Monday, October 17, 2005

The Uncontestable NonContest

Here's my entry in Dean's Uncontestable NonContest. I've also reprinted (with permission from the Author below). It won't make any sense unless you understand the Contest Rules (there are blessedly few).

I left her, well, them really, when she was only 12. That's the truth, although I don't admit it out loud. She and her mother just up and left one day – I don't know why. That's what I say when people ask. And technically, it's true. They did do the leaving. But only after I didn't come home for a few days. Maybe it was weeks. I don't remember everything from back then. Most of it is a sweet, amber haze.

I don't blame her mother, really. It was no life. She's better off. I wished they'd left some of my things, though. Some of my memories. All I have is this old photo. Of her. Of happier days. Of a trip I don't really remember. It's funny how a picture can lie. She loved me then. She did. Before she understood what a disappointment and embarrassment I am. Before I left them with no food, no money, while I drank my way to happiness. Oh, pictures lie.

She grew up. Found a man she could depend on. She forgot me. I can't forget her, though. I can't forget the way she looked up at me with childish faith. The way she believed I would take care of her. And later, the distrustful glances. The looks of an innocent betrayed. The unreturned phone calls. The unopened letters, returned. I can't take that back. But I can ease the pain with a nip or two.

She doesn't think I know what she's doing. But I do. She got married. She didn't tell me. I've got a couple of grandkids, too. Never seen them. But I saw her last summer, when I could still travel. Before my liver finally betrayed me. I came to say I was wrong. To tell her I'm sorry I let her down. She doesn't know. I couldn't tell her. To say it means admitting it. I just can't.

She knows. She must know. I hope she knows. She doesn't know. And I can't tell her.


At 11:06 PM, Blogger Diva said...

I loved your take on it. You have a wonderful imagination.

At 11:01 PM, Anonymous Teli said...

Hello novelist trapped inside a project manager's body :) - that was a very creative take! Are you planning to participate in NaNoWriMo this year?

At 3:05 PM, Blogger Steve said...

The Subtitle: "Why she made the right decision"...You answered my question about the same photograph posted on my blog.

Live without regrets!

At 12:34 PM, Blogger Trillian said...

Thanks, Steve.


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