Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2020/06/14 (Week 161)

Bobby was never the romantic, emotional type. That’s why I hauled him to the old house I planned to buy, and renovate. I knew he’d hate it. Knew he’d have nothing good to say about it.

Sure enough, he didn’t. “This place is in the middle of nowhere. You’ll have to pack an ice chest in the car to make a grocery run. Jesus, why would you do that?”

On the front porch, he’d stopped, and looked around, “And, you have allergies.” He waved his arm at the gorgeous trees all around, “You’re allergic to half of these you know!” We’d walked the length of the porch, and he’d commented on every board that made noise, “House has its own choir. At least no one would be able to rob you. The noise would wake you up.”

The downstairs walk-through had gone as well, filled with endless comments. “That staircase is a death trap. Look at that. Like it was made when Queen Cleopatra was around.” Followed by, “And the porch isn’t all that sings,” as we walked down the hallway to the Living Room. “And where would you put a big flat screen in this tiny space? This is no place to watch movies, or listen to music, and relax,” summed up his view of the Living Room.

The Dining Room drew more words from his brain cells, “What? They held banquets for the whole church in here? Listen!” He screamed, “It echoes!”

I didn’t feel like setting him off by telling him the wiring and plumbing were beyond repair, and I’d have to replace them. There was no point. I knew he’d simply spew more words into the air.

The kitchen got one word. “No.” He couldn’t even describe it, until we headed back toward the stairs, “That room is all wrong. No place for anything. No room for a dishwasher. No room for a microwave. Itty bitty counter space. No place to store anything. Only what, four cabinet doors in the entire kitchen?”

On the way up the stairs, he threatened to sue me if the stairs collapsed. “You’re risking my life, here!”

The upstairs went the same way the downstairs had. An endless stream of negative thoughts from him. An endless stream of all the things I already knew.

Especially when we reached the full sized bathroom. The toilet and tub were long gone. So were any visible pipes, having been stripped and likely sold as scrap metal. Copper pipes did have a good price on them, after all.

“Would you look at that window!” He had to know I’d already looked. “One big honking window! And it’s round! You can’t put a curtain on that, you know!” What was left of the bathroom sink hung off the wall right under that window. “And that’s where they put the sink? You can’t use a mirror that way!” He looked out that window, “And the whole world can see right in, and see whoever’s in here walking around naked! That’s such a great plan!”

I don’t know how, but somehow, I didn’t laugh as he rambled on about everything that was wrong.

Eventually, I’d seen enough of my future home, and wandered back to the car, with Bobby tagging along.

Never will forget what happened on that drive home. Took a few minutes, but Bobby finally stopped talking about the house, and got quiet. He didn’t say anything for a while, just stared out the window, and watched the trees go by. Until. Out of nowhere. “It’s the perfect house for you, isn’t it?”

I nodded. “I love it.”

“Let me know how I can help with the fix up, OK?”


“And, one more thing.”


“Thanks for bringing me along. Thanks for trusting me that much.”

I knew all along he’d understand. That’s why I’d wanted him to see the place.

646 words

Written in response to the prompt for week 161 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. You can learn about Miranda’s challenge here. The stories people share for the weekly challenge are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed. Please go read them all.


Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2017/06/11

“Tell me once more, Olivia. What do you see when you look in the mirror?” I’d asked the question a thousand times, and Olivia always gave me the same answer.

“Not what you want me to see, doc.” She shook her head, and looked into the mirror in the remains of her family home. “Not what you want me to see.”

“I know.” I took a deep breath. This wasn’t about fixing things. Fixing things was easy. No. This was about bringing the dead to life. “So, tell me, please. What do you see?”

Olivia stood from where she sat, legs crossed, on the barren, wooden floor. A floor desperately in need of repair. Cleaning wasn’t enough. The floor needed work. Lots of it. So did the walls, and the brick they were made of. Brick that once hid behind smooth, well kept plaster. She walked to the mirror, cracked and no longer held in its casing. Like the entire home, it was wasting away.

“He’s there, you know.” She pointed at the remains of the mirror. “He’s there. Waiting for me.”

As the house wasted away, so did Olivia. Every since that day, so long ago, when the car came around the corner too fast. Jonathan had been playing, dancing to a sound only he heard. “He told me it was the piano from Beauty and The Beast.” She always cried when she spoke the words. “He moved right in time with it. I could hear the music as he danced.”

She collapsed to her knees, and once more was consumed by tears and grief. “He’s there. I see him dancing in the mirror.”

The car came around the corner too fast. The driver crossed into the other side of the road, aimed straight at an oncoming car.

Olivia stared into the mirror. “It’s there. In the mirror. Over and over again. My boy. Dancing.”

The oncoming car had nowhere to go. The fast car struck it head on. Parts flew in all directions. Glass from windshields, parts of headlights, side view mirrors, plastic and urethane from car bodies. Radiator fluid. All of it. Everywhere.

“He never got to say good-bye.”

All of it. Right next to Jonathan.

“He never got to look at me.”

Some of the parts from the collision had struck the boy. Olivia had seen it all. Seen her son stop dancing, the music of the song stop playing, as Jonathan was yanked in strange directions by the shrapnel from the wreck.

Then, before she could even scream, the momentum of the collision pushed both cars straight into Jonathan. The boy never had a chance.

Olivia stared into the mirror. “He’s there. Waiting.”

I’d been trying to reach her every since. Trying to help her through her grief. Through her sorrow. Not to heal her, for I knew, there are some wounds that never heal. Like the loss of a limb, or the ability to walk, or talk, or hear. Olivia had lost part of herself.

On that day, when those cars collided, and Jonathan died, so did Olivia’s heart. So did her soul. All that was left was an empty shell, slowly decaying, like the house she never left.

And I wondered, as I had every day for three years, if her heart and soul had died, was there any way to bring her back to life?

563 Words

Miranda Kate‘s weekly short fiction challenge is in it’s 14th week. You can read about the challenge here. As I do every week, I wonder where the words I have written came from. How this started as a picture, and a song, and wound up where it did, I may never understand. But, I’m OK with that. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that show up. They are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed.