A Child Hopes

A Child Hopes

Fiction
Written by -M. Taggart

 

A child too young to crawl had no parents. A man placed the child in a crib and walked away while listening to its suffering cries. The infant had no understanding of the fading footsteps, but fully felt the abandonment.

Near the crib, carved into the cold stone wall, was the saying, ‘These stones wash my mind.’ A smiling face was left as a signature.

A nine-year-old had created the message.

Etched into the wood floor beneath the infant’s crib was another, ‘My thoughts are new this morning having never been thought before.’  Another smiling face was left as a signature.

**

‘What are you doing?’ Nick’s grandfather asked.

‘Reading.’ Nick replied. He held onto a nail. He was helping his grandfather in the garage.

‘Oddly, I never read much. But, when I did, it changed me.’

Nick’s grandfather was a large man. He wore grey work pants and a white t-shirt with suspenders.

‘Grandpa, what does this means? “These stones wash my mind.” That’s what it says in the book.’

Nick’s grandfather stopped fidgeting with the bird feeder he was building. Looking at the rafters, then his boots, he shook his head, ‘You might want to find another book.’ He reached a window with his eyes, and noticed how the sunlight spilled around the clouds.

Nick didn’t want to find another book. This book was too important. And he didn’t miss his grandfather’s face when he’d asked. He saw. He saw fully. Nick looked at the nail in his hand. It was metal. It smelled like metal. It looked like metal. It tasted like metal. But these words didn’t taste, or look like anything, but words. Though, he felt them.

‘Why didn’t you read much? That doesn’t make sense. If it changed you, was it for the better, or worse.’ Nick asked.

‘They were fluff. So much fluff. And the eyes reading them never cared. They read because they read. But, a few, changed me because they were meant to be written. And when I read them they made me to see.’

‘To see what?’

‘That’s not really the question. ‘These stones wash my mind.’ That’s the question. Be careful to not lose focus. If you want an answer to a question, truly want it, never stop until that one question is fully answered. Then, move to the next.’

Nick felt shamed. His cheeks filled red with emotion. He stood to walk from the garage and let the nail drop to the cement floor. It wasn’t that he couldn’t focus.

‘If you had answered my question the first time I asked it, I wouldn’t have had to rework new questions to again come to the first. And if it’s too hard for you to talk about, why’d you write the book?’

Nick walked out of the garage. Sunlight lit his young shoulders.

 

***

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A Tilted Heart – Flash Fiction

Fiction
Written by -M. Taggart
3/17/18

A Tilted Heart

 

Out of the drawer fell a folded piece of paper. He paused knowing what it was. Slowly he bent down, opened it, and read words he’d written to himself.

“Today was a nothing day. And that’s how some of them are. 7/13/15.” He felt as though he swallowed a tilted heart; pushing upward in his throat, not content, possibly never his to have.

He put the folded paper into his pocket and closed the drawer. He placed the heavy cast iron skillet into the sink. It had held what he had told himself to think was a perfectly made egg for his morning egg and cheese sandwich. He stood with his hands on the kitchen counter staring at the dirty iron skillet. Frozen in a moment between truth and agony for having finally accepted it.

It’d been over two years since he sat on the river bank reading and drinking beer. The beer had warmed from the summer sun. He happily drank the warm beer and read and wrote a reminder to come back. But he hadn’t. Instead he pushed the words into a drawer and now he had eaten an egg sandwich that was not perfect. He knew it as he ate it, but pushed that truth down toward his tilted heart to falsely warm for a brief time.

Funny though, he thought, funny how when he wrote it it was meant as a compliment to the day itself. Yet now, it flew in motion a range of self punishments he needed to correct. He left the kitchen, dirty cast iron skillet and all, found two books he treasured, and walked out the door. It was a three and a half hour drive. There would be a place to find beer along the way. There wouldn’t be another time to do what needed to be done now.