Where Were You?

I haven’t written fiction in quite some time, probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 10-15 years. I don’t think I was ever really good at it but you know, there is that lingering dream that some day I’ll write an amazing piece of fiction and everyone will love me for it. Today probably isn’t that day but, I did write a piece of fiction this week.

Inspired by a post on Rachel Poli’s writing blog, I took the challenge she provided (to write something that begins with the sentence, “Where were you?”) and well, here it is. Let me know what you think, or don’t… whatever.


 

“Where were you?” she asked as I walked through the door. The inquiry came a bit more aggressively than I was expecting.

Actually I wasn’t expecting to be asked the question at all. Nothing was out of the ordinary in my mind. So why was she berating me upon my arrival?

I felt lightening the mood might be a good move so I upped the schmaltz factor to 10 and countered with, “Nice to see you too, honey.”

She wasn’t having it. “No, you don’t just get to waltz in here and act all charming. We. Have. A. Problem.”

This was evidently serious. Now what could I have done to rile up this fiery female presence? It was fifteen minutes past five, if anything I was early getting home from work. Was I supposed to have done something today? Did I miss an appointment?

I internally scanned my mental calendar, coming up with no red flags. I was honestly at a loss. I looked at her and throwing a little conciliation in my tone, “Ok, what is the problem? What did I miss?”

She grabbed me by the hand and led me up the stairs to the alcove where we had set up a miniature office. She stopped abruptly, like an invisible barrier wouldn’t allow her to go forward anymore, and then she pointed.

I scanned the area she was pointing to attempting to see what had gotten her so worked up. And then I saw it and frowned. Turning to her, I could see she was on the verge of tears. I sat down in the office chair, which put me at just about her height and took her hands in mine.

“I’m sorry, honey.”

And then the damn broke, the tears began to flow down her face and the awful sobbing, near choking sound that only 10 year olds seem capable of making took over. Now I got it. I understood the anger from wasn’t directed at me, not really at least. She had come home from school to find her pet guinea pig dead and no one here to help her handle the grief.

But I was here now and I’d handle it. We’d work through the grief together.

 

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