Wednesday, April 29, 2009
“You,” he hissed at Mickey who was cowering in fear at his feet, “get those ropes!”
Mickey looked up to him, with soulful, teary eyes
“Go on, or I’ll tie you up with your oldies.”
“I can’t reach them, “ the boy was sobbing .
The masked man pointed the gun at Mickey's temple. “Move!”
There were muffled cries at the other end of the room.
Mickey stared at the masked intruder. He had to pretend he was utterly terrified or he and his parents would never see the light again. He had to!
If he could only inch farther into the other side of the bed where the security camera and alarm were, they would have a good chance of catching this thief and prevent future victims from falling prey to his ploy. He had masqueraded as a minister asking for donations! The nerve!
Mickey stood up on wobbly feet and slowly inched forward.
He had played games on his computer where he was the hero, and he felt this was his chance to become a real one. He deliberately tripped himself and wailed painfully as he crashed to the cold floor.
“Get up, you useless moron!” the intruder shouted ominously.
But Mickey refused to move, feigning injury.
The irate man swiftly covered the distance and yanked Mickey to his feet. By then, the boy was an arm’s length from the security alarm. Just as the man was about to smash his head, Mickey deftly pushed the alarm in one smooth movement, and the ringing bell echoed through the neighborhood and at the police station where it was constantly monitored.
“Run Mama, Papa run,” Mickey urged his parents to seek refuge.
The man stood frozen for a moment, undecided on what to do, and Mickey took that chance to kick him hard in the groin. As the man writhed in pain, Mickey pulled the mask off the his grimacing face, the man snarled and cursed under his breath.
The three ran out to freedom!
The sound of the siren was getting nearer, but they kept running. They only stopped when the police car became visible on the road.
Of course, the intruder was no longer found inside the house. People thought, he would never be caught. But because of Mickey’s smart moves, they were able to identify and catch the thief within an hour after the incident.
The security camera had a good picture of the thief’s face! Thanks to brave Mickey!
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Zorlone – “Falling in line” - With the different kinds of people falling in line, there are other sub-events that transpire while we wait for our turn.
Zorlone – “Freedom once again” - Initially consisting only four stanzas, this poem is about a little bird looking for freedom. The fifth stanza was added a few days after it was published. "There are different forms of freedom. Sometimes, the unexpected is what we are looking for."
Roy – “Candlelight” - Zest for life... how long will it last?
Jennifer M Scott – “fastidous thoughts” - loss of dreams
Izzy Daniels – “Maximizing your Writing Time: Time to Publish” - Getting all your work is important, but what about after you are done? In this post I talk about multiple ways of putting your work out on the web.
Fiction / Short Story
Jena Isle – “Started Small” - A story about the ugly realities of life.
Webbielady – “Their Lip-to-Lips Encounter” - Their meetings are becoming more limited these days but still as passionate as usual... See how he makes her get lost in his warm touches...
It's the first time at WOOF (Writers Offering Our Finest), that a writer garnered the top two ranks. Congratulations to ZORLONE for this unbelievable feat.
And to Roy who's in rank 3, and of course Izzy, Jennifer and Webbielady. Thumbs up for all of us!
Saturday, April 25, 2009
(This story was written in January 2007, a year after the event happened. And it took a barber to remind me about it, which made me write my story… and so it goes…)
It was over a year, January of 2006 actually, I have almost forgotten, until somebody reminded me about it.
Last week while I was having my haircut, the barber who hardly knew me asked, “Sir, di po ba kayo yung nanalo sa Eat Bulaga dati?” (Sir, weren’t you the one who won in Eat Bulaga?) I was surprised because, more than a year has passed. It was then that it occurred to me that I haven’t written about it yet.
Yes, I won in an Eat Bulaga contest, a popular noontime show here in the Philippines. And I was on television last year. There are lots of stories – before, during and after I claimed the price. Now before you think otherwise, I didn’t dance in Eat Bulaga nor did I join the Mr. Pogi contest.
I won in the home partner portion for their game Laban or Bawi, which was the Let’s Vault In. I have been joining the contest since it started. Because I was jobless I was able to watch almost all shows on TV then - Eat Bulaga included. But after some months of texting, I quit joining thinking that there was no way I could win there.
But on that fateful day of January, I was again in front of the TV watching Laban o Bawi on Eat Bulaga. While watching, I noticed my cell phone lying in front of me. I picked it up and started composing the format for the text contest – the numbers of the first and last contestants who answered the questions correctly.
I already have the first number typed in, the contest was still in progress. Until finally, only two contestants were left. I just typed in the number of one of them and sent the text to the required number. I just sent two text entries.
After that, I went out of the house hoping that I could find some opportunities elsewhere. I left my cell phone at home then.
I came home at around 7 PM, listless and indifferent, when my wife met me and she seemed to be very excited.
She gushed breathless, “Sumali ka ba sa Eat Bulaga?” (Did you join in Eat Bulaga?) I didn’t tell her about the text I had sent because I actually have forgotten about it and I never really expected anything from it.
So I said yes and asked her why.
She recounted excitedly what happened in my absence, “Tumawag ang Eat Bulaga sa cell mo, tinatanong kung sino yung nagtext at kung ano yung combination. Sabi ko, baka husband ko kasi siya yung sumasali. Tinanong sa akin kung alam ko yung combination sabi ko hindi. Tatawag daw ulit sila. Kaso tumawag na ulit sila wala ka pa rin! Bat kasi di mo sinasabi sa akin e?!”
(They called up your cell phone asking who joined the contest and they would like to know about the number combination you texted them. I said you were out, and I didn’t know the combination. They informed me they will call up again and they did, but you were still not here. Why didn’t you tell me?!)
I was dumbfounded! I didn’t know what to say!
An opportunity passed me by and I just let it slipped away!
For the rest of the night, I was quiet; constantly looking at my cell phone every now and then…. waiting… hopefully….
Then at around 9:30 PM, my cell rang, I hurriedly picked it up.
My hands were shaking uncontrollably: “Hello, si Mr. Arnaldo dela Cruz po ba ito?”, “Oo, ito nga. Sino po sila?”, “Sa Eat Bulaga po ito, sumali po ba kayo sa Let’s Vault In?”,”Yes mam! sumali po ako”,”Ano po yung combination na pinadala ninyo?”
(”Hello, is this Arnaldo dela Cruz”, “Yes, who’s this?”, ”We’re from Eat Bulaga, did you join the contest?”, ”Yes mam! I did!””What were the combinations you sent?”)
I told her the combination. “Okay, for verification, ano po yung complete address nila?” (Okay, for verification, what is your complete address?) And my heart was hammering in my chest, as I blurted out our address.
(”Mr. dela Cruz, as of this moment you are not yet a guaranteed winner. Can you be here tomorrow at Broadway Centrum?”, ”Yes mam! I can go there”,”Okay then, be here before 9:30 AM and bring a valid ID with the address you texted us. Then we can confirm if you really won. Just be here early and please don’t wear slippers, you might appear on TV. Okay sir, bye.”)
I was speechless after that, I was looking at my family and I wasn’t saying a word.
They were asking me if it were Eat Bulaga who called. When I was finally able to say ‘Yes’, they all shouted with glee!
I was very thankful because after two calls, they still called me back. They didn’t give the P25,000 to other contestants who also sent text entries… my chance was not forfeited.
I felt tears trying to escape my eyes, as I was silently praying and thanking God. I was jobless then, and I remember telling myself “P25,000, that’s a good 7 to 8 dialysis sessions for my wife.”
It was then that my tears finally managed to escape….
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Roy dela Cruz is a truly amazing and dedicated blogger.
Presently, he has 13 blogs, and these blogs belong to different interesting categories.
He has an inspirational blog, a Kapampangan blog written in the vernacular, a business blog, a blog solely for his departed spouse, a random thoughts blog and the recently added short stories blog.
He doesn't fail to surprise me with the amount of passion he has for blogging.
His 13 blogs are the following:
Be Inspired Now!
Letters To Mama
more than just copy-paste
Roysville dot Com
Short Stories Blog
Subukan Taya Ing Kapampangan!
Sugar Coated World
The House Of Puroy
Do visit them and learn from his various informative posts.
To know more about Roy, click HERE. Thanks Roy for submitting another heartwarming story.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Jena Isle – “Was Love Meant to Last Forever?” - Is there such a thing as eternal love? A story of love's imperfections.
Roy – “Getting back to poetry... my real reflection” - Rediscovering my love for poetry writing...
Izzy Daniels – “Maximizing Your Writing Time: Ideas! I need Ideas!” - Ways to come up with ideas for your writing, and maximizing your outline in order to avoid having to go back.
Poetry / Poetic Fiction
Zorlone – “Ancient Cities” - We are awed by the presence of astounding skyscrapers, sturdy bridges, and majestic monuments. They are in one way or the other influenced by the ancient cities from all over the world.
Deeptesh Sen – “Time Travel” - It's the creation of a surreal city which you can reach through your mirrors by means of time travel.The vehicle for this telepathic transport is a symphony.
Dragon Blogger – “Unlikeable” - A random word poem about a person who is simply unlikeable.
Gabriel Gadfly – “Shelter” - Two creatures cross paths at the junction of life and death.
Zorlone - “A Gentle Touch” - An intimate beauty of lovers sharing their passion for one another.
Brought to you by PlotDog Press with the Serial Suspense Screenplay "Intervention"(WOOF participants should re-post all the links above by next Monday. The following links may be excluded as long as you include all the above links.)
Presenting the finest of the writer’s blogs by the bloggers who write them. Highlighting the top posts as chosen by the April 17, 2009 WOOF Contest participants. Want in to join the next WOOF? The next contest ends April 24. Submit a link to your best writing post of the last 3 weeks using the form on this page. Participants, repost the winning link list within a week and you’re all set.
Other WOOF Contestants for 04/17/09
Jonathan Crossfield - “Finding creative freedom by adding limitations” - Why creative freedom isn't necessarily a good thing. The more constraints we have, the more creative we are forced to become. Supported by some interesting video of Robert McKee.
Writing Nag – “The Chasm Between” - It's very difficult to get on the page what we imagine in our mind. These 15 prompts may help you get started.
Webbielady – “How She Wish She Could Stay” - She wishes to stay with him longer... or even forever. Will she attain this goal? Would her wish be granted?
Non-Fiction, Life Improvement, Spiritual
Amritbir Kaur - “Prayer” - Prayer is not a mere lip service. Do we ever introspect ourselves? Read more...
Poetry / Poetic Fiction
Alex McGaughan – “Found Poem: Spam Villanelle” - This is a bit of found poetry I did using the spam comments from my blog as my source. The form is a traditional Villanelle, with the A-B-A rhyme scheme and repeated lines.
Dragon Blogger - “A Million Followers” - Fun Poem to join the hype to help Ashton Kutcher reach a million followers on twitter, I don't think he read it though.
Jennifer M Scott – “April” - An acrostic poem about April.
Jennifer M Scott – “Haiku Series #17” - Random haikus on different topics.
Jennifer M Scott – “Finding My Reprieve” - A poem written in nonette form about finding one self.
Jennifer M Scott - “Depressed April” - A very short poem about rainy days in April.
Jennifer M Scott – “A Kiss From Apollo” - Dedicated to the god of poetry Apollo.
Dragon Blogger – “Gluttony” - Random word poem consisting of 13 words about someone not caring about their health and eating poorly.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
I commanded my bare feet to keep running.
My footsteps echoed ominously in the deserted, asphalted street. Rivulets of sweat were trickling down my grimy face; down my eyes, marring my vision.
Just one more corner and I'll be safe. Please God, if you're really out there, just this once, help me!
"Over here," an angry voice startled me. I could hear their footsteps closing in, from the distance.
I made one, last turn and there it was - my sanctuary! I lifted the small window, wiggled my way through the small opening, and tumbled unceremoniously down the cold, damp floor below.
My sore muscles groaned as I rolled over to cushion the impact of my fall. I tried to catch my breath as I lay down there winded.
Just then, a voice above me thundered, "Where has he gone?"
"Go on, down the street, he might manage to escape."
There was a shuffle.
"Wait, there's an opened window here..."
I cringed as his voice came from the small opening where I had slipped in minutes ago.
" I can't see a thing, do you have a light?'
"Here,” I heard the second man speak in a guttural voice.
I held my breath and waited for the moment of discovery.
There was a tiny flicker of light above me. My teeth were chattering so badly, I was afraid they could hear it.
"How am I supposed to see with a lighter?' the first man was definitely irked.
"Hey, come on, he couldn't possibly slip in there, it's too dark and high. Can't you hear the rats scampering? He would be screaming in pain and fright right now, if he did."
I kept still with my head resting on the concrete, damp floor. I willed my body to stop trembling. The rats skittered around in confusion, disturbed by my intrusion.
"We have to be sure! These pesky snatchers should be given a lesson."
The man attempted to bring the lighter farther down the window, but it was extinguished before he could do so.
The man cursed and stomped his feet in frustration. "If I see that wee shite - I'm going to waste him."
"I don't think he's down there, c'mon," the younger voice called out.
These men were out to grind me into tiny morsels of useless meat, ready to cook and be gobbled up for their party.
There was a grunt as the second man finally stood up, and I could hear the sound of their running footsteps fading away in the stillness of the night.
I slumped in relief and would have laughed out loud if I had the strength, but I was like a deflated balloon.
I remained supine for a few minutes and basked in the feeling of freedom.
I should thank my "rat friends". They were as unruly as ever. They never bit me though; perhaps they recognized me by my smell. We share the same stink I believe, there was no water to be able to take a daily bath.
But I have an advantage over them; I took long luxurious baths in Armando’s bath tub, whenever I came up with a "find" (our code word for stolen goods), while they wallowed in this dilapidated room, day in and day out.
Armando was our big boss. We all reported to him whenever we had a "find".
"Use your eyes, " he would goad us. "There are many out there. Be sure you won't get caught!"
Sometimes, when one of us got unlucky, Armando would be in the police precinct in a jiffy. They called him "cap" in that police station and saluted him. I wonder why they did as he had never worn a police uniform.
Almost always they released whoever was caught; after Armando had a drinking spree with them.
My friends and I were scared of Armando because he was enormous and had an ugly, angry scar on his right cheek. The oldest of our group was 12, but he never challenged Armando. We all knew he was our savior! He provided us a roof over our heads and food when we didn't have any "find." I was the youngest of the lot at 9 and I was also the skinniest but the most voracious.
I don't know why my small stomach needed so much food, I was always hungry. Whenever I asked an additional piece of bread from Armando he would snap at me; "Sell more plastic bags and get your "find". When you do, you can eat up to your heart's content."
I chose my clients very well. Those overly-dressed people who scorned at me and cursed me; "Get away from me you stinking rat," and I was just asking for some spare change to buy food.
I had sold only five plastic bags today and what I earned, could only buy me a piece of candy. I and my friends would sniff "rugby" to forget our hunger pangs. People used rugby as a glue but we utilized it as a drug. We would pour small portions of it in a plastic bag and inhale it until we felt numb and no longer feel our stomachs growling.
It was during times like these, that mother's memories assailed me: "Always remember the Golden Rule," she had said and although I was skeptical of it, I tried hard to observe this tenet. It was harder to believe in it when mother passed away.
The pain of my loss had grown hazy now, just a dull gnawing stab of nostalgia whenever I recall my moments with her.
Mother died when a speeding truck hit her in the middle of the road. The heartless driver did not even bother to stop. Father died a month later, some helpful neighbors had helped me out with his burial.
The owner of
My neighbors were in the same miserable, indigent state as I was, so there was no help for food and lodging from that corner. Their shanties were not enough to house their own big families - much more to feed them.
So I sold whatever belongings were left and came up with a small amount to buy food for several days until it was gone, pffft...nada… and I was forced to join the street children.
Now my body has grown warmer. I would have to stay for the night here. Those men would still be scouring the streets.
I moved to the farthest corner of the room where I cannot be seen from the window and rested my head on a box.
Slowly I opened my hand to reveal the gleaming bracelet. It was an 18 carat gold! Armando would be proud of me!
Tomorrow, I will have a luxurious, warm bath in his tub and will be clean shaven.
Buying a new pair of slippers is a wonderful idea too, and clothes to match.
I'm certain no one would recognize me in my spanking new haircut, grease-free face, and respectable appearance.
I really look forward to tomorrow!
And by the way, my name is Miguelito!
Photo 1 by René Ehrhardt
This is reposted from an article published last January.
( I am thinking of expanding it to a novelette).
Friday, April 17, 2009
Julia Ward of a Blinding Heart has a recent post of poems from different authors in her blog.
Julia is a great poet herself. She wrote one splendid poem for the post.
I read this from her About me Page and I can't help but post it here:
Biography (By Julia Ward)
"I found myself alone in an Emergency Room last year. I couldn't hear the shouting or even my own breathing as they pulled me onto a gurney with cold white sheets. My heart had been stabbed by a screaming white light that tore through me like a lazer. When my heart stopped, all I wanted was to see the dazzling red dragonfly that sat motionless in the palm of my hand so many summers ago.
I live now with a blinding heart, not sure when the jerky, tortured rythm will stop.
Lightning can not kill me.
My soul has been stripped clean of my former self. My soul drifting like a leaf in a dark stream.
I am no longer able to paint. My music is slow and tortured. I thought I could write, just ask the neighbor's cat.
Perhaps it would be better if you just listened for a while. At least until the storms come and the lightning chases me off the porch."
Other poems are from:
Francis Scudellari, the poet, writer and the quintessential artist has written one superb poem too. He has a main site FrancisScudellari.com , which features all his creative works. It is one awesome site you would not like to miss. Read his interesting short stories and marvel at his brilliant poems and sketches/drawings.
Zorlone - a new, but fast rising poet and writer has also contributed a number of poems. His poems are highly ranked at Helium.com. He also writes for Triond.com and his blog is gaining readers and visitors at a phenomenal speed (19 followers within a span of less than 3 months). This is because his poems speak from the heart and soul.
And of course, yours truly.
Visit Julia's site, and contribute too, to her Poetry Friday.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
“Will you marry me?” he asked breathlessly. Her smile was like the sun breaking through the darkened sky.
“Yes,“ she said, and their hungry lips met to seal their undying love for each other.
What a wonderful love story!
I closed the book and stared dreamily at its cover. There were two figures blissfully entwined in a tight embrace.
Alas! I sighed. Real life stories usually do not have “happily-ever-after” endings. Broken families around me were enough proof of that. I would rather fantasize about my “knight –in shining armor” through the novels that I read than be part of the drama in real life.
July 01, 2000:
Life is one big irony; however, for on this day, I said goodbye to being single. I understood then what lovers meant when they said that “Smoke gets in your eyes” or that “Love is blind.” Indeed, I was so madly and deeply in love with Jayson, that I opted to be “blind” to the uncertainties of the future and was willing to “cross the seven seas” for him. So on this glorious day, we exchanged marriage vows and it was the start of a new life for me.
August 23, 2004:
God had blessed us with two bubbly kids: a boy and a girl. They had their father’s chinky eyes, thick eyebrows, obstinate nose; each complemented all the other facial features to almost perfection. I was thankful they got nothing from my plain looks.
As I had forseen, married life was a bed of roses - with countless thorns. It entailed lots of sacrifices: I was expected to do all the countless household chores even if I had an 8 to 5 daytime job: in the office –piles of paperwork , screaming deadlines, tumultuous meetings; then when I went home – smelly diapers, baby tantrums, sleepless nights and many more. There were also times that I would have to tolerate my husband’s behavior. When he came home from a drinking spree with his comrades in uniform, I would patiently sponge his body with lukewarm water. These were all the sprinkles of salt that had made my married life more meaningful. I had no complaints because I knew these were all part of the package.
June 03, 2006:
Life though had so much more in store for me, for on this fateful day, I sat staring dazedly at the phone. I tried to control the spasms of sobs that rose to my throat. We had three kids by then and they were joyously romping with their father in the backyard. I thought my Calvary was over when Jayson was acquitted from a “robbery case” and was eventually reinstated in the military service a year before, but how wrong I was! Here was another tempest about to wreak havoc in my family.
“Jayson told me that we’ll be together soon,” she had purred into the phone. “A few more years perhaps, until your youngest is of an age to understand.”
I believed her then, for she had known a secret which I had always thought, only I and Jayson knew about.
I did not have enough courage to confront Jayson. What I knew was that I still loved him with the same intensity, after all the years that had passed. Did he still love me? I wanted to ask him then but whenever I started to do so, my eyes would brim with tears and a lump in my throat would choke my words. So, whenever he caught me teary-eyed, I made plausible excuses.
“We are on red alert. I won’t be coming home tonight, please go to sleep early,” he would say, during the nights he was not able to come home.
I convinced myself that he was telling the truth, but now and then I would catch a whiff of a woman’s perfume on his shirt.
The kids were unaware of my Calvary, however. They adored their father and he loved them in return, that I wallowed alone in my misery. I consoled myself by reading the Holy Bible. “Love beareth all things…”
September 18, 2006:
During the past two years, my heart became numb with pain from the constant calls of his mistress. I suffered in silence, ignoring his late –nights out, his missing shirts, and the indications of his infidelity. My love for him and our children was greater than my pain. You may call me a fool, but the happiness of my children was foremost in my mind.
But that day, the woman called, “We will be starting a business, do you want to be our guest?”
A nerve snapped in my head and that did it! I had had enough of this BS!
When he came home that night, I confronted him and had hoped to high heavens, that he would deny my accusations, but all I got was the silence of acceptance. I pounced at him when he attempted to take me in his arms and snarled vicious words at him in my anger.
That night after the kids slept, I slept in a different room for the first time. I prayed so hard for divine guidance. God help me to be strong!
When morning came, Jayson acted as if nothing happened and I joined his charade in front of the children.
December 24, 2007:
My husband urged our youngest son to light the Christmas candle. We all cheered when it exploded into a kaleidoscope of colors.
“Happy new year!” Jayson kissed and hugged me tightly.
Our children trooped to kiss and hug us both.
I gazed happily at the family that I had fought tooth and nails to keep whole. I thank my lucky stars my love for them was great enough to weather the storms that had crossed our path. I thank God for making me realize that the painful events that occurred were just some of the crosses I have to carry stoically, for they will all come to pass.
It was difficult at first to forgive Jayson when he had pleaded for forgiveness. He realized that he had to choose between his family and his mistress and that he could not have both.
We had moved to another town to start anew , and it was all worth it. The woman attempted to call Jayson several times through his cell phone, but he ignored it. He decided to change his number when it was evident, she would not stop. She was an ardent pursuer –that woman! Any man could fall into her claws just because of her persistence. I thank God, we were able to evade her venomous reach.
Happily- ever- after endings do happen in real life. It takes TRUE LOVE, understanding, and forgiveness to be able to achieve it.
I’m happily snuggled up with my husband right now, as I write the draft of this story. He’s contentedly watching our children opening their gifts.
Indeed true love was meant to last FOREVER!
I would like to acknowledge the efforts of Jean Knill of Jean's Musings for this story. Thanks Jean.
Photo 1 by victoriapeckham
Photo 2 by Peter Giger
Photo 3 by notsogoodphotography
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
PATRICIA ROCKWELL, author of the blogs COMMUNICATION EXCHANGE and SUBJECTIVE SOUP has responded kindly to my question and request for a post on ONLINE EDUCATION and its benefits and drawbacks.
Patricia is retired now and has been a professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and the Northern Illinois University.
Her expertise in the field of education and communication has provided her with appropriate credentials to speak on topics such as Online Education and communication. She writes about a lot of topics under the sun, e.g. entertainment (Dancing with Warren Buffet), medical related articles, girl chat and many more. She does not only pen formal and academic papers but also has a creative venture - a novel, Sound of Murder, which she completed in the month of November for NaNoWriMo .
She writes too for Helium and Associated Content and has a book for sale entitled: Sarcasm and Other Mixed Messages: The Ambiguous Ways People Use Language .
Due to these, I had nominated her to the Blogger's Choice 09 Awards for Best in Education Blog. Kindly click this link to vote for her.
Visit her blog and read various, interesting topics that could be very useful and relevant to you.
Thanks Patricia and all the best!
Saturday, April 4, 2009
There’s an old saying that goes something like this, ‘If you want to make God laugh, tell him what you’ll be doing tomorrow.’ It’s an adage that I’ve come to believe in greatly over the years and it’s one which has helped me to see the lighter-side-of-life when carefully made plans have gone haywire.
But on that cold, frosty January morning I wasn’t particularly at ease with God’s sense of humour. It was supposed to be the day that I was taking my daughter back to school following the Christmas break; the day that I had planned to clear my office of all the junk I seem to accumulate during the course of a year’s writing; and most significantly it was the day that I had set aside to oil reels and polish rods in preparation for spring and the start of a new fishing season. Instead I was sitting on the backseat of a taxi, on my way to see my dying father.
There’s a magic in fishing that only those with a fervour for it can fully understand. It takes you to a place of mist filled mornings and long summer days where time stands still; a place where myths and legends – the one that got away – lurk in the reed-beds of tranquil pools and bubbling streams; a place where mother nature plots the pattern of the day and where all men – kings, presidents and paupers are equal; a place where childhood dreams are re-lived and new adventures unfold.
So it was for my father and me. We lived and shared our dreams together on lakesides and on riverbanks and through our passion for angling we forged an alliance that surpassed kinship. Our friendship lasted for 40 years and was built on trust and understanding.
He hadn’t been ill long. Just a few days before we shared a family meal of turkey and roast potatoes and he beamed as he watched his granddaughter – my daughter – open her Christmas presents. He laughed as she danced and skipped through the mess of wrapping paper and declared that her favourite present was a pair of Spiderman wellingtons. And later, when she was sleeping, he told me how thoroughly he had enjoyed the day and how special my daughter was.
The taxi arrived at the hospital, stopped, and my mother and I got out. The driver wished us ‘all the best’ and inside the large, grey building a young doctor introduced himself with an apologetic smile. He led us to a small room off the main, brightly lit corridor where we sat whilst he explained how my father’s chest infection had worsened which, when combined with the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease he suffered from, made breathing almost impossible. He was receiving antibiotics and the staff were preparing him for a chest x-ray.
“But he didn’t seem too bad last night,” my mother said.
I had to agree. The previous night my father had sat up in the hospital bed, giggling and chatting with my daughter. He was wearing an oxygen mask but his appearance had improved substantially. Nothing like the man who, just two days earlier, had been taken to hospital sweating and struggling for air. His previously sallow skin was glowing and he eagerly made plans for the New Year.
The doctor fixed his gaze towards the floor and said, “I think you should expect the worst.”
My mother wept. I was too engrossed in disbelief to cry but managed a croaky, “Can we see him?”
“Of course,” the doctor replied.
My partner got the job of leaving our daughter to school and arrived shortly after the shocking statement and together the three of us entered the long hospital ward. We approached my father’s bed where an array of monitors kept the hospital staff informed of his condition and a tall, black cylinder supplied him with oxygen. My mother and partner tried not to appear anxious, though I could see the tears welling in their eyes.
I gently took my father’s hand and said, “You’re going to be fine. We’ll be back catching fish in no time.”
“Oh,” he said, his voice was low and hoarse. “I don’t know about that.”
Numerous phone-calls were made that day. Family members, close friends and acquaintances arrived and when my father drifted into a deep, coma-like sleep he was moved to a small private ward of his own. I held his hand and when the time came I kissed him on the forehead and said, “Goodbye.”
I left the small room, made my way to the bathroom, got down on my knees and through my tears, I prayed.
There’s something terribly un-nerving about watching a parent decline into ill health and eventually death. And the feelings of loss that are part of it emanate from the pits of your stomach to fill every cell and thought of your being. The person you looked upon and relied upon to be there in the stormy seas of life, to be the calming influence when your boat was swamped, is no longer your anchor. More than at any other time in your life you are on your own. It’s something you know will happen. It’s something you prepare for and think you’re ready to deal with, but when it does happen you can never be prepared enough. And praying was all I could think to do.
My father was buried a few days later and as the days progressed and turned into weeks the pain began to subside, though the feeling of loss will remain with me always, of that I’m certain. My daughter was a constant source of enlightenment despite asking all the questions I had equally expected and dreaded.
“Where is granda?”
“Why did granda leave?”
“Will granda be back?”
My partner and I done our best to explain and in her own way, as best a four-year-old can, she mourned the passing of her ‘granda.’
One evening we decided it would be good if we all spent the following day at the Zoo. Preparations were made, provisions were packed and we went to bed early to be ready for the next day. Around two thirty in the morning I was wakened when my daughter climbed into bed beside me. She curled up beneath the covers and in the sweetest voice I ever heard she said, “Daddy, can we go fishing tomorrow?”
God was laughing again and so was I, and as I laughed I knew that somewhere in the heavens my father was laughing with me.
copyright John Rooney 2009
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
JOHN ROONEY of The Ups , Downs and Sometimes Insane World of Writing is a freelance writer and photographer.
He says : "My work has appeared in magazines throughout the UK and Ireland."
He writes about excellent topics which are very useful to amateur and professional writers. His expertise as a published author lends credence to his numerous articles:
e.g. Beat the Block - Tips to Defeat Writer's Block . This article has proven that he can write in any genre. Visit his blog to learn more about him.