Monday, July 25, 2011

Succinctly Yours: Arbitrary

James stepped into the workroom, noting the sun’s pale light on orderly rows of tools, and the workbench thick with curled, cedar shavings. Arbitrarily, he picked up a wood file, its rough edges as familiar as his own skin, as evocative as the sharp combined scent of sawdust and oil that peppered his childhood.
Yet this was not the time to ponder the past. They were waiting for him at the church, anxious for whatever wisdom he might share to make this loss bearable. The role of family patriarch was now his to don, with its uneasy mixture of pride and apprehension.
James stepped out into the sunshine. He swiped a hand across his dark suit, dislodging small strings of dust. Squaring his shoulders, he whispered softly, “ I love you, Dad,” as he gently closed the door behind him.

(140 words)
As a wife and mother, I’ve railed against the concept that men should stoically bear the weight of grief, unable to weep openly because it is their job to be strong and ease the pain of others. Surely, our husbands and sons should be free to fold themselves into our arms in time of need, knowing we offer a safe and secure refuge in the midst of life’s trials. Sadness, like love and joy, is meant to be shared, after all…
Grandma's Goulash hosts the wonderful microfiction meme, Succinctly Yours, where each week she posts a photo around which we might spin a tale in 140 characters or in the same number of words. Extra credit is given for using the optional word of the week, which today is, "arbitrary".
For more takes on the prompt, follow the link below.
Our thanks to you and your daughter for this fun challenge, Grandma!


Anonymous said...

That's sweet. A family moment.

Kay L. Davies said...

That's beautiful, Lynette. And you're so right, men ought not to think they must be stoic. I know plenty of men who have found strength and hope after letting go and weeping.

—Kay, Alberta, Canada

Grandma's Goulash said...

Thanks so much for this lovely story, which touched me deeply on many levels. I remember the look of my own father's work shop, but your opening also retrieved those familiar and beloved scents.

My Succinct: Simpler Times

Pat said...

Lynnette, I love the poignancy of this vignette. It reminds me of feelings Jerry had after the passing of his dad. He realized he no longer had the role of son of Martin VanderBeek here on earth any more. Two months later he became the father to his first child, Nathan. So in 1978 he was no longer in the role of son of his father, but took on the role of father to his son. He said it felt very strange.

Helen said...

The first two were beautifully written and are my favourite out of the three.


Susan Fobes said...

This was beautiful...

jabblog said...

This is a lovely story, Lynette. I agree with you about grief. The Brits try awfully hard to maintain a stiff upper lip - but my husband has wept at loss.

The Fool said...

Well written. Enjoyed reading.