Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Wordsmithing Continues

Holy Smoking Moses!  Two weeks in a row?  What miracles be this?

No seriously though I'm proud of myself for still writing and not falling off the wagon onto the train tracks and getting run over by the loco-procrastination-motive.

The reason for my continued keyboard pecking is again thanks to and Chuck Wendig's weekly writing challenge (found here I reccommend following the link just to read the other entries for this challenge.

This time (as you'll see if you looked like I told you too) the challenge was to pick three words from the list of ten (why didn't you already know that?  Click the link already!)  At first I was trying to pick ones that would work with a fantasy short story that was percolating in my head.  As most people know, fantasy is my preferred genre for writing since it's easy to explain the crazy crap I throw out.

But I couldn't really make it work so I free associated the ten words, you know just writing down the first things that came to mind when I thought of them.  Ex. Divorce made me think of; Break, Pain, Loss, Love, Confusion, Fear.  And as I did that with all ten words this piece evolved pretty instantaneously/effortlessly.  I'm tempted to post what I associated all ten words with but instead I'll post the story.  It's a bit more slice-of-lifey than I normally write or even read, but I'm happy with it.  Also my thanks to my Grammar Nazi proofreader (you know who you are) for the help.

Separation Anxiety

            ‘The divorce was hardest on David, he blamed himself.  We’ve tried to get together over the holidays but…” I’m not sure how to finish the thought.
            “He wasn’t willing to come?” Dr. Slate asks.
            “No he was, but the children didn’t want anything to do with him.”
            The office is warm, cozy in that family sitting room kind of way.  A comforter is draped over one couch and a soft recliner completes the set.  The typical therapy couch is off in the corner, almost in timeout.  Only present in the room as if to keep up appearances.
            The coffee table has various odds and ends, playing cards, a Rubik’s cube and some of those bent metal puzzles.  I pick up one of those to keep my hands busy.
            As the silences stretches on Dr. Slate pours herself some tea, I can smell the pinch of herbs she’d added.
            “Would you like some tea?  It’s mint.”
            No, thank you.”  I take a deep breath. “I had automatic custody since the adoption was in my name, we were never legally married, you see.  David, bless him, didn’t try to fight it or anything and I didn’t want to cut him out of the kid’s lives.  Blood or not, he’s still their father too but…” I can’t help but trail off again.
            “It’s natural for children to be upset in any divorce,” she pauses. “In a case like yours, if I had to guess, I’d say they felt abandoned.  Do you know the history with their birthparents?”
            “Walk-outs,” I say. “Both of them.  And none of the relatives that social services could track down were willing to take them.  David and I, we were a foster home at first, just for them to have a roof over their heads.  But we decided to take them in permanently.”
            “And that was eight years ago?”
            “Yes, one big happy family.  At least until we split up last year.”  Even saying it makes me grimace.
“It sounds like they feel abandoned.”
“I’m sure they did-do.  And things…things have been going downhill since then.”
            “Can you give me an example?”
            “Last Christmas.”
            “What happened?”
            “David came to the house that morning.  We wanted it to be a surprise so we hadn’t told the boys.  They wouldn’t even look at him,” I have to pause for a moment.  “John, he’s eleven now, wouldn’t take any of the gifts David brought.  And Jason, he’s nine and he follows his brother in everything.”
            “What happened next?”
            “David was devastated.  He left early, he didn’t stay for dinner like we’d planned.  I asked the boys why they had acted that way and,” I have to stop again.  “And they said it was my fault for ruining our family.”  I can feel myself beginning to cry.
            “You can’t blame yourself for this.  Relationships end, it’s natural.  No one is to blame here.  Not David, not the boys and certainly not you.”
             “I think they feel like I betrayed David, betrayed them by driving him away,” I take a tissue from my pocket.  “I’ll take some of that tea now.”
            She nods and pours me a cup.  The flavor of the mint is surprisingly refreshing and helps my hands stop shaking.
“Thank you Doctor,” I wipe my eyes.
“Of course Michael,” She smiles.

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