonymous Annabelle said...

That's a great story; long, but it absolutely kept me engaged. It's a tough road ahead of him, but it seems like he's going to be okay.

 
At September 10, 2012 at 5:38 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks, Jessie! Wasn't sure if that was the right place to cut it off, but I didn't want to draw any conclusions.

 
At September 10, 2012 at 5:39 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks! Working mainly on short stories now.

 
At September 10, 2012 at 5:39 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks, Annabelle - Definitely a long story. I've been working a lot with short stories, preparing to enter a contest in October.

 
At September 11, 2012 at 3:26 PM , Anonymous Tara R. said...

I really hope he doesn't let her back into his life, and takes up his mother's offer.

 
At September 13, 2012 at 12:18 PM , Anonymous Laura said...

I read this a few days ago, but was distracted by I can't remember what before commenting. Great take on the prompt! It breaks my heart. There are certainly days when taking care of a baby is so tough and a part of me wishes I could run away. I never would, of course. I wonder what Tessa's side o the story would be...

 

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