The toy box sits in the corner of the room these days, neglected, unused, and generally forgotten about. It has been years since the children have even acknowledged the joy that has come at the expense of the toys that are now compacted into those six walls, but I still can’t bring myself to get rid of it.
Memories of jubilant Saturday mornings fill my head, of the children creating stories out of the dolls and Tonka trucks. Little green army men out to save the world being trampled on by a teddy bear that had transformed into “Bearacus the Destroyer”. Puzzle pieces strewn across the floor as they tried to compete to see which one could finish the fastest. Lastly, the numerous unspoken curses I held in as I stepped on countless Lego blocks while cleaning up after them. Continue reading The Toy Box in the Corner
He stood on the white sandy beach, staring back at me as our boat backed away from the shore. Granted, I’m not so sure he was staring at me or the gun in my hand, but either way, it didn’t matter. He knew I meant to shoot him if he even tried to come after us and board the boat. His only chance of survival was going to be alone on this island. Not a life, but alive…at least.
The men oared the boat out into the chop and with each passing second, he grew smaller and smaller, and yet, he stood, staring at me as we headed into the surf. He placed his hands on his hips and started to pace in the surf. Continue reading Marooned
I stood outside in the darkness and stared at her through the window. She was crying, alone, on the sofa wrapped in our fleece blanket. A fire burned in the hearth and provided the only light in the entire house. I watched as she held tightly to our picture, the silver frame reflecting the golden glow of the dying blaze. She wiped a tear then held the picture away from her, longingly looking at it again.
We were happy then. The day of our wedding. Two lovers joined together, a life of dreams and love ahead of us. That was such a long time ago and so much had happened to us since then. There was love. There was joy. There were nights spent on that couch as we held each other close, watching the fire die. There were also fights and disagreements, but somehow we always came back to us. I give her the credit for that, her tenacity in not giving up on me or our marriage. She was my rock. Continue reading Looking In
“Oberon, are you listening?” Lieutenant Stratta’s voice cut across the static of his thoughts. He looked over at her.
“What?” He said as he blinked his eyes several times.
“I said, are you ready?” Her voice carried a weight of impatience to it and he was sure she had an annoyed look on her face, but couldn’t see her face behind the mirrored visor of her helmet.
He flexed his armored fingers on the grip of his rifle. “Yeah, sorry… just lost in thought.” He was glad she couldn’t see his face behind his own helmet, but was concerned that his voice would give away his uncertainty. The yearning inside of him to be done with this life was a preoccupation he had tried hard to overcome as the end of his enlistment drew near. Continue reading Maxwell House
She called. Just this morning, as I was getting ready for work, she called me. I didn’t answer it though. I stopped mid-shave and just stared at the incoming phone call and the picture of her. I wasn’t ready to cross that bridge. Not just yet. Too much hurt and too much pain kept my thumb from hitting the accept button.
I placed the phone back down on the counter and went about finishing my morning ritual. Thirty seconds later, my phone beeped. She left a voice mail. Again, I stopped, the razor paused on my throat, and glanced with my eyes down at the flashing blue LED light. I took a deep breath. “Not now.” I said as I let the air escape my lungs. I looked back to the mirror, took another deep breath in and then finished shaving.
The rest of my routine went by without incident, but I kept looking at my phone on the counter, blinking away. I finally pocketed the phone and, grabbing the rest of my daily gear, walked out into the day. The morning was new, the air was crisp with a hint of the oncoming winter and the sun was bright, bringing a hint of warmth but keeping it a beautiful autumn day. I stopped for a second after locking the door, letting the sun hit my face, relishing in the moment of peace before the storm.
Sitting heavy in the driver’s seat and playing with the keys for a moment, the gnawing sensation of the missed call and pending voice mail plagued me. The not knowing was starting to get the better of me. I reached into my pocket, took out the phone and stared at it. “Why in the world do I let her bother me this much.” I thought to myself, my thumb almost drawing the unlock pattern. Continue reading The Missed Phone Call