Monthly Archives: December 2016

Poetry: I wake

I wake.

Not moving.

I look around.

Everyone around me.

Crying.

The mood in the room?

Sadness.

I speak.

No one listens.

They cover my face with cloth.

The longevity of the beep.

Surreal.

I glance up.

Flat line.

I am dead.

Poem: It’s a Good Day

I was woken by my daughter’s cries of pain.

She needs to go to the hospital, my wife says to me.

Too many kids, lay on the pallet in the living room.

What do we do at almost midnight?

Do we wake them all and deal with consequences at school?

No, we call my sister.

My wife leaves with our daughter.

Little sleep occurs as my son fights his sleep, like a knight saving a princess.

It’s 3 AM, he finally conquers the dragon and finds his prize, sleep.

My wife comes home, our daughter has found she has an infection.

Medicine we can’t afford, but love we can give freely.

Get paid tomorrow, medicine will wait until then.

Son wakes back up, and finds another quest of his own.

My wife and I are in battle with his quest,

Trying to help him defeat his imaginary realm of knighthood.

6 AM, we finally are all asleep.

I wake at the alarm clock blaring in my ear.

It’s time for school.

I roll out of bed, feeling as if a Mac truck hit me while I was sleeping.

Maybe it did.

The kids are ready and drop them off at school,

Lunch money in hand, and tiredness on their faces.

They, too, fought the imaginary battle of my son’s quests.

I come back home, and find it’s time for Dad’s heart surgery.

I wait anxiously for news,

Still tired, still feeling the pain of that damned Mac truck,

I fall asleep.

I wake to a call.

“He’s out of surgery, and the doctor says he’s fine,

It’s a 95% expectancy of no more PSVT attacks,

No more risk of a stroke once a week when he has them.”

It’s a Good Day.

Killing the Addiction – Horror Style

The constant sound of dripping woke him from his dreamless sleep. His eyes had a hard time adjusting to the small amount of light in the room. It was as if he was in a room of crimson red curtains, and the ceiling dripped its red paint onto the floor.

When he fully awakened, the smell of copper hit him full force nearly gagging him. He looked around trying to find something that would jog his memory as to where he was. It wasn’t the first time he had woken up with no idea where he was or how he got there, and this would be an item on his long list of ‘things not to do again’ that he never looked at.

He slid his body to the edge of the wall mounted metal bed and put his feet on the floor. The floor was sticky and semi-wet. Where are my shoes? he thought to himself as he raised his foot away from the floor.

He looked down at his foot and saw the crimson paint dripping from it back to the floor from which it came. He wiped part of the crimson away from his foot and wiped it on his pants. He looked back at his hand and brought it closer to his face. The smell of copper was originating from the paint itself.

Some of the crimson got on his lips when he smelled the paint, and instinct kicked in by licking it. The taste woke him up full force. It was not paint that he tasted, it was blood.

His heart began to race as he tried to remember what happened the night before. The last thing he remembered was popping the last of his xannies and drinking a fifth of Jack. Someone was with him last night though.

It was as if there was a shadow in the back of his mind that wouldn’t step into the light. If he remembered who it was, then he could call them and ask them what was going on. He was scared to call the cops, there was something urging him not to do so, but he couldn’t tell what.

His eyes, finally adjusted, could see dim light filter through a small window. He stood up and walked to the window, his feet making suction sounds as he walked through the sticky wetness. He looked out the window to see a concrete wall, painted a bright yellow with a lamp hanging over it. He stepped away from the window to see what else was in the room with him.

He looked to find a door or another window, but found nothing of the sort. As he started to panic, he noticed something under the bed he was lying on. The bed itself was suspended in the air by wires on each side, with one of the edges bolted to the wall. Under the bed was something that he couldn’t make out. He almost made it to the bed before his foot slipped and he fell into the sticky blood. A small light was under the bed, but covered by the shadowy item.

As he grabbed the item, he felt something solid under the softness of what felt like cloth. He pulled out the cloth and whatever else was there, and screamed. The head of someone came with the clothing, eyes unfocused and staring at him. The face of his pills dealer was pale, void of blood and meaning. The night’s memories came back to him as quickly as the head fell back.

He left his house to get more pills from his dealer. He had 20 bucks which meant he couldn’t buy the good shit this time. As he walked to the dealer’s house, someone pulled up beside him in a nice luxury car.

“You heading to the pill head?” a voice asked him as he continued walking.

“Mind your own business dick.”

“If you are, I’ve got a hundred dollars for you if you can get him to come outside so I can talk to him. I need some too.”

A wad of green flew out of the window without seeing the hand that threw it.

I unfolded the wad and found a crumpled hundred-dollar bill. “And all I have to do is have him come outside to see you?”

“That’s all you have to do.”

I nodded as we approached the dealer’s house and walked up the stairs. I knocked on the door, using the coded knock he taught me so long ago, and he opened it. “Hey man, I need some xannies. I got a buck twenty…that’ll get me a couple dozen, right?”

The man nodded and looked behind me at the waiting car. “Oh yeah, and some guy wants to talk to you. He needs some too. He gave me that buck to tell you to talk to him.”

The dealer looked up and down the deserted street and shrugged. He walked down the stairs after handing me a baggie of pills. I counted them out as he bent down to talk to the man in the car. 26 pills…that’ll get be through tomorrow for sure. I won’t need them after tomorrow. I’m quitting the pills.

The dealer walked back toward me and smiled at me. “Hey this guy wants to give us a thousand a piece if we help him play a prank on his buddy at a warehouse in the industrial park. You in?”

My mind immediately started calculating how many xannie bars that could buy. “Done.”

We both climbed in the man’s car and found ourselves surprised when we saw we were alone. The doors locked as we pulled away from the curb.

“Good evening gentleman.” a voice said through the speakers in the car. “I want to play a little game. For this game, I have to give you both a taste of your own medicine.” The back of the car smelled like chemicals before the voice spoke again. “What you are breathing in is a psychotic. It seems you both are quite fond of antidepressants and antipsychotics, so let’s see what happens when you take the reverse. It’s quite a fun game, and I hope it plays out the way I would like it too.”

I looked over at the dealer as he fell toward the door in a limp slump. “You should both be passing out any time. We’ll talk again soon.”

I had passed out before I knew it and I woke up in a room with no door and only a small window with a bright yellow painting. There was a loud chug-chug-chug in the room and when my eyes finally adjusted I could see the limp form of someone in the corner. They, too, soon woke up. When they raised out of the corner, I could see they had a knife and was heading towards me. I ran around the room before I tripped over the thing that made the chugging noise. It was a chain saw. The man was still chasing after me with the knife in his hand. He slashed at me as I picked up the chain saw.

He cut into my arm before I pulled the trigger to spin the sharp chain. The man screamed as the chain bit through his chest. The chainsaw ripped through the other side near his arm and started digging into it too. Blood sprayed everywhere and yet the man was still slashing at me with his knife.

I kept bring the chainsaw back to the body over and over before I let go in horror. The chainsaw fell to the floor with a thud, killing its chugging.

The voice spoke up again, “You kept saying you wanted to quit taking pills from this guy…and now you will. Congratulations, you won the game. Your prize will come soon enough.”

I crawled to the bed and curled up into a ball, crying myself to sleep before waking up without the memory.

Coming up with a title

Usually I don’t post about my books until it’s time to start marketing it, but alas I’ve come upon a stumbling block. My next book’s title. Here lies the issue; originally I was going to call it Brother’s by Flesh…however due to some unseen circumstances, the characters decided to take a few extra stops along the way!

Now I’m stuck. Because the character’s changed their minds, and someone surprised them into changing their companionship the title no longer fits. The title’s I’ve come up with so far haven’t awestruck me either.

Here’s my options:

1. Come up with a title after the book is written completely.

2. Come up with a title while writing

I just don’t remember the first title being this hard!

Sorry, just wanted to rant a little bit, and get out some of my frustration. Have a good day everyone =)

The Storm’s Memory

It is the 7th day into our voyage across this unnamed sea. The storm clouds are above us, threatening to come down at any moment. The captain is yelling orders as the West winds start to pick up, telling his crew to take down the sails. Being the only non-crew member on the ship, I have not a hint of an idea why they are pulling down the sails.

One would think the faster winds would push our sails harder, making us go faster than normal, but alas I’m not a sailor. I am but a journal keep, paid by the Queen to take note of the voyage. There has been nothing to note so far in the village except the sickness of my stomach and the waves that worsened it.

This was my first time on a large boat, as a child a storm knocked me out of a row-boat and cast me against some of the shore rocks near my childhood home. I laid upon the beach throughout the storm with my battered body, barely conscious waiting for someone to come gather my body and take me to warmth.

My savior was a seal, which were quite uncommon to see around this area. He laid beside me, giving me warmth as his loud bark went on through several awakenings of my constant passing out. My brother came out to see the seal and ran back inside to gather his spear and knife.

I had not the voice to tell him to leave the seal be, that had he not barked and laid beside me, I would have already passed. My brother came quickly across the shore, the rain pelting making the sand soft and the seal slick.

As my brother reared back the spear to throw, the seal quieted and laid completely still beside me. A new strength came to me to me then, and I was able to lift an arm. I wrapped my arm around the seal’s body allowing the bracelet my brother had made for me show against the dark skin.

It was a long wagon ride to my house, though it was only three hundred paces from where I laid. I hurt everywhere and the seal watched as my brother and my father loaded me into the wagon, strapped down for my protection.

I never saw that seal again, but every time it storms I still think about that day, and how a simple-minded animal had saved my life without any regards to his own. As the rain started to come down, the thunder cracking in the distance, a loud barking came from across the hull. I stood, my sea legs weak, and walked slowly to the edge of the ship.

My savior barked at me, waving a fin at me before diving underwater. This was a story that I will write to the queen, even if she doesn’t believe me.

Should have read the fine print…

“I can’t believe I won!” the man said looking at his lottery ticket.

“Bullshit Frank. Let me see that,” a co-worker said as he tried to snatch the lottery ticket from Frank.

Frank stepped back involuntarily as his friend tried to snatch the ticket. Instinctively Frank pulled the $500 million dollar lottery ticket to his heart. In the back of his mind, he knew he looked like Smeagol from Lord of the Rings but he felt protectant over the ticket.

Looking back at the ticket, he thought about the night before when a stranger approached him at the bar. Frank had just received the news that the melanoma that had intruded his skin turned terminal. The doctors gave him only a few short months to live.

Frank had been going through Chemotherapy and radiation for years. They had thought it was under control until the week prior he started feeling worse than the usual chemo-sickness he encountered. When they did a PET scan they found that it had reached stage 4 and was moving quickly into the unknown status of cancer.

Frank had always lived alone. His wife of 12 years left him while he was at work leaving behind divorce papers and a note stating that she was young enough to have children, and she wanted one so badly that she she would go elsewhere to get it. She didn’t want to defile the marriage and asked for his signature to set her free to be happy.

He signed it with tears in her eyes. He had always told her he would support her in anything that would make her happy. She left everything but her clothes in the house, and Frank was reminded of her in every room. He quickly sold every piece of furniture, ripped out the carpets, repainted and put down hardwood in hopes his mind wouldn’t focus on the, now non-existant, reminders.

The stranger that approached him the night before slid a lottery ticket toward Frank, who had just downed his 5th mug of beer. The bartender had already heard about Frank’s sad news and knew the man only had a few months ahead of him. Frank looked at the lottery ticket and picked it up. The stranger smiled at Frank with his too white teeth and patted him on the back.

“That, my friend, is tomorrow’s winning lottery ticket. If you agree to my terms it is yours to have.” the stranger said in a deep yet soothing voice.

Frank looked back at the blurring stranger and laughed. “There’s no way to tell if that’s the winning lottery ticket but what the hell. I’ll listen to your terms.”

The stranger laughed melodically. “You have me there friend. Let’s do this. If you agree to my terms and take the ticket and you DON’T win, I’ll give you $1 million dollars in cash. I have a contract right here that is already signed by me along with all of my contact information.”

The stranger pulled out a single sheet of paper with the written agreement. The typed paper was blurry and Frank couldn’t make out any of the details. He looked up at the bartender for an answer but he just shrugged.

“Deal!” Frank said as he searched himself for a pen.

The stranger held out a weird looking pen. Once Frank touched it, the contract filled out his signature, contact information, and any other details it asked for, as if it were magic.

“The deal is done, let it not be undone,” the stranger said before he put his pen back in his inside jacket pocket and left. The contract was sitting infront of Frank along with the ticket.

Frank walked to his new supervisor, who had proven to be a backstabbing asshole, and flung his badge at him yelling, “I QUIT”

The man opened his mouth in shock as Frank walked out of the factory and into his old beat up Ford truck. Frank felt so excited that he knew he wouldn’t be able to sleep. Instead of going home, he drove the 150 miles to the lottery headquarters to be able to cash in his winning ticket. As he pulled into the parking space, the sun was just reaching over the horizon. He had never been as excited as now that he worked a shift where he could see the sunrise.

As Frank waited for the employees to start coming in, he drifted off to sleep. What seemed like a few seconds later, someone tapped on his window. With groggy eyes he looked at the stranger from the night before.

Frank excitedly rolled down his window to talk to the stranger.

“You were right! The ticket was a winner! $500 million dollars!”

The stranger nodded while smiling. “Now, for the repayment. I need your soul.”

The stranger unlocked the door and pulled Frank out of the truck. Frank let go of the winning ticket to fight off the stranger. Frank tried to kick the man between the legs but the stranger just smiled, “You have to be alive to feel pain Frank.”

The smile the stranger wore turned into a menacing grin. The ground opened up beneath them as Frank and the stranger fell into hell. Frank’s last view was the ground filling back in and his last thoughts were of the contract he didn’t read.

Short Story: Just Keep Moving

It was 3 AM when I received the phone call. The phone call that changed my life forever. I picked up the receiver.

“Do you know what time it is?” I said as I stretched my arm out to bring the clock closer.

Silence reined on the other side of the conversation. “It’s 3 AM…what the hell do you want?”

“Just keep moving,” a modulated voice said.

“Who is this?” I asked the receiver, but the line had already went dead.

Damn kids making prank calls again, I thought to myself. I rolled over with the phone still in my hand and went back to sleep.

The alarm clock woke me up two hours later. I could help but wake up seething. The damned kids calling me every week for shits and giggles had to stop. I didn’t serve 14 years in the service to be treated like a punk, and I’m sure in the hell not gonna take this shit from some kids.

I picked the phone up and dialed 69 (the code to call back the person who last called you). I smiled as I tapped the “Talk” button. *I’ll get you little bastards.

“I’m sorry but the number you have dialed is no longer in service. Announcement 1…3….1…”

I hung up the phone. Somehow the kids blocked the number…they’ll screw up one day and when they do I’ll get them for sure.

I flipped on the TV to distract me from the phone call. What I saw made me more scared than any time in the service.

This just in…Government officials are saying the biggest hack in history was done last night, releasing every agency’s list of service men and women across the country along with their ran, battle history, and last known address. The government is asking for anyone with any information to call them at…

“Fuck…”

I jumped off the bed as someone knocked on the door. I ran over to the gun cabinet and swung it open. With no kids around, I rarely locked it up, and had no trigger locks on any of the 4 shotguns and rifles.

I picked up the sawed-off shotgun and yelled out, “One second!”

As I started walking to the door, an envelope slid under it. There was one last knock before I heard heavy footsteps running down the hall.

I continued to walk cautiously toward the door. I looked down and the envelope read my name. I opened the door with the nose of the shotgun toward the middle of the door. The hallway was nearly empty. The only thing left was the puddle of water that was soaking into the floor.

I looked at the puddle and then back at the envelope. The envelope was soaking up the water faster than the carpet.

“Oh shit!”

I ran to the bathroom and closed the door just as the envelope exploded.

Ammonium nitrate, table salt, and zinc powder…the three things to act as an intense flame is all that is needed to trigger a small amount of explosive residue.

The flame died down within a few minutes and I was able to re-enter the smoke filled room. Just as the sprinklers in the motel kicked on. I grabbed my bug out bag and took off out the door and into the hallway.

I’ve got to keep moving.

Picture Prompt: Ruins

When I was a sappling, there were people living here. People who would admire the beauty of my kin around them, with the sun littering between our leaves. There was a man in particular who came to watch me grow. I do not recall his name, as it’s been over a century, but he sang to us. The songs of our mothers, he called it. Everything was so serene here until the battle waged.

Instead of protecting the castle with my branches from the sun and rain, I was cut down and used in effort to destroy it. Destroy the man’s home that took care of me and my kin. They cut me down and used my thick trunk to crash through the front doors.

After they damaged the doors, through they went. I still remember the screams that night. The screams of the man and his wife. What became of the child they had just borne I do not know.

The murderous men took arm loads of the singing man’s treasure and set it on their cart. I laid on the ground, wishing I could swing my branches at them, but they had cut them all off.

So now I lay here in my last days of rotting. The tiny infiltrators crawling in my trunk, waging their way to my core. I hear them chewing their way through. Almost as if they were like the men, trying to get into the doors.

They are through now. I can see them with their hungry eyes.

Take me, I think to myself. Take me like those men took my friend. I deserve it.

The rotting wood split apart at last, the thick trunk lined with termite tunnels. The wind stroked the dying tree, almost as a sigh of relief. After years of torment from knowing he had helped kill his friends, he is at rest.

The Worst Time of my Life

It was October 8, 2010. Nearing the peak of 3 AM my wife is finally in active labor. The doctor was at the end of the bed waiting for our son to make his appearance. The epidural had long went silent and my wife was in pain. She pushed as hard as she could when she felt a large contraction. Ultimately it became fruitful and our son entered our world.

He was covered in a white film with little blood covering his naked body. The doctor joked when I mentioned the size of my son’s package saying, “Dad, it’s not genetic.” The doctor tickled my son’s feet in efforts to make him cry out, but nothing came. They immediately took him to the warming table and rubbed my son’s body with a warmed towel to try and wake him up. His skin was still pale as they wiped away the film that covered him. He had his eyes shut and was barely breathing. I looked back at my wife as she was trying to dodge the nurses that surrounded our son with her field of vision. I smiled at her, trying to give her faith that everything would be okay.

A moment later, they told us that he needed oxygen and they rushed him to the nursery. He was born at our local hospital, and they didn’t have a neonatal intensive care unit. They only had a nursery where all babies went when the mother requested it. There was no request for him to be taken away. I looked back at my wife and looked toward the door where they took away our son. I was stuck, not knowing whether to comfort my wife or go with my son. We had two children in the waiting room, wanting to see their little brother.

The doctor was focused on my wife as she told me she was okay and to go find out what I could from the nurses. Hyaline Membrane disease is what they called it. James’ lungs were affected and the little hairs that help push out liquids during aspiration fail to do their job. They are slicked down like glass allowing anything to enter. His lungs were sticking together because of this and he was put on a CPAP machine to help keep his lungs inflated.

I was devastated that something like this could happen to my son. The doctor told us that being 4 weeks early wasn’t a big deal because the latest ultrasound showed his lungs to be perfectly healthy. Unfortunately ultrasounds cannot show hyaline membrane disease. My wife was bed ridden for most of his stay in the nursery. The day she was allowed to go back was a day and a half later. We knew he would have an extended stay, and they were letting us know what was going to happen. More family came, and I felt obligated to allow them to see James. The prognosis was good and they expected him to be out of the nursery in 7 days. However, we still couldn’t hold him.

It was while I was letting our family see him that the worst few minutes of my life happened. My wife’s aunt came running out of the nursery and into the waiting room where I was talking to other family. “Something happened. You need to get back there now. He’s not breathing.”

Everything stopped in the world at that moment. I ran through the closing nursery hallway doors while bumping into one of them. I staggered towards the nursery windows to see all the blinds shut tight. They were always open, but now they were not. A woman had just left the nursery and the door slammed shut behind her. I was locked out. The only way in was for someone to let me in and the nurses weren’t opening the door. I ran to the desk and found no one there to let me back to see him. I could hear the faint solid beep of a heart monitor in a flat line. My heart deflated.

I ran back to the nursery door and pounded on it as hard as I could. A man opened the door a sliver but not enough to see his face. “Is that baby yours?” he asked me. I nodded with tears running down my face. My baby was dying and I couldn’t see him. The man opened the door wide and I could see tears on his face too. Several nurses were lined around my son’s bed. His oxygen tubes and hat was dangling off his makeshift bed. They were working on him as I approached, my wife crying by herself with no one there to comfort her.

I wrapped my arms around her as the nurses did their jobs to try and bring him back. My wife explained to me that they were checking his vitals and the monitor showed nothing wrong. It was at the exact moment a nurse was checking his lungs with a stethoscope that she found no heartbeat. We later found that heart monitors are actually several seconds behind, especially for infant monitoring. The nurse felt my son’s lung collapse as the pressure from the CPAP caused a pneumothorax (a whole in his lung).

They inflated his lung back by giving him a chest tube and started working back on his heart. He came back to us. He was only without oxygen for a couple of minutes yet it felt like hours. They called for a life line to a hospital that specialized in infants, Riley Children’s Hospital. They couldn’t helicopter him in, so we had to wait for a life-line ambulance to come stocked ready for a portable neonatal unit.

As they wrapped my son up as best they could to a gurney, we were told by one of the life-line nurses the list of things that could happen. We had to agree to them before they could take him, and one that stood out the most was possible death. My son had already defeated death once with the help of a special nurse who God placed there at the right time. We agreed and they rushed him off.

I was planning on leaving my wife at the hospital because she had not been released yet, but her doctor was there that night and released her so we could both be with our son. We left it to our family to figure out sleeping arrangements for our daughters as we packed and left to take the 45 mile trip to see our son again. The ambulance beat us by about 20 minutes, but we rushed up to the NICU as fast as we could. My wife was still in pain from laboring our son, but she kept the pace up.

We waited for hours for him to become stable. It was nearly midnight and almost everyone was asleep in the NICU waiting room. People lived in the waiting room. We saw suitcases, blankets, pillows, and people strung all over it. It was our new home for several weeks while our son fought his way back to being healthy.

It took James 3 weeks to be healthy enough to come home. He went from being in the worst possible scenario at Riley (The ECMO station where they run a full heart and lung bypass) to being ready to come home in 3 long exhausting weeks. They were unsure of the outcome when he arrived, but they were the nurses there were by far the best we’ve ever met. They took care of James like he was their only child there.

After a week and a half there, he was running out of blood for tests. Little did we know, babies cannot produce their own blood supply until they are a few months old! The blood transfusion they gave him was the work of God. One day after the transfusion and they were able to lower his breathing tube to a lower rate. Three days later, he was off the breathing tube. A week later, he was able to be fed for the first time by feed tube. A week and a half later, he was in his car seat test, ready to come home.

James is now 2 years old and is a very rambunctious child. He has PDD-NOS, Auditory Neuropathy, SPD, Chiari Malformation, and general muscle weakness in his core, however he is perfect in our eyes. Never would we have imagined going through everything we have but looking back now, I wouldn’t trade ANY of it for another child.

The Journal

Dear Journal,

For the past 21 years I’ve taken the bus to visit my wife at Garland Cemetery. With no friends, no family, and nothing but time, I would spend the day there and talk to her like she was sitting beside me.

We were married for 36 years before the cancer finally won. She fought so hard, sitting here writing this is tearing me up but I feel that my end is nigh, I plan on leaving this journal, the same journal that I’ve been writing in since before Mary passed on, on the bus bench in hopes that Jonathan will read it and understand how much he meant to me.

I met Jonathan last September at the bus stop. He was a young, witty, handsome man who joked with me every day. We would talk like we knew each other for years until his stop. He would always smile and wave as the bus moved on, leaving him to his day at work.

Call me feeble if you’d like, Journal, but I feel that someone should carry on my memories and being that Jonathan is the closest thing to family I have left I feel he should be the one to hold my memories close.

The first time I met Mary, she was only 16 years old. She was, what some would call, a farmer’s girl. She lived on a farm and only came to school when during the winter when there were no crops to tend to. The next spring I visited her father’s farm and asked if I could lend a hand. He offered me a dollar a week for helping in the fields.

She would bring me lemonade during the hottest hours in the summer. She wouldn’t talk to me, but she would always smile while she handed me the glass. After two summers of working there, I had enough courage to ask her father if he would allow me to court his daughter.

I still remember the words he said to me, “Son, you have become a man in the last two years. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. There is nothing better than a man who is willing to slave in a field just for a glimpse of a farmer’s daughter. I’ve seen how you look at her, and you’ve got my permission.”

I had never had a happier moment in my life until that day. I went back to the fields and when it was time for the ritualistic lemonade, I made my move.

6 months later we were engaged to be married, and another 3 months after that we were wed. Happiness followed us wherever we went until her father passed away of a heat stroke a few years later. We felt obligated to take over his farm and work it like he had for so many years, but the depression took it’s hold on the farm and it dwindled down to nothing.

The bank came and took the farm from us and we were homeless. That didn’t halt our love for each other. We took what little we had and moved to the city. It was always our dream to live in the city, find a good job, and her raise as many kids as we could find time for.

So there we were, 5 years later and I worked as a laborer for a metal factory making minimum wage, and she made candles and sold them at local farmer’s markets.

I worked my way up to supervisor in a few short years and we were finally able to purchase a little house on the outskirts of town. We still couldn’t afford a car, but Mary always said, “We can afford shoes, and we will use them as much as we can to get our money’s worth from them!”

It was a 10 mile walk to the Farmer’s Market, which she would walk every Saturday while I worked over time at the factory. One Saturday she came to me and placed a hand on her stomach.

She smiled and said, “I’m not going to be able to make it to the Farmer’s Market for at least a year.”

I was elated at our first pregnancy. I called into work, the first time in nearly 4 years. We danced to no music in the living room. The happiness didn’t last long though. A month later we rushed to the hospital and found that she had miscarried.

After several other miscarries, she didn’t even tell me she was pregnant until the first month was over. I would always find her crying, after she miscarried, at her vanity table when I came home from work.

We saved up enough money to go to a specialist and get testing done to find out what was going on. I prayed the issue was with me and my ‘little swimmers’, but when the results came back that she could never carry a child to full term our hearts melted.

That next year was one of the worst days we ever had in our marriage. Mary blamed herself and told me to move on and find a woman who could bare my offspring.

I would always respond with, “I would rather have you with no children than different woman that could have children. You are my everything, Mary. Without you I am not a man, I am just a boy lost in this world.”

She would just smile, wipe away her tears, and talk about how much of a mess she is. After a year or so she started brightening up and talked about adoption. We were already in our late 40s at that time but I was as excited as she was about it. About that time is when Mary was having major stomach pains. She thought it was menopause and shrugged it off until one day when I came home from work I saw her doubled over in bed.

I picked her up and took her to the hospital. After several hours of tests, x-rays, and who knows what else they determined she had stage 4 liver cancer. They started radiation the same night and she fought that cancer for years until her body finally gave out.

Well Journal, and Jonathan, that’s my life in just a few short pages. A lot of ups, and a few downs, but my life was my wife and I wanted her to be remembered as well as me. Jonathan, if you’re reading this please remember me in ways that we talked at the bus stop. I would have loved to see you grow up and become the man you always talked about becoming but I’m not going to fight like Mary did. There is nothing else to fight for in this world, and I am ready to just lie down and take it the way I want it dealt.

I’m bringing my gun with me today. The doctors told me I only have a few weeks left anyway. I am terminal. The factory that I worked for many years in was filled with lead and my body is withering away from the poison that is slowly leaking into my blood.

I pray every day for you Jonathan, and if the good Lord is willing, he’ll answer those prayers and you’ll get everything you wish for in life. Be strong, be loving, and be you.


I closed the journal with tears streaking down my old face. The old man’s memories still fresh in my mind. When he didn’t come to the bus stop, I called into work to search for him. I knew he visited his wife every day at the same time. I’d started feeling that he was more of a father to me than my own. The way we talked and laughed was unlike anything I had with my real father.

I called a taxi instead of riding the bus to the cemetery in hopes to beat him to it. When I arrived, I saw the old man laying next to his wife’s headstone. The gun still in his hand. I rushed to him and turned him over. He was breathing and there was no blood to be found.

“I couldn’t do it…Mary wouldn’t want me to,” he said before he closed his eyes for the last time. I called 911 and found he had died from lead poisoning.