December 13, 2009

Sunday Scribblings 193: Brave

I could only see my forehead in the bathroom mirror.  Mother dropped the brush as she ran down the hall--she never ran.  Prickles itched up my arm.  Dad was dead.

One of my pigtails hung neatly in place while the other was not yet assembled.  I wished Mom had finished it.

Mrs. Francis arrived.  We sat in the living room gazing at pictures on the wall.  The quiet compelled me to speak.

"Dad died," I said.

Mrs. Francis straightened with sad tenderness.  "Yes, I heard.  I'm so sorry."  Her hands folded at her knees.

My legs felt like they'd walk away from me if I didn't move.  I excused myself and hurried to the bathroom.  Stepping onto the stool I mimicked Mom's strokes trying to fix my hair.  My untrained hands did poorly.  Looping lumps formed at the crown.  The pigtail mocked me.  I swallowed hard.  I went back into the living room avoiding Mrs. Francis' gaze.  Her eyes rested on my half-hung pigtail.

She sniffed loudly.  I pretended not to notice and studied the family portrait over the fireplace with intensity.

"Aren't you brave," Mrs. Francis whispered, dabbing her eyes.

I triple crossed my legs.  "I was four in that one," I said, pointing to the portrait.

People arrived with food.  They came and went all afternoon.

And no one tried to fix my pigtail.


  1. this one brought tears. It is powerful and tells a sad story in a beautiful way. good work

  2. A compelling story, well told from the child's point of view. The dialogue and misdirection is just right. The reader never learns how or why, but that last line shows the gap between those most touched by death and those who try to comfort.

  3. Okay, Catherine - it's not nice to start my morning with tears! That is sooo sad, and that last line just kills me. It's beautiful. I love the "prickles itched up my arm".

  4. gs batty, Sorry it brought tears (well, maybe not...)and thank you for your kind words.

    Beth, I love your attention to details and insight.

    Shannon, I guess that was unfair of me after you made me smile with your post. lol

  5. "Aren't you brave?" That was the best line in this story. It says so much more than all the rest. Thank you.


  6. A finely crafted piece! Bravery comes in all sizes and shapes, for sure.

  7. I have never read so many heartbreaking posts in one Scribblings sit down. This is wonderfully done.

  8. well done bringing the reader into the narrators life... that keyhole viewing of their life.

  9. b - I'd be curious to know why that line spoke to you especially.

    Tumblewords - It certainly does! That's why I love reading through all the Scribbler's writings.

    Patios - Hmmm, that is interesting. Maybe because bravery often comes in the face of suffering.

    Quin - thank you.

  10. this is such a moving piece. good work!

  11. A beautifully created childhood vision of trauma. It is totally captivating and tear jerking. Wonderful work.


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