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Rated: E · Short Story · Emotional · #1530560
490 word short story. General fiction. Please give constuctive criticism.
February 14 2009

"And I thought that I found myself today
And I thought that I had control
All the change in my life just fell away"

Frank was practicing the drums again.

That was the first thought that registered as Elena woke. She smiled as she lay there and listened to the beat. He was actually getting pretty good. Not a few times now she had had to stop herself from going over to her neighbour’s house when she heard him playing and asking for a lesson. She’d been enamoured with the drums since early high school. But Frank was a middle-aged man who had taken up the drums after his wife walked out on him last summer. Awkward wouldn’t begin to cover it.

She rolled to her back, taking in the sunlight peeking through the gap in the dark blue curtains her mother had made. She loved Saturday mornings.

This was contentment. Waking up in a small house with more history than a textbook. Walls she remembered jumping through the frames of as a kid, a roof that all the uncles and cousins had come over to help re-shingle one summer, a driveway laid with bricks she’d spent a few weeks carrying to her mom, who laid each one carefully.
A small house by a railroad track with a large, close-knit family inhabiting it. Playing tag and running through the sprinkler. Going for bike rides up the street to fly back down the hill in the waning evening light. Passing home-cooked meals around the table set for six. Laughing and teasing and loving.

Or at least, that’s the way it had been. The image she still tried to keep in the forefront of her mind.

But these days, the reality was a little different. There were still those light-hearted moments. Jokes and teasing and genuine concern. But now it seemed they came a little fewer and farther between. Between silences and despair and complaints and disproportionate anger.

And she’d stupidly thought she could fix it. Like anything she could do would make a difference.

No, the truth was, it was inescapable. And that’s all she’d being trying to do – escape and evade.

But the ugly truth has a way of sneaking up on you, even as you’re trying desperately to avoid it.

And the truth was there was no way Elena could have stopped what would happen to her family. No way for her to make her mother feel more loved and her sister feel more supported all at the same time. There was no escape. No avoiding the truth. No way of protecting them both at the same time.

She lay in her bed as the sobs from across the hall drowned out the faint beat of Frank’s drumming and wished with all her heart that everyone else could love as unconditionally as she did.

"And I’d rather be in the ground with you
Than be the last one standing"

Lyrics from "Finding Myself" by Smile Empty Soul and "Last One Standing" by Keeley Valentino
© Copyright 2009 Melis O'Rourke (irishtwilight at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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