Tag

Dad

Sphere of Dreams (conclusion)

Part 1, Part 2

 3.

The two little ones hugged; the blonde did so very enthusiastically. “You’re here!” They both bounced back over to where my parents stood.

“I’m hoping the weather holds up, Donna,” Mom called to the woman who walked a few paces behind her daughter. Everything started clicking in my brain, but nothing made sense. Aunt Donna, Laura, my mom, Dad, that little girl with her chubby cheeks…

The orb.

I was looking at the scene of my birthday party over 30 years ago. Could they hear me? “Mom!” I shouted, “Mo-o-o-o-om!” but she didn’t respond. In fact no one even reacted, save for the little blonde girl, who looked at me straight away and cocked her head to the side. I saw into the deep blue of her eyes and felt an indescribable connection. We just stood there, staring, until her attention was diverted.

“Kirsten, here’s a birthday present!” Aunt Donna said, handing over a large box covered in blue paper adorned with pictures of pound puppies and the words “Celebrate!”

“Go ahead, you can open that one now before anyone comes,” Mom said.

Within moments, the wrapping paper was torn to shreds, thrown all over the deck. “Dolly!”
Laura, standing directly behind the scene, said, in an authoritative tone, “Yes. I have a Cabbage Patch Kid too. Her name is Frieda. They will be best friends.”

I turned when unfamiliar voices started coming closer: several other families, kids who I didn’t recognize, cousins who I hadn’t seen in ages, aunts and uncles who looked so different. My parents greeted them all, then the majority of the adults said “Happy birthday,” as they headed back to the parking lot, leaving their toddlers to yell and run on the beach, right in front of where I stood.

birthday party

The kids all played unorganized games of tag, newcomers just joining in as they came, the children squealed with laughter. There were no specific, thematic activities planned, like nowadays.

Imaginations abounded, and yells of, “I’m a cat!” “I’m a princess!” “I’m an ice cream sundae!” competed with crashing waves.

I took another look at my family, who stood on the deck next to the familiar cabana, for the first time noticing that it was painted yellow, not purple.

My gaze turned toward the water; the calm sound contradicting the excited children. The silver orb was over to my left, though I hadn’t seen it until just now. I felt a pull. It was a sensation that I HAD to climb aboard. In the doorway that had been opened for me, I glanced back for just one more look at the children playing.

There she stood, grounded, staring at me amongst the flurry of other toddlers, all chubby-cheeked and pig-tailed. Not a word escaped her lips, but I knew.

WE knew.

I returned to my vessel to see that there was now only one button on the console. It was labeled “Home.” I pressed it, then closed my eyes while the ship started shaking again.

As it subsided, I opened one eye, and saw the pale green of my bedroom walls surrounding me. The television was still on, repeating the same movie that I had been watching earlier. I sat up, the remote in my hand to turn it off. Before I did so, however, I felt the need to watch the man, who looked less weary and sad than earlier. As he entered the orb once again, I saw it: my yellow hair tie, which was wrapped around the lever.

He turned to the camera and winked.

 

 

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This story was created from the prompt, “Get into your time machine, press the start button, zoom back and witness yourself  at play” by Anne Kelly-Edmunds, 8/4/16, with whom I have the great pleasure of having as a writing instructor/facilitator at the North Shore Public Library.

Using this “story spark,” see where your own writing takes you! I would love to hear your ideas… Comment below or leave me a message.

Sphere of Dreams (continued)

Find 1 Here
time travel

2.

The granules of sand squished between my bare toes and the familiar smell of saltwater filled my nostrils.

The water and sky faded into each other, both a dull grey-blue. A sheet of similarly colored cloud rose up from the horizon, then pieced away into small tufts of cotton overhead. I watched as those smaller clouds faded, however, and the foreboding sheet was pulled up. It now covered the sky in its entirety.

There was a sudden chill causing my skin to feel prickly all over. I stood and grabbed a towel that had been carelessly thrown over the ledge by the cabanas, but it didn’t really help to warm me. I empathized with the brave souls playing in the waves in front of me, knowing that once they decided to get out, the wind would surly cause their extremities to become numb.

My mom stood by the edge of our cabana and gazed at the sky. “I don’t know about this. I hope it clears up by noon.”

“I don’t know. The wind seems to be picking up. It’s not looking too promising.” I was completely ignored.

She looked different, my mom. Her hair was… poofier. Curly. She hadn’t sported that hairstyle since the 80s. I peered closer. I was taken aback when a tall man walked out, carrying a blonde pig-tailed toddler in his arms.

“Dad?” I said in a bewildered whisper. No one looked my way.

It was most definitely him, but he had passed away years ago.

“It’ll be fine. Don’t panic. Here comes our first guest now.” He motioned to the end of the court, where a 3-year-old, clad in a peach one-piece bathing suit, walked down the concrete sidewalk with the all the confidence of the Beach Club Queen. She carried a bottle of sunscreen as her scepter.

The little girl in my dad’s arms jumped down and began running toward her royal guest. “Lo-waa!” she squealed. For the first time I saw part of her round face. A sense of familiarity washed over me, and I suddenly warmed.

 

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More to come!

Nobody Likes New Years (the 2nd of 2)

Many more New Year’s Eves came and went, never with much of an impact. Resolutions made, resolutions broken, resolutions forgotten. Auld lang syne.

When I had one baby, then two, New Year’s Eve became a very quiet holiday. My husband and I would go out to dinner with the kids early, before the expensive prix fix began, then get into bed, inevitably falling asleep before the ball had been dropped in Times Square.

More recently, we had spent the holiday at a friend’s house while my sister Maggie agreed to stay at my place to watch the kids. It was a small gathering to enjoy food, drinks, and chatting amongst a few couples. My husband and I had been going to marriage counseling at that point, but no one knew.

Remembering that one of the therapist’s suggestions was to “act” like a happy married couple, I tried my best, though it seemed unnatural, to sit close, feigning affection and tenderness.

At midnight, after I kissed him, he looked at me with disgust. There was venom in his eyes.

When we got home, we fought, then took our spots the bed, lying as far away from each other as possible. The next morning, on New Year’s Day, we went to brunch with my family, who were all still visiting for the holiday.

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Nobody Likes New Year’s (the 1st of 2)

New Year's
Tick-tock, tick-tock…

Expectations.
Disappointment.
Expense.
Awkwardness.

The best one’s that I recall were those when I was a child; sitting cross-legged on the bed with Laura, watching Dick Clark count down the new year while our parents danced and ate and did adulty-things in the grand ballroom at Hôtel Le Chantecler. We were exhausted from a full day of skiing, but found it within ourselves stay awake for the big moment: a new year!

When midnight struck we yelled and threw homemade confetti all over the room. We found bits of ripped up colored paper tangled into our hair for days afterward, and it was beautiful.

As time moved forward we stopped going on our annual ski trips to Canada, and Laura and I parted ways on New Year’s Eve, to hang out with our respective friends. When I was a senior in high school, I went to a party at Melissa’s house. She was one of my best friends, so I had made arrangements to sleep at her place after the festivities.

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Foiled

Though they inhabit the same space- the same body- at that moment they were separated completely.

My mind, at once, knew it was impossible. He was dead. We had said our final goodbyes to Dad a couple of years earlier.

And yet there he was. My heart knew immediately. My heart SAW him. He was there in his white Chevy pickup truck, pulled up alongside the hardware store, just as I’d expect him to be at 9am on a Tuesday morning.

I was on the elliptical machine next door, gazing between the time indicator and the giant windows that looked out onto the parking lot, trying to distract myself briefly from the sudden fatigue in my legs. Iggy Azalea blasted through my headphones, telling me to “Work.

When would Pandora start playing “Just Quit Already”?

When I spotted him, I couldn’t turn away. I stared at him long and hard. He stared back. He winked, just as he always did, and I smiled automatically.

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