Writing Resources from Fifteen Minutes of Fiction
Way Back WhenWalking down this country dirt road- calling it a dirt road is nearly laughable, it's little more than a path just wide enough for two vehicles to pass- the smell of the dirt- wet and musty- brings back memories as vivid as if I were looking at one of my wife's Creative Memories photo albums.
A lone bird, either too stupid or too stubborn to have flown south, sings a low song. The chirping is accompanied by the sound of leaves, the scratching of ones skittering across the road blown by the chilled Autumn wind, the crunching of a multicolored blanket of dried dead leaves under my sneakers.
The sights, smells, sounds all take me back to a simpler time, a time when the greatest worry of a young boy was that of getting homework done on time, or passing that big test. Everything else was just... well, just was.
I begin to think of how times have changed. Worries now include that guy at work that seems to get on everyone's nerves, that project that is due. Thoughts of my daughter getting ready for college and how to pay for that fight for attention with the worries of an adolescent son discovering the pitfalls and temptations associated with his age.
My throat tightens as I think of my parents. When I was young, they were the strong ones, the ones who could fix any hurt, heal any wound, calm any fear. Now, their health is declining and the roles have reversed. It is I and my siblings who worry about them. I see the falling sun, setting so far in the west and realize that my parents, too, are entering the twilight of their lives.
The symphony started by the bird and the leaves finishes with a plaintive cry from a train a long way off. The sound born on the wind of a lifetime of memories. When did life get so complicated? Why can't it be like it used to be?
Finally, I have arrived at my destination. A dilapidated old house with more issues than can be counted. A little black cat meows on the porch, begging for attention. I bend down and scratch her head. She jumps up to meet my hand, then nuzzles against my leg. As I walk into the house, I hear a voice. "Hi, honey!"
Suddenly, I am brought back to now, to the realization that life will never be like it was way back when. But, then, it doesn't have to be, does it? I hug my wife and see my kids' smiling faces. No, way back then, I didn't have this, and I like this.
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