As part of the A to Z Challenge, through the month of April I’ll be posting a story a day based on photographs by Joseph T. Richardson and prompts given to me by blog-friends.
Writing prompt: Clearly, it wasn’t going to happen
Provided by: Anna Tan, friend, fellow writer, and one of the Magnificient Seven of #TeamDamyanti
So many things could have gone wrong with my son.
He could have perished in the womb– not a human yet, just a lump of cells, busy multiplying, abruptly stopped and flushed out.
He could have died with his mother, not taking his first breath as she took her last.
He could have suffered a birth defect, brittle bones, perhaps, and died of a fracture one too many. He could have drowned while I bathed him and rushed midway to the kitchen to rescue dinner from burning, leaving him alone for three crucial minutes.
He could have been strangled in the chokehold of a friend at school, during the break, in rough horseplay. He could have died of heat exhaustion if I forgot him in the car an extra quarter of an hour while I tried to get hold of a stock of nappies on sale. A kidnapper could have nabbed him while I let his hand go for a moment at the fair as I paid for the toy gun he wanted. He could have fallen down a cliff when we went camping, hiking, slipped off a path while walking right behind me, when I wasn’t looking.
But I had allowed none of those things. I paid attention like a good parent should, see. Not for a minute did I lose my focus in all those years, not for a moment. There stood my son, a strapping teen, his muscles strained against the gaping mouth of a Great White at the amusement park.
We had a glass of wine each, later, at lunch. I drank to give him company for his first drink, you understand, on his sixteenth birthday. First time in seventeen years I touched drink, pinky swear, and that was hours ago. I’d never broken the oath before. I felt fine as we drove, the breeze in my hair. We had seat-belts strapped in, just the way I had shown him, tugged one extra time to make sure. My sedan kept to the left, going far below the speed limit. I hadn’t given in when he said, Come on, Dad, none of the boys get driven around by their dads. I did not lose my focus, not once.
Clearly, it wasn’t going to happen, and yet it did. That truck came speeding down at an intersection, out of nowhere. I still didn’t lose my focus, no, not for a moment.
I did all the right things, that’s all I’m saying, you know?
I did all the right things, and yet all I’ve left of him is this photograph, prying open the jaws of death.
Are you taking part in the A to Z challenge? Do you read or write fiction? Ever write based on a prompt? Are you a parent? If you are, what did this story make you think about?
Powerful and moving, it gave me goosebumps.
Wow! Powerful story!
A very moving story so well written. Thank you.
Your story was sorrowfull. I felt the ‘punch’ in my heart. Well done!
Thanks for stopping by and liking my blog! It’s so nice to come in contact with people like you who write from the heart! God bless.
It’s not often one has a really good opportunity to say that a thing is poignant. Thanks for creating one, and for this truly touching piece. 🙂
Excellent, gripping bit of flash fiction. A few things I would change, but not many.
ohh it’s heartbreaking!! Beautifully sad.
Wow. Painful. And beautiful. Just talked to a friend who lost her son, so it touched me even more.
Oh. My. Word.
I love the way you started this one, and the direction you took with this piece.
Really beautiful. Haunting. 🙂
Beautiful haunting story. Thanks for keep dropping by and liking. 🙂
Beautiful… Simply beautiful…
A touching story, and one every mother recognizes. We do what we can, and hope for the best as parents.
I wish this never happens to anyone and only reamins a fiction.
Beautifully put together. Visiting from A-Z:)
As it started, I hated it as a mom, and was sure the writer is unblessed from those maternal feeling. As I read on , it surprised me and yet, the end was even more surprising. Very powerful, I find this one best, effortless, lucid, straight from the heart without any false embellishments. Good work!
Really Beautiful and sad .. I am also participating in A2Z 🙂 my blogs are
Wow, you’re an excellent storyteller. I was riveted, and very surprised at the ending.
That is so sad. I don’t think I would have come up with anything like that from that prompt. Of course, that’s the cool thing about prompts.
This is a powerful story. I love the voice and the way he keeps saying, “I did all the right things.” Great job. I’m A-to-Z ing nonfiction at http://unleashedinoregon.blogspot.com.
I am a part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge.
The pictures are wonderful but the story is very sad.
I wanted the story to continue. Loved it.
It’s beautiful, but so sad… so unfair!
Wow, it felt so real!
Powerful and well written, but very depressing. All it takes is a moment. Been there, done that, though not with a child.
Wow! This is exquisite and painful and beautiful all at once. Thank you.
I found your blog through the A to Z Challenge. I haven’t written to a prompt in some time. Perhaps I’ll try it again when I’ve completed my book. I will definitely return.
Great story but felt bad !
Congo! I have nominated your Blog for ‘Blog of the Year 2013’ award.
hi, I have nominated you for The Liebster Award…
Oh how sad. Actually, when you brought up the wine and not drinking in 17 years, I expected to hear that he’d been the one who’d killed the mother, then sworn off drinking. This is interesting.
That’s beautiful, and so sad….And a great interpretation of the painting!
Sad but true… I love the painting! It’s very startling. :O
O.o…wow…that was an incredibly moving read. My heart aches!
Wow! This blew me away. What a story you painted. I didn’t expect the ending. It was sad, but so powerful.
Nicely done! Short yet gripping. Beautiful.
I knew the son was doomed as the dad kept saying how he hadn’t died. Great photo with the whale. At least he had a first drink.
So into it that I almost missed my stop! Beautifully melancholy.
Poignantly beautiful. The ending crept up on me and left me speechless
Sania @ Fragile Words
That story had some great structure. I am really a fan of how you built up to the ending – almost tore my heart out.
Wow, as a parent this is moving and terrifying at the same time. Nothing worse than losing a child.
Brandon Ax: Writer’s Storm
So sad!!! This was such an emotional write. Life can be really harsh even when you do everything right!
So sad!! Life can be really harsh…even when you do all the right things!
It’s so sad and beautiful at the same time…
Random Thoughts Naba
Wow, what emotion for that piece!
Great post. I enjoy your writing style.
I have a lump in my throat reading this. As a parent, I can identify with the fears of things that might go wrong. So sad.
Another wonderful story, Damyanti! Very touching – the end and the way it has been narrated throughout.
Stunned. A beautiful but sad story. It really makes one think. We do all we can to protect our loved ones and in a heartbeat they can be taken away.
Great prompt for a great story 🙂
My first pop by of this AtoZ and will have to read your A and B now. Beautifully written as usual. Very sad and real. Well done, caught me off guard that it was dad talking.. I keep forgetting we all write male and female characters..
Wow! Great story. Really moved my heart.
That’s so sad.
Oh the ending! Touched!
Superb piece of fiction, and true to life! I know of two cases, neither connected with alcohol, of students dying in road accidents within days of completing their graduation.
Ohmigawsh! He looks just like MY son! Isn’t that wild?!
I love your writing voice. So clear and just like having a chat with you, or how I imagine you would sound if I had a chat with you. Brava!
Julie Jordan Scott
A to Z Challenge Participant/2011,12,13,14…..
The Bold Writer from A to Z
Touching and sad with a marvelous twist at the end.
xxx Massive Hugs xxx
Wow, this was powerful! I’m now feeling really sad…but you know, great job still 🙂
That’s quite a challenge you set yourself. Well done!
I just came home from my driving lesson, reading this made me more scared than ever of what could happen on the road. My hubby and I don’t drink alcohol and hopefully our five children will not even ask for a drink later on. But then again, it will happen. A beautiful written story yet a very sad one. No one should loose a child.
Beautifully written, 🙂
Sudden and tragic! One takes all the precautions but fate can still disrupt the equation. Refreshing narrative Damyanti! Great!
I actually totally forgot this was a story until i got to the dad part! I was like this is so bold to share and, well, kind of demanding for something bad to happen. Anyway loved it! So good. You made my heart ache. Cheers on C.
That gave me spine-chills and believe me I got goosebumps reading this! This is my first blog in the blog hop for C and I am glad that you have written a lovely message in your flash fiction!!
Again, terrific. You write with such feeling.
Oh no! I couldn’t stop reading even though I was certain we were headed for a dreaded, tragic ending. It was the mother dying in childbirth that made me wonder – I wasn’t sure it was Father speaking, but you built very well to your conclusion. Such a sad tale.
Thanks, Sammy. Yes, the Dad comes toward the end, along with the mention of him being a recovered alcoholic.
Yes, I was a little shocked at the teen reference and then the drinking. Such a sad story, Damyanti.
I guess it comes from losing a friend recently, to cancer.
She was so young, and so talented, an award winning, blossoming writer, and one day, bam, gone.
I guess grief will find a way out.
I am so sorry to hear that – for your loss and for her. Death doesn’t seem to make sense so often. I do hope your A to Z writing will bring you a measure of comfort and closeness with her. You honor her by remembering her life.
Wow, I’m speechless. I was also very moved as it raced along to its conclusion. Whether fiction or not this was a powerful story. Thank you.
Garden of Eden Blog
Susan, it is absolutely fiction. I’m not a mom, and I’m definitely not a dad. But I do wonder at the randomness and an often inscrutable malice of destiny/ fate, call it what you will.
I am a Mom and I lost my baby. For real, not fiction. And it wasn’t going to happen. I too did everything right and he died anyway. Your story brought me back to that feeling of helplessness very quickly. That’s what I call effective writing.
I’d like to participate in this challenge.
How do I do that?
Firstly, Shannon, I’m so sorry for your loss, and my apologies if my writing brought you pain. It wasn’t meant to, and I’m not sure what made me write it.
The challenge is now coming to an end, we were supposed to blog 26 days in April. I hope you can join us next year.
Thank you Damyanti. I thought your writing was amazing. To touch a fragment of that sort of experience without having been through it is a real talent. I look forward to the challenge next year.
Great story! Very moving! Well written…you’ve a great way of weaving the story!
Very fatalist story about the pointlessness of all that we do. Nice!
So this is flash fiction!! Well done. I was very moved.
Well, that was a sad ending. ='(
Patricia Lynne, YA Author
Oh I’m miserable. I am so sad. I wish your brain didn’t manufacture fiction like that–what thoughts
Ah, so sad 🙁
(also, yay! My prompt!)
anna @ Deeply Shallow
I’m a parent and this post hurts me. I made me think about life, death, and love. Intense!
But what a write 🙂
That is so sad. So sad he was so careful, and in an instant, things spun out of control.
This was a very nicely written story. Generally my flash fiction is shorter, closer to micro fiction but I have a few longer. However I don’t know if I can come up with one based on a letter. Mine are based on the connection between memory, art, poetry, and the present. Best, Phil.
Great story…you had all the elements in so few words. I like it!
Oh wow! Intense story… Had me tears…
Gripping … rough, but gripping and yes, sad as well. Good story though, well written. Thank you. ~ Michael
Such a powerful story, Damy. It triggers so many emotions and feelings, things we’d like to think would never happen, but sadly sometimes do.
MJ, A to Z Challenge Co-Host
Lots of Crochet Stitches
Great story. Sad. Moving. I felt it.
Omg…that was so intensely filled with love and unexpected emotions. Good job!
Its beautiful and sad. This being the last thing I read before bed, I am going to have very sober dreams. Although this is my first comment I am really enjoying your flash fiction.
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