Monday, May 10, 2010

Song Prompt

I've thrown away my toys. Every last one of the filthy, distorted, torturous reminders of what I lost. The now bulging black garbage bag is the only real shape amongst the devastation. Mostly ashes and some jagged pieces of what use to be the white picket fence that kept small dogs out and the tulips in are sticking out of the ground. It's all that is left of the home I grew up in. The rest of the debris was hauled away by relief workers yesterday.

As I scan the ground one last time, the enormity of the event starts to sink in. There are no walls to keep it out. No trees to block the cold wind that has started to blow. Even the Johnson's privacy fence is gone. I smile at the memory of the browning Cedar fence and the boys I made out with behind it as a teenager. I wonder if anyone has contacted the Johnson's. Surely they would still be in Wisconsin at this time of year. Of everyone in the neighborhood, they would handle the news best. They were in a safe place and their most valuable items are with them. Their loss would be minimal.

A gust of wind blows off the ocean, lifting the side of my hair and tossing it roughly in my face. I push it behind my ear, shivering a little bit from the bitterness of the wind and the situation. I hear the soft revving of an engine in the distance. I sigh, knowing that they will be here soon. No one is allowed in or out without the escort of a relief worker. Still, I don't move toward the assigned pick up location. I just stare at the nothingness around me, lowering my head when it becomes too much.

I see something near my left shoe. It's dirty, but I can make out a delicate line in the ashes. I bend down to examine it and am surprised that it is still intact as I lift it out of the soot. My mother's locket; the one she put on every morning after her shower and lotion. I cradle the small silver heart in my gloved hand. Tears spring to my eyes. Carefully I open it, assuming the hinges are weak and are likely to break. On one side is a picture of my mother from my last visit and the other is a picture of my father.

My tears flow freely as the wind tugs on the chain. I fold it all into the palm of my hand. I don't care about the rules anymore. I am taking this with me. I glance around to make sure no one is around. The sound of the truck has been steadily getting closer, but I believe I still have time. I unzip the top of my suit down three inches to expose the collar of my shirt and drop the locket inside. It catches in my bra. I say a silent prayer of thanks and quickly turn away from the nothingness, keeping my eyes trained on the orange flag.

I march quickly to it, sniffling. I see the five others of our group are on their way or already waiting. As I approach, I can see tear stained faces through the heavy glass of the helmets. What speaks the loudest is the sadness in their eyes. I look away from the others afraid they would see something different in my eyes. The truck pulls up and slowly we climb in. Someone says, "I was against this war," as we pull away. There is heavy silence and for me, cold metal pressing against my chest.

*** Daily Writing Practice ***


  1. Heather, I just gave you another One-Minute Writing of the Day award, for 4/24! Congrats!

    -C. Beth

  2. Beautiful. I think you could make this bigger.

  3. C. Beth- thanks :)

    Vicki- I had planned to.... until there was a very smelly explosion which needed my immediate attention.