Things More Easily Understood


"Why did he do it, Gramps?"

The man sighed. No amount of education or experience could prepare someone for this. "When your daddy came back, he couldn't grasp the fact of what he'd done." He cleared his throat and spat. "What he'd been made to do. He'd sit for hours in his hickory rocker on the front porch."

"He made that," the boy said, pride in his voice.

"He did. He sat in that rocker, staring wide-eyed over the farm as if he'd never known it. He couldn't hold onto a conversation; couldn't hang onto the ideas that swirled around his head like golden threads just out of his reach. Do you understand?"

"A little." The boy pictured his father, poised behind a computer monitor, pressing a joystick to send bombs raining down over neighborhoods and onto buildings full of people just setting down to their dinner. He wondered if they liked fried chicken, where his father had been, and the apple pie his grandfather managed to coax from the oven every once in a while.


The man studied a monarch resting on the flower of a milkweed plant. "Every time his mind lit on something and settled into it, flapping its wings open and closed like that butterfly over there, it just took off all over again and flew away."

"Why you think they call them butterflies, Gramps?"

"I don't rightly know, son." The man put a hand on the shoulder of the boy who was now his son. "We're just two lonely sons of bitches, ain't we?"

They turned their minds to things more easily understood: butterflies, of course, and the carrying of water to the cows waiting patiently in the pasture.

After the last bucket had been emptied into the trough, the man sighed and rested on a rock to watch the butterflies land.

Tomorrow his son would go on trial for the murder of his wife and the hickory rocker, rocking emptily upon the front porch, would be destroyed.

This was written for this week's Trifecta Writing Challenge. The word was grasp.




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Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: Things More Easily Understood

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Things More Easily Understood


"Why did he do it, Gramps?"

The man sighed. No amount of education or experience could prepare someone for this. "When your daddy came back, he couldn't grasp the fact of what he'd done." He cleared his throat and spat. "What he'd been made to do. He'd sit for hours in his hickory rocker on the front porch."

"He made that," the boy said, pride in his voice.

"He did. He sat in that rocker, staring wide-eyed over the farm as if he'd never known it. He couldn't hold onto a conversation; couldn't hang onto the ideas that swirled around his head like golden threads just out of his reach. Do you understand?"

"A little." The boy pictured his father, poised behind a computer monitor, pressing a joystick to send bombs raining down over neighborhoods and onto buildings full of people just setting down to their dinner. He wondered if they liked fried chicken, where his father had been, and the apple pie his grandfather managed to coax from the oven every once in a while.


The man studied a monarch resting on the flower of a milkweed plant. "Every time his mind lit on something and settled into it, flapping its wings open and closed like that butterfly over there, it just took off all over again and flew away."

"Why you think they call them butterflies, Gramps?"

"I don't rightly know, son." The man put a hand on the shoulder of the boy who was now his son. "We're just two lonely sons of bitches, ain't we?"

They turned their minds to things more easily understood: butterflies, of course, and the carrying of water to the cows waiting patiently in the pasture.

After the last bucket had been emptied into the trough, the man sighed and rested on a rock to watch the butterflies land.

Tomorrow his son would go on trial for the murder of his wife and the hickory rocker, rocking emptily upon the front porch, would be destroyed.

This was written for this week's Trifecta Writing Challenge. The word was grasp.




Labels: ,

7 Comments:

At August 14, 2013 at 8:38 AM , Anonymous Annabelle said...

Love the quiet, meditative background of this piece; it's a powerful contrast to the subject matter. What a screwed up family on many fronts!

 
At August 14, 2013 at 9:59 AM , OpenID stalethoughts said...

This is sad at so many levels in the tranquil surroundings, great entry, nevertheless.

 
At August 14, 2013 at 11:53 AM , Blogger Ruby Manchanda said...

You crafted this beautifully

 
At August 15, 2013 at 1:38 PM , Anonymous JannaTWrites said...

How sad they are left to try to make sense of something they'll never be able to understand. "He just snapped" hardly seems like a satisfying explanation.

 
At August 15, 2013 at 5:26 PM , Blogger Trifecta said...

Two lonely sons of bitches--that's powerful dialogue. Great job, as always. Thanks for sharing this with us. Don't forget to vote.

 
At August 15, 2013 at 7:33 PM , Blogger Draug said...

That's so sad. I really feel for the kid.

 
At August 15, 2013 at 9:42 PM , OpenID trudgingthroughfog said...

Ooo, this is a great story. So much sadness...

 

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