Again I am pleased to welcome back a previous participant for this month’s mini writing competition on the theme of ‘an unexpected journey’. Thank you to mmpearson for her story and I’m happy to share this with you.
Sally pressed the “end call” button and sat rooted to her chair. Numbness rolled through her body like waves in the sea. She couldn’t make sense of the words her dear friend had just dumped on her conscience. Shock was her only emotion.
With practiced grace, her hand swept the mop of curls from her forehead and took the weight of her head upon it. With her other hand, she removed her dark-rimmed glasses and wiped a tissue across the pools of tears that were forming beneath the lenses.
Billy had been her husband – her love at one time. He had not been a bad person, but a soul lost among his own fears and inadequacies. A dark cloud had always hung over his head, but that cloud had been his fuel. His fire was the guitar. Music spoke to him, and through it he spoke, letting his riffs fill the void. Sally had loved that part about him.
The drinking was the part of Billy that Sally could never come to terms with. She had divorced him several years ago because of his lack of control. Though times had been rough during the separation, they had their young son, Harry, and were forced to work through their problems as well as any couple could.
Sally never regretted leaving Billy. She only wished she could take back the bitter words.
Sally’s thoughts were interrupted by a noise in the doorway. Her eyes shot up and viewed her son bounding through the door, a smile on his face. Her heart thumped out of control. Not now. Oh please, Harry, not now… what do I say to you? Despair and confusion filled her like she was a balloon, stretched to the point of explosion.
Images flashed through her head: She and Billy rushing to the hospital, Harry’s pink wiggly body, happiness sparkling in Billy’s proud papa smile, holidays with family… and on and on. The thoughts came out in a torrent and made Sally feel weak.
She snapped herself out of her reverie. This was her son. She had to be strong.
Sally tried to form sentences but only him name escaped. “Oh, Harry.” She sobbed and snuggled his six-year-old head under her chin, hugging him, never wanting to let go. She needed to surround herself in his innocence for a bit longer.
She didn’t know how to explain to Harry that he no longer had a father and especially how his father had passed. The burden her son was going to have to carry throughout his life was large. Sally knew that burden all too well.
Somehow, life had continued its twisted journey. She remembered being close to Harry’s age when her own father had taken his life. She remembered the hurt, the loneliness, and the guilt. The last thing she had ever wanted was for her son to have to go on the same unexpected journey.