Friday, September 2, 2011

The Heavy Burden

Labor Day weekend is almost upon us.

It is a time of transition: summer to fall, kids back to school, no more wearing white..

For this week’s prompt, write about a season of change for your character or you. It can be literal or metaphorical.

Bear with me as I'm including more of these writing exercises into my blog - this is the first time in a very long time that I've attempted to write pure fiction. I did not take the time to name this character, I just let the words flow. Here it goes:

The days are already getting shorter and she is left wondering if her time is also slipping away.  It's been a year since the diagnosis.  The prognosis was initially a questionable one.  Depending on how the treatment progressed they would make a decision of  how much longer she would have to live.  It was a miracle they found the tumor at all and she was so very thankful that they did - yet she was terrified.

She had seen so many of the other patients in the last few months come into the office.  They had bonded - none of them really confident that the experimental treatments they had signed up for were going to work. But the possibility of finding a cure wasn't what they faced - they were avoiding the inevitable - pushing it away into the distance - one season at a time. 

She feels blessed to have had the time to stay at home and raise her children. Many of their friends have not been so fortunate having to juggle a full time job along with raising their kids. She has lost touch with a few of who used to be her closest friends - they have always been sympathetic of her condition, yes, but after a while it became increasingly hard not to become a little jealous of their good health.

She did not really know how to work through the feelings, so she chose to withdraw into her responsibilities with the family.  She found herself making excuses and keeping to herself more & more. 

So as Summer draws to a close, she finds herself wrapped up in the duties a mother generally takes on & her husband takes for granted.  Her oldest daughter is preparing to enter high school and has a list a mile long of more clothes she absolutely must have this year.  The middle child - a son is obsessed with nothing but football as he enters the 6th grade. Her baby boy is going into the third grade & is a total Momma's boy.

She plans her weekend in preparation for the week to come when all the kids will be back in school. So much left to do & so little time she uses the crafting room to spread out all the school supplies & separates them into piles to go into the kid's backpacks.  She wonders if she should be calling her husband into the room to watch her routine.  He's never needed to care before. She has always done everything. She has grown used to carrying the heavy burden of the household & her illness. He's always just been the breadwinner. 

She decides not to bother him with it & quickly wraps up the project. It's by then almost time to take her middle son to football practice & her youngest to a friend's home for a play date so she can finish up the last bit of clothes shopping with her daughter.   She calls out to the kids to gather their things & to get into the car.  She hates to be late.

After she drops off the boys, her daughter moves into the front seat of the car.  She takes a quick glance over at her & marvels at the beautiful young woman that she is becoming & her eyes begin to well up with tears.  She quickly wipes them away before her daughter can lock eyes with her & see that she is upset.  She says a little prayer that this Fall won't be her last.  She has so much left to live for & she knows how much her daughter is going to need a mother. She turns the key in the ignition, starts the car & quickly drives away.


Jessica said...

I have chills, that poor mother keeping this all inside and trying to continue her life. I love the way you used the seasons to move through this piece.
I think the only critique I could give is that a lot of your sentences started with "she" so you may want to try to vary that some. But I LOVE this piece.

Galit Breen said...

This piece pulls at my heartstrings! You captured change with every word. And I LOVE that you went with your writing, formed the premise of the story without naming anyone. LOVE!

Mary said...

You did a wonderful job. I was glued to the piece while reading it. Keep writing!

Carrie said...

there's an undertone of hope to all this. She knows that it may be her last back to school season but still, she goes along the same as ever, doing what she needs to do.

I wonder if her children understand how ill she is, or if she has kept that from them as well.

I have to agree with Jessica, some variation on how the sentences began would be nice.

Monika said...

I agree totally with the constructive criticism ~ I will work on that in the next story. It was a free flow of thoughts late last night & I didn't want to edit it too much this first time around & stifle the mood. Loving this new approach to refining my writing skills.

Anonymous said...

Oh, this poor mother! I can't wait to hear more!

Julie Moore said...

Resonated with hope. I want her to make it through to another fall. I want her to see her kids grow up. How sad to be in the place she is in. Great writing.

Cheryl said...

This was so sad, and something that terrifies me. So you raised some emotions for sure.

I agree w/ those who said varying the sentence structure can really help. Also, most of your paragraphs are the same length.

There was a lot going on in here - a lot to think about!