Welcome to the Spot Writers.
This month’s prompt: Think back on a memory when you were angry. REALLY angry. Now change the names of the people in the memory, the setting, everything familiar about it, and most importantly… the ending. Turn it into a memory that ends happily. Let all the writing wash your anger away.
The story that follows is by Cathy MacKenzie, who didn’t exactly follow the prompt. She was never REALLY angry…
Faded Beer Cans by Cathy MacKenzie
I’d always hated how John discarded empty beer cans throughout the house and around the yard. Hubby was never too impressed either. When I found one, I’d mutter and moan, “Dratted John and his beer.” We’d find them out of sight in the weirdest locations: behind the television, beside an ornament, under the couch, as if he were a two-year-old hiding toys. But when he appeared in person, I’d forget to chastise him. Or perhaps my memory intentionally faded.
And then John died.
A horrid vehicular accident stole John’s life when a drunk driver in a Chevy Cavalier careened across the centre line into his 2009 Chevy Silverado. My son died in my arms at the hospital two hours after I received the dreaded phone call that every parent fears.
Later, in fitful sleep, I pondered the accident. John enjoyed a beer—or two (or more!)—after work and into the evening. He also cherished his truck. He’d never drink and drive. But what if he had? He could easily have caused such an accident if he weren’t so conscientious. And shouldn’t a truck survive a compact car?
Fate, I surmised. Dratted Fate.
And Life’s Horrific Circumstances.
And Incidents we have no control over.
Parents can’t hold their children close every second of every day. Especially adult children.
I enjoy a beer—or two. Sometimes too early in the day. Was I becoming an alcoholic?
Between my gulps and tears, knives glared. Pills danced.
“I’m stronger than you,” I chanted. “I have other children. I have grandchildren. As hard as it is, I must live.”
Spring cleaning taunted me after Hubby carved his initials, RTG, in the dust on the coffee table: a subtle hint; he wouldn’t chastise me for my lack of cleaning, not when grief consumed me.
But inadequateness and guilt weighed on my soul, and I grabbed a rag and furniture polish. On my tippy toes, I stretched to the top shelf in the living room. I swiped the damp rag across the surface and encountered a foreign object. What was it? Afraid to knock something over, I retrieved the step stool from the pantry.
I positioned the stool. And reached.
A beer can.
Tears careened down my cheeks. My sweet boy. Gone before his time.
I once thought he stuck cans wherever convenient, too lazy to return to the kitchen. But no, he was simply impish. And after his death, I discovered he discarded empties at other homes, as well.
But only empties. This can was unopened.
“Don’t cry, Mom.” I hear his echoes through the house. “Oh, Mom, stop!”
Oh, dear sweet son, how I miss you.
In memory of my son Matt, who did leave beer cans everywhere—but only empties.
April 28, 1980 – March 11, 2017
The Spot Writers—Our Members:
Val Muller: http://www.valmuller.com/blog/
Catherine A. MacKenzie: https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/
Dorothy Colinco. http://www.dorothycolinco.com
CaraMarie Christy: https://calamariwriting.wordpress.com/