Well another round of NPR’s Three-Minute Fiction has passed. They posted a lot of great stories and did well in choosing a victor, congratulations Lisa Rubenson. As I’ve said before, I have been anxious to share my entry with you, ever since I posted “The Beautiful Mom”, which was written twenty-two days after I wrote my contest piece. After reading it you will see how surreal the moment was for me. Happy Spring Break to some of you and happy reading to everyone!
I Only Called to Hear Your Voice
“Hi. I know it’s been a while since I last called, but… well, you know. Today Carol lost her first tooth and Randy started football practice. The coach said he has real potential. Janet Mayven was there and asked me all sorts of questions about you. I did my best to smile and be polite, but I really wanted to shove her latte in her face and tell her to go away. I don’t think it will ever get easy.
I finally got around to having someone fix that old, rusty water heater. It works, for now and everything looks new, but I still worry I got ripped off.
Your sister eventually stopped coming by. I knew it was just a matter of time, but in a weird way I miss her. It was nice having someone to chat over coffee with, and of course her bringing dinner spoiled me.
Your mom keeps calling. I know I should answer, but I just can’t bring myself to listen to all the stories. I know she means well. I know she wants to let me know she is still available for me and the kids, even in these circumstances, but it is just so hard. I’m so tired of talking about you. I want to talk to you. Sooner or later I have to move on. I have to let go. I have to.
Anyway, I got a job. It doesn’t pay what yours did obviously, but it’s something. The kids are getting used to it and Uncle Teddy helps get them to and from school, but I hope one day to be able to handle it all on my own.
I know you don’t approve of my working, but the bills keep coming and the money is almost gone. I didn’t have a choice. You didn’t leave me with a choice. You left me with very little and the kids are paying for it. I am so angry with you…I don’t mean that. Please, I don’t mean that.
I love you. I will always love you. This is just so very difficult and those damn doctors. Everywhere I turn their hands are stuck out. Lord, help me if one of the kids gets sick. I don’t know where I would take them. I owe everyone!
I’m sorry; I don’t mean to make you feel bad. You were a good provider, and a good father. You know finance has never been my thing. I get stressed out so easily. I just wish you were here to help me, to show me what I need to do. I’m in a panic every day, and the more I panic the more lost I feel.
I picked up your shirts from the cleaners. I know it was a silly thing to do, but I wanted them. I needed them. I’m wearing one. It’s like having you close to me. Having your arms wrapped around me. I miss you. I miss you so very much. I think if it weren’t for the kids I would grieve myself to death. I just want to cry myself into an eternal sleep. I know I have to stop. It’s time to be a grownup, but you were always the strong one. I need you so much.
I have to go. They raised your headstone today, and I promised the kids we’d take you daffodils. I know you don’t care for flowers, but it means a lot to them. I only called to hear your voice. I miss you; I will always miss you, my love. Good-bye. “