It took two years, but here I am finally putting a piece of fiction up here. I often write a couple hundred words here or there – little snippets that don’t become anything – and I wanted to put them up here for the longest time. So here it is, little fiction for ya:
I would look around at everything we owned, and I would see evidence of the life we were living. The books on the shelves and the little tin figurines that the kids put together sitting in front of them. The dishes in the sink I haven’t washed and that one chipped mug that will always be my favourite even though it cut my lip once before I finally got around to sanding the cracked edge.
Not even just the things but the walls – the actual walls and how they feel – like somehow they have soaked up the memories made in this room. Or that they just held them inside even before we deigned to live them.
I want to touch all the walls and feel my family sitting together for breakfast and laughing over the sympathy card Gemma made for my father. ‘Peel better’ it said – in all different fonts with a picture of a wooden boat beneath it. She never forgot the small wooden boat he made with the two of them. It sank about two minutes after they set it floating on the pool and Gemma cried and cried but her older brother, my Peter…he hugged everyone and told us all that we had made history.
I suppose we had.
And after that – after that we always told Dad to ‘Peel’ better whenever he got sick. We clung to that ridiculous notion like the little boat clung to the surface, failing eventually when he just died. Nothing to peel anymore.
But I can’t feel the sadness we felt when I sit here, like I can feel the joy. The sadness is just a memory, of course, so is the joy. But joy seems to come out stronger, seeping out of the structure of this house.
I’m afraid one day it will be empty. With no more joy to fill it and me sitting here like a greedy addict, sucking it all up until one day, it becomes just a living room. Just a kitchen. Just sadness.
And yet I can’t help but go through this every time I look around. The TV, though its never on anymore, has the light image of a mangled letter ‘P’ imprinted from so many Saturday mornings playing PlayStation. Gemma trying and failing to make Crash Bandicoot do what she wants and losing it until Peter calmly takes the controller and finishes the level.
‘He finally, got the muscle memory you were trying to teach him, Gem’ he would say, ‘I just got lucky that you trained him so well’.
In those moments I prayed, to anything and everything, not asking for anything but just saying thank you. Thank you for giving me the son that encourages his little sister. The son that is the light in all the darkness. The son that makes history happen out of a little wooden boat.
That’s the problem you see. Everything is history now. Now. When I look at all the stuff and the shit and the mess all I can see is a life that has already been lived.