Sunday, January 10, 2010


Snippet from an unfinished story. Not much to it, just felt like sharing.


“Mom. I need you to listen to me, Mom. You have to be careful with Kevin. He’s not like you and me. He takes every word and locks it in his heart. He holds on to them and never lets go of the pain. They don’t roll off his back.”

“I don’t – “

“But you do, Mom. You do. You’re a master at it. Your tongue is so smooth. It’s like a poisoned-tipped samurai’s sword. You don’t feel it slice through until you’re bleeding out and the poison’s killing you.”


“I’m not saying you do it on purpose. You love us, I know you do, but your tongue is acid, Mom. It’s poison. You’ve always complained about my sarcasm but where do you think I learned it from? I’m just saying you have to be careful. Kevin’s in a rough place right now, and he’s always felt things more strongly than the rest of us.”

“Your brother’s got a good heart.”

A wistful smile curved Kelsey’s lips. “That’s his role, you know. He’s the heart, the life, of our family. Thinks with his heart and not his brains. Gets knocked down but always gets right back up. Sees the good in people and trusts when no one else would. Keeps us all a little brighter.”

Kelsey rolled her head back on the pillow and closed her eyes. “Dad’s the anchor. No matter how much time’s gone by, no matter how much crap that’s piled up, Dad’s the same. It’s comforting. He’s our rock.”

“And I suppose I’m the wicked witch in this little scenario?”

“No, Mom.” Kelsey chuckled and opened one eye so that she could meet her mother’s steely gaze. “That’s my role. You’re… you’re our brain. Our tie to the real world. Practical and patient and the perfect mix of love and wisdom. You remind us that we can’t all stay in our little bubbles of selfishness and self-pity forever.”

“I’m not sure that’s a compliment, Kelsey.”

Kelsey struggled to sit up. She reached out and sandwiched both of Opal’s hands with hers. “Don’t you know you’re the first one Kevin and I call when anything goes wrong. For all Dad’s quiet stoicism, you’re the one we turn to for help. We know you’ll steer us straight. We know you love us.”

Opal silently studied her inebriated daughter. There was truth to the things she’d said. A painful truth, but an honest one. When had her daughter, the preemie baby she’d watched stumble and fumble and finally stand on her own, become so very wise? “I know what you’re role is.”

“Black sheep. Not really a newsflash, Mom.”

Opal shook her head. “You’re the seeker. You see into each one of us and pull out the truths we want to deny. You aren’t fooled by any of our masks. You keep us honest.”

“Thereby being the very definition of irony.” Kelsey rolled her eyes. “Are you sure you didn’t finish off that bottle of rum?”

“No, dear. You did that all on your own.” Opal patted Kelsey’s cheek. “You aren’t going to remember any of this in the morning, are you?”

“If the Fates are kind, tomorrow morning I will wake up in my apartment in Houston and none of the past two weeks will have occurred.” Kelsey collapsed back on the bed.

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