Friday, March 20, 2015

If Wishes Were

When she was twenty-six years old, Gracie's cousin, Conner, killed himself with a big gun. What stayed with her was, on that cold January night, he had gone outside and wrapped himself in a sheet, so that he wouldn't make a mess. Even in the moment, as many had told her, that he was being his most selfish, he didn't want to make a mess for his mama. For Gracie, it was not the big gun destroying her sweet cousin that defined him. It was that sheet.

As she slowly moved through the rituals of sending off the dead, Gracie thought about the last time she had seen him, the month before, around Christmastime.  It was the last family gathering at her grandparents that had most of the aunts, uncles, and cousins. Gracie was outside with her brother and one of their cousins, talking in the crisp air.  Conner walked out of the front door of her grandparents' home and said goodbye to them. Her memory stops time right here. The sun highlighted his light brown hair to golden. She noticed that he had gained weight, and his normally athletic build had a little belly. Gracie was overwhelmed with the urge to go hug him. To protest his goodbye and ask him to stay and talk to them in the grey light of the cold afternoon. But, she didn't. She smiled and waved goodbye. And now he was gone.

Now she was wishing that she could go back. Go back and stop him. Hide him if he needed hiding, accept him if he needed accepting, and make sure he knew the whole time how much she loved him.

She saw him in the street. He visited in dreams. She wished he was with her. She wished that she had been able to help him. She wished that he was happy and safe. She wished that he was still alive.

Through the next two years, there were at least three more funerals, and the family dissipated. And Gracie wished for that last Christmas.

written 3/20/15

Happy World Storytelling Day! Although this isn't at all upbeat. The theme for this year was wishes. I am not sure if it fits into the storytelling category, or if it is finished or not, so I think I'll let it sit. One of the benefits of having a blog where all posts are considered drafts. :)

Oh and Happy International Day of Happiness. (I should have written a more upbeat tale.)


  1. Stark and touching. I loved the phrase "rituals of sending off the dead."

    1. Thanks Bone. I think that I still need to work on this one a bit, but I think that I got the bulk of what I wanted written here.


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