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Friday, September 16, 2011

Mate for Life

"It's like this, " Jake said, casting his line into the bay. He swallowed once, then ran a hand through his hair. The line hit the water like an exclamation point. "Your mom's leaving me."

I turned away. The silken fishing line glinted in the sun. "I know," I mumbled. "I'm not stupid."

"No, you're not," he said. "In fact, you're too smart for your own good." He reached into his front pocket, pulled out a Camel. With a practiced flourish, he lit the end, and passed it.

The smoke burned my throat. "Of course she's sending you clean up her mess," I said.

He shook his head. "What else is new?"

Nothing was new. Mom stepped out on Jake, and he put up with it. Same fucking story. Last week I saw her in action. From the back of the school bus, of all places. We were driving past the Fastop, and there she was, straddling some guy's motorcycle. Big loser guy with long blond hair. She was laughing, wearing a top with her tits falling out. So fucking disrespectful.

And Jake just took it. He put food on her table and raised me and my brother, all the while smelling another man's stink. And now, since she's found her next Prince Charming, I guess it's out with Jake, in with the newest step-dad.

 Which sucks. Jake at least took me fishing and passed his cigs. He talked to me, instead of hollering like Mom.  I stubbed out my butt. "I think the fish got your line." 

"Little fucker," he said, gripping his own cigarette between his back teeth. "You know none of this is your fault." He reeled in the line, and released it again in one seamless motion.

I watched an osprey flying to its nest, a flapping fish crushed in its beak. Those birds manage to mate for life. My stomach twisted, looking at it  "Of course it's not my fault my mom's a fucking whore."

"Watch your mouth, boy." He leaned in, and I could smell the Michelob on his breath. "She may not be perfect but--" his eyes darted to his feet, "she's what you've got. She's all you got."Our eyes caught, and I understood exactly what he was saying.

"Yes sir."  I watched the waves lap up against the pier, smacking the weathered wood.  I choked on each weighted syllable.

"So, I'll see you around, right?" he lied. "Maybe go fishing?"

I couldn't stand to look at him. "Sure," I said, "You know the number."

I knew he would never call. And that our connection would snap, like a fishing line. It would sink into the waters, soundless and forgotten.

We're writing about heartbreak at Write on Edge. 






27 comments:

Kir said...

Oh Nancy, I loved this. The images, smells and language so vivid that you felt and smelled each syllable. I felt each heart break , the son and Jake's for all they were losing.

Your last paragraph and the description of them snapping apart like the fishing line brought tears to my eyes...that's some good writing!

Formerly known as Frau said...

Nancy love your writing ......I get hook in right away and feel the raw emotion. Great job! Have a wonderful weekend!

Ash said...

Love the twist that it's the mom causing the damage. Love the salty true-to-scene language. Love you, of course.

finallyMom@blogspot.com said...

oh i love the way this was written. good, good stuff.

Kathleen Basi said...

This is a nice variant on the theme.

TKW said...

Heart-wrenching.

Lance said...

gritty, mean, and heart breaking. All kinds of good.

I enjoyed it.

Victoria KP said...

Ouch. Loved this. The voices are so real sounding.

Pepca said...

Beautifully written. Feels very real. I like the child's POV.

Andrea (ace1028) said...

Oh I adore this. I almost wrote about a different kind of heartbreak for mine - I just couldn't let myself go there right now. This was so well written, raw and real feeling. Loved it. Beautiful. And so sad.

tsonodablog said...

I know I'm not very original, but I would like to refer you up to Ash's comment. I concur.
Wow. Good stuff.

Sara said...

There's so much to like about how you write, it's almost hard to fit it in. I love how you write dialogue. You make the characters speak so clearly that I feel as if I'm listening in.

Then the descriptions. Once again, you make me see -- like the mom on the motorcycle, or Jake lighting his cigarette or the waves at the pier. I could hear them:~)

Most of all, you convey the heartbreak of a lost kid with a life full of step-dads who keep disappearing.

I enjoyed this for the excellent writing, but I confess, it also made me sad.

Katie @ Chicken Noodle Gravy said...

Excellent! I started to go in a direction kind of like this...but different of course. I didn't have the guts to do it once I started though. But you did it so well. I love when people take the prompts in a totally unexpected direction and you did that today, with some beautiful writing and heartfelt emotion.

Katie @ Chicken Noodle Gravy said...

Excellent! I started to go in a direction kind of like this...but different of course. I didn't have the guts to do it once I started though. But you did it so well. I love when people take the prompts in a totally unexpected direction and you did that today, with some beautiful writing and heartfelt emotion.

Carrie said...

This was very well constructed. It flowed and felt so natural, the conversation between the two.

The last lines were so perfect. I'm heartbroken right along with them.

Galit Breen said...

Oh you- this kind of heart break? Is just...well, heart braking. This poor boy!

I love the language that you used and the different POV that you chose. You rocked it GF! XO

angela said...

Ouch. His voice is pitch perfect in this. I can see him, and I love being able to see characters when descriptions aren't given.

The anger at his mom, the brave front, the tough act, though his heart is breaking...nice job!

CDG said...

Symbolism, beautiful descriptive language, and dialogue... oh the dialogue.

You do this so well.

Erin said...

This was so well done, I could see the glint from the water, I could feel the pain of feeling alone, and knowing that there is only one person...you have a beautiful way with words!

Anastasia said...

My heart broke for him. Awful to have someone come in and then leave so easily.

Jenny said...

You're a scary good writer. Wow.

dianddo said...

Broke my heart. Well written.

Jack said...

I enjoyed this. You painted a picture that was easy to see.

Joanna Jenkins said...

You just keep getting better and better.
xo jj

Wahzat Gayle said...

oh wow this is awesome!

Kim said...

Yeah, you did rock this. I still have a lump in my throat and it's not typical, not cliche. The mother wild and still the step dad defending her for the child's sake. You do heartbreak very well.

Julie said...

Oh, my heart.

There is such truth to this piece of fiction, which makes it all the more painful.

And beautiful.