Yesterday, I wrote a flash fiction concerning my resolution for this year: to be a bit more organized and mindful of my messes.
I usually reserve this space for fiction, but, to be honest, there’s a blogger behind the prose, and a human behind that.
I am Connor, and I hate having to write about myself. I like writing about people who aren’t quite here, nor there, nor anywhere, but always somewhere. Every day, I work with people and things that are predefined by existence and experience. It’s my outlet to create these voices and individuals who aren’t real, as a way to make something real.
As you can see, I think about my purpose for writing a lot. I’m not a particularly great writer, but I do love to do it. So, to keep my muscles flexed, I started this blog with the intention of blogging daily about or with writing.
This month especially. NaBloPoMo, or National Blog Post Month, is an event in November (or whatever month) that consists of blogging daily for a full month, usually with some theme. This month’s theme is…I don’t know or care. This is my blog, Muted But Present. And I’m going to give my all to give a Muted But Present-flavor to this NaBloPoMo attempt.
So, as usually promised, here is another off-the-cuff short. I’m going to go off on a tangent here. Today’s post theme is “self-awareness.” Enjoy.
Christmas morning was more fun than usual, but something was different. I had figured out the Santa Claus thing, and I was totally cooler with it than most kids my age — according to Mom. But, that they had lied for eleven years to me hurt. And, to think, I thought I knew it all last year.
We always wore Christmas jammies to bed Christmas Eve, and woke up at seven to greet the sun breaking through the east bedroom windows. Tommy rushed out of bed, his heels thumping the ground in time with his little heart. I can’t remember much about being three, but I remember the joy of waking up to mounds of presents. Seeing a night owl light up at seven in the morning — that’s sweet, and that’s the Christmas I’ve always known.
Tommy and I still shared a room because Dad and Mom couldn’t really afford a bigger house, or a house. A trailer was fine, and less walking was involved. Tommy threw open our door while I put on my slippers, and he was sliding into the tree before I had even gotten to my feet. I still wonder how those chubby legs could move so fast.
Mom and Dad had been up for a few hours, it seemed. Mom smiled tiredly and knelt down to hug Tommy, but he was busy throwing wrapping paper this way and that. Dad laughed, not in a deep morning voice, and brought them both into a tight bear hug. Tommy had opened two presents — an RC helicopter and a LEGO set — before I even reached the kitchen.
Coffee and fir mingled in the air, shaking hands with each other before triggering my nose. Strong coffee was a way of life around here, and Dad was keen on the “donut shop brew.” It was the only thing he really splurged on, other than us. I reached up for a coffee mug, and gripped the carafe in the other hand. I poured my coffee, and listened to Tommy squeal and giggle.
“Sorry, dear,” Mom said, glancing over her shoulder. I didn’t place why she apologized, then I looked down. More air than coffee. They had been up a long time.
I shrugged and plopped down beside Mom. The glow in her eyes as she watched Tommy open his last present beset her worry lines in her brow. A librarian would put Mom in the fiction section — even a stranger could read her. She took so much joy in Christmas, but not the decoration. Our tree had maybe twenty ornaments on it and a single string of lights, no topper. Rubbing my shoulder with a free hand, she handed me a present. I followed Tommy’s lead.
Inside, there was a smaller box within a box. I smiled with my Mom’s lips and squinted with the rest of Dad’s face. I knew what was coming. Matryoshka presents. Something big but small.
I opened another box to find yet another and all eyes were on me. All of the rundown furniture, thin carpeting, and leaking pipes in this trailer couldn’t separate me from the joy of discovery. I opened one last box — a tampon box, of all things — to find a small, dainty box with one phrase in serif font.
“I can’t accept this,” I said, putting down the present. I searched my parents’ eyes, ending on my own. Dad knew how much I cared for “the little things,” and he’d never go so far as to get me something like this. As priceless as this. As pricy as this.
“You deserve it, Natalie,” he said, sipping his coffee. The look on his face was unreadable. Perhaps it was a joke? A jest, to make me smile like we always did. Christmas had given me a lot in the past, but their gift to me was all too much.
“I don’t,” I said. I couldn’t hide the tears. The wrongs from the year. Nearly burning down the trailer. Forging Mom’s signature to go on a field trip my friend’s mom paid for. Lying about my failing math grade. Lying about lying.
I deserved nothing. Not even coal.
“Well, if you won’t open it,” Dad said, reaching for my gift, “then I will.”
And there it was. Pictures speak a thousand words, but words only speak for themselves. The most gorgeous necklace I had seen. Ever. Not a diamond or stone to speak of, only sterling silver and infinity. I nearly threw up.
Mom and Dad and Tommy gathered around me and we shared a hug and a cry. I loved it, but it was so much. At least two hundred dollars, not to mention shipping.
Dad whispered into my ear, so soft I could only make out so much.
“…but money is not your problem — and this year, it won’t be ours.”
- NaBloPoMo January 2014 (maettina.wordpress.com)
- NaBloPoMo January 2014 (hoogoesthere.wordpress.com)
- January NaBloPoMo (tulleandtea.wordpress.com)