Thursday, July 14, 2011

Entry #11

Parting Ways
by Michelle Hickman


Swirly red. Around me. Tasted so sweet. I drank it in. It left a burning heat in my belly and a grogginess to thoughts. I wanted to stay forever.

“Why do you want to stay, Patrick?” There’s so much more for you. Look.” A hand pointed at the yellow opening. “Why don’t you come in?”

“NO,” I snarled. I wrapped the mist tight about like a security blanket. I knew what was beyond that yellow opening. I heard the screams, the shattering of glass, and the ambulance sirens.

“You’re dying here, Patrick. Look at yourself.” The disembodied voice insisted. I glanced down. I was wasp-thin. My body shook in uncontrollable fits.

The voice was right. I was dying, drinking away my sorrows with my life left empty after the car accident.

I had eight shots of rum. Anna said I shouldn’t drive, but I snapped at her to get inside the car with the kids. I drove us right into a tree. I was the only one who had left that car without being wrapped in a black bag.

I sobbed. My tears parted the red mist. Intangible. Unfeeling.

“It’s all right,” the disembodied voice soothed. The hand reappeared. It led me to the opening, but I must take the last step. I hesitated before grabbing the yellow light.

Hands clapped as I opened my eyes. Twenty people sat in a circle with faces bright in the sunlight. The AA counselor’s hand gripped mine. He said, “You’re free now.”

32 comments:

Aimee Laine said...

So much sorrow in so few words. Well done!

Mikki said...

Very, very nice. You've captured such an intimate moment, guiding us into your character's innermost soul through vivid imagery and poignant metaphor. I felt as though I could feel his emotions, and the ending sent a piercing ache straight to my heart. Excellent work.

Thank you for sharing!

Jade L Blackwater said...

a lot of story in a small space, and nicely paced.

Cath Barton said...

Good piece. I particularly like the word "wasp-thin".

Precie said...

So sad. And you do a good job of conveying how completely his guilt and agony envelop him.

Michelle H. said...

Thank you everyone for your kind words. I wanted to try writing with more internal conflict.

Kunjal said...

very nicely done:)I feel sorry for patrick:)

j a zobair said...

Very powerful. I don't know if he'll ever be free. How could you?

You really brought this to life. Nice job!

Peter Dudley said...

Devastating. I don't know that I could go on after that.

Michelle H. said...

Thank you for your comments, Kunjal, JA and Peter. The photo just jumped out at me in this way, a sort of desperation, denial and sadness.

fairyhedgehog said...

It's an interesting take on the prompt. I wonder if you could ever come back from something like that.

Aniket said...

Like everyone said. There's no coming back from something like that. But kudos to you for getting us all to think that.

bluesugarpoet said...

Addiction is a beast. Creative take on the prompt! ~jana

Michelle H. said...

Fairy Hedgehog, Aniket and Jana, thank you for your comments! Who knows if a person can come back from it? The human will is a strange and powerful thing.

Dottie (Tink's Place) said...

Very sad, but nicely done...

Dottie :)

wrath999 said...

Great job!

Old Kitty said...

Powerful for being so understated! It's very sad but I'm glad there is closure for him at the end. Take care
x

Michael Morse said...

He's living, one day at a time, fighting his disease that led to his soul's destruction, which feeds his disease. It's a bit overwhelming, but so well done, totally convincing and ultimately rewarding.

Richard Levangie said...

I think this is a powerful entry, Michelle, and you've created the story for an entire life in 250 words. But I'd change the ending... I don't know how the counselor could offer such a hopeful prognosis.

I feel it's the place for "the longest journey begins with a single step" sort of phrase. But well done!

Michelle H. said...

Thank you for commenting Dottie, wrath999, Old Kitty, Michael and Richard!

I agree, the ending could use a bit more something to it. I had the most trouble there and think that I should have sat on the story a little longer before submitting. Something better may have popped into the old noggin.

yamini said...

Very well written.
This is one of my favorites!

Chris Allinotte said...

You've given his regret enough weight that it just may crush him. The bittersweet note of redemption at the end makes this very powerful.

C Sonberg Larson said...

This is powerful. The tragedy of loss, the swirling depth of shame.
Very well done in so few words

Michelle H. said...

Thanks for your comments, yamini, Chris and C Sonberg!

Stephen Parrish said...

The revelation at the end is powerful and moving. Great job.

Michelle H. said...

Thank you for the kind words, Stephen.

Linda Ryan-Harper said...

Survival of the fittest, Mr. Darwin? Survival sometimes is punishment enough, but we humans seldom see it that way as you so cleverly convey.

Aidan Fritz said...

You've done a nice job capturing his inner conflict and the guilt that riddles him.

Wendy said...

You did great capturing the struggle. Moving story.

JaneyV said...

Michelle - this is very powerful. The guilt and inner conflict is palpable. The note of hope at the end is a nice touch, but he has to be willing to leave his security blanket of self-loathing first. That's a big step.

Michelle H. said...

Thanks for reading my entry, Linda, Aidan, Wendy, and JaneyV.

jason evans said...

The potent weight of guilt. And the reluctance to grasp salvation. We do punish ourselves viciously. Well done!

Congrats on Forties Club!