Prompt for July 12, 2016

Complete the short story/flash fiction, that has the following opening:

When John was born I experienced unconditional love. No matter how he came out I knew that I would love and when he did arrive, at two AM in the morning, I experienced that feeling. If you’re a parent you’ve had that feeling. You know the one I’m talking about, where the air just leaves your chest and you’re gasping for breath wondering how on earth that tiny baby had been growing inside you.

Wondering how anything so beautiful, so precious, could ever have been created.
And as your child grows they bring you joy and sorrow. There’s always sorrow, even if your child is perfect because you realize that at some point they are going to grow older. Grow older and leave. You can’t stop them, you won’t stop them. It’s nature. It’s what you’ve been grooming them for all of their lives: leaving home.

And you sit alone and you cry. Oh, the tears are happy tears, happy in that they’ve successfully left home and that the major part of your job as their parent is done. But there is some part of you, some part deep inside that didn’t want them to go, that wanted to hold them, protect them and never let anything happen to them.
But you smile and carry on as if this is what you want as if any empty home is something to be desired.

But this, this is never supposed to happen, this is never supposed to be what you look forward to as a parent. I’m holding him in my arms again, feeling John, but not feeling the man inside the body. The doctor said the gunshot to his head pushed him into a coma. The body is alive, but the person is gone.

I’ve lost my son.

I cared for him, fed him, changed his diaper and hoped that he would one day have a good life with children of his own. But I’m not sure that I can handle the pain I’m feeling, the absolute devastation over two seconds of violence that eliminate twenty-three years of his life. Twenty-three years of my life.
I lay his head back down on the pillow, smoothing his hair out. He never liked having messy hair. I put my hand on his forehead like I used to do when he was younger and I was checking to see if he had a temperature. Normal, if normal meant being shot in the head during a riot and having every last vestige of humanity ripped from your body. If normal meant requiring machines to breathe but having just enough brain activity for doctors to be confused about whether or not he was alive.

I straighten up from his bedside. There’s no need to wipe the tears away, I’m not sure that I will ever have any more tears. But, for him, I have a renewed sense of justice, a renewed sense to right the wrongs of the world and make them pay, whoever “they” are.

As I walk away the heels from my shoes make a sharp sound on the tile of the floor. Almost as if each step was a gunshot into the heart of madness.

How apropos.

Post a link to the story in the comments.


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