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Fiction: 'Far From Home'

The carton stood open, its maw intimidating and ridiculous.

Cardboard, remnants of tape from previous travels, layers coming apart a little and fanning the ridges inside.

I need to start filling it, I suppose.

Fill it and send it off, off to the other side of the globe.

Send it away.

 

The birds, singing today.

The sun is out, that early winter glow that gets in your eyes.

No snow yet, but it's turned cold - the sun is warm, the air needles.

The leaves are down, most of them, and bare trees reach to the sky, screaming for spring and green and life.

 

I went shopping this morning, said hi to the milkman, told him about my son.

He nodded politely, scurried off to his next house.

The store was empty, white light splashing on the rows of packages, packages, packages.

The cookie aisle, the chips, I felt like I should send something healthy, something that won't kill him before they do.

But no. I guess he'll get what he wants.

Who am I to tell him what to eat, to do?

 

Some terrible music caught my ear.

I wondered what he, they, listen to over there.

In the jungle, in the muck.

I suppose they have radios.

I hope the music is better than this shit.

 

In his closet now.

Searching for drumsticks.

He has drumsticks?

I didn't know - he never played in the house.

Maybe at Jim's? Maybe.

I should ask him.

When he gets home.

 

I peer behind his ski coat, dust puffing into my eyes.

A box of notes from Janice, hearts strewn all over them, slides easily to the side.

His trumpet case, a cracked basketball, short on air.

Drumsticks. Holy cow, drumsticks.

 

Hope I see them again.

Hope he doesn't lose them.

Hope he brings them home.

 

 

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