35 comments

Drama Kids

10/2

Dear My Future Child, 

Once you are born, I will grow old as fast as the autumn leaves shrivel and die. Your mother will wonder why they’re welcoming winter so early this year, but I will suspect it’s because of you. She will die, your mother. From childbirth. Because of you. 

This is why I will hate you. 

The seasons will hate you. Your mother was one of them, once. She was an embodiment of Autumn, burying her browning skin and fiery hair into the leaves, camouflaging perfectly. That’s why it was always hard to find her. Why it’ll always be hard to find you. 

I don’t want you to be a season. There was a time when I thought your mother would be a season forever. The weight of the world will be reflected in your eyes. It was her only flaw. Your mother was beautiful, but not without the seasons. They made her what she is today. But they abandoned her, and that’s why I will always hate the seasons after she dies. 

I know what you will look like. I am your father. My features will be spun into her’s, and we’ll end up with you. You’ll have my gray eyes. They’ll remind everyone of the tearful clouds in the sky that were swirling overhead the day you’ll be born. Then you’ll have my knotted brown curls, streaked with the fiery red of your mother’s mane. Your beauty will not trick me into loving you just like your mother tricked me. 

Just a few minutes ago, I was with your mother. She smiled through grit teeth when I entered her hospital room. Her eyes were bright with hope, but her face was twisted in pain. She thanked me for coming. I just nodded. She said she wanted to discuss names for you. Your mother obviously thought she was going to live. 

“I like Autumn,” is what she had said. 

“I like Lilly,” is what I answered. 

We got into a little argument then. I was sure it would be our last. 

“Agree to disagree,” I finally said wearily. 

Your mother wouldn’t give up. She lectured me on how we had to decide on a name now, because once you were born we’d be stuck with a nameless child. 

But today I made up my mind about you. You don’t deserve a name. You’ll cause your mother to die and your father to drown in his unhappiness forever. You’ll stay nameless. 

I fell asleep in one of the waiting room chairs after the quarrel about the names. When I opened my eyes, inhaling hand sanitizer and Febreze, I realized how white the room was. Everything was so clean and wiped-down, shining with the fluorescent lights. Everyone in the room looked unhappy and cold. The receptionist was rubbing her temples with one hand while her fingernails on the other hand clicked on the keyboard. There was a family of four huddled towards the back of the room, shivering and anxiously glancing towards the door. There was an old woman, her face drooping with sorrow and clutching an old framed picture. And there’s me, with my back hunched and dirty palms, watching the pen glide across the paper. Your mother told me I’d be a good writer, but I didn’t think so. If I got a nickel each time I didn’t listen to your mother’s good ideas, I’d be rich. So here I am, an aging man who still has his boring low-paying job at the bank and is about to become a father to a nameless child. I’d clap myself on the back if I could. 

I don’t know why I’m telling you all of this. If I could deny that I’m lonely, I would, but I can’t. Because I am. I lost all my friends and family when I married your mother. As expected, they didn’t approve of us. The only people I have left are you and your mother, and you aren’t even born yet. I can’t speak to your mother because she’s in enough pain already. Trying to birth you, of course. I’ll always hate you for enforcing pain on the woman I love. 

I wonder what it’ll be like growing up as you. If I were you, I’d be ashamed of myself for killing off my own mother. I’d also be ashamed of my father. Trust me on one thing, my little nameless child, I’m ashamed of myself. Marrying your mother was number two on my Bad Decisions list, because you are number one. You’ll get a lot of hate from me when growing up. I won’t love you, but at least I have the guts to raise you. I’ll regret everything, you know. Maybe that can bring you some reassurance that I’m not a totally horrible person. 

George and Yvonne are the grandparents you’ll never meet. My mom, your grandmother, Yvonne, would’ve asked you to call her Grandma Von and to always greet her with two long kisses on her wrinkled cheeks. George, my dad, your grandfather, would’ve liked to go by Grandpa G. and give you bear hugs that probably will crack one of your tiny ribs. 

They would’ve asked me your name, and I would’ve shaken my head. Grandpa G. would frown, and Grandma Von would remind me of your mother and something she told me back in elementary school when I didn’t like my name. 

“Your name is the only thing you’ll be able to own permanently,” she said. “It’s unique. It makes up who you are. There shouldn’t ever be someone without a name. Then they would live their life thinking they’re a nobody.” Your grandmother had a strong opinion. 

A nurse with a tight apron wrapped around her torso strode through the double doors. Everyone in the waiting room gasped, obviously anticipating that something terrible happened to their patient. 

“Michael Stones,” she called, and I stood quickly. 

This letter slipped from my hands as a chorus of relieved sighs chased my fear around the room. I bent down to pick it up and noticed the nurse’s tan clogs. My back ached. 

The nurse cleared her throat urgently. I didn’t like her tone. “Mr. Stones, your wife asked for you. She’s been in labor and is about to have the baby.” 

I stared at her with a blank expression on my face, my eyes growing bigger with realization. I gulped hard and followed the nurse out of the room. 

There was a long hall beyond it. The nurse’s clogs tapped against the tiled floor. 

I clasped my hands together. “Did my wife mention that I wasn’t comfortable watching the baby being born?” She was silent. “I was just going to stay in the waiting room and have you call me when it was all over—”

“Shut up,” the nurse interrupted. 

I thought she was rude. She pushed open one of the many doors and led me into a small room. Half of it was wasted by a big bed. On that bed rested your mother, who was screaming in pain. 

The nurse rushed over to the other nurses in the room and spoke in a low urgent voice. I knew what she was saying. 

I looked away, turning my back to my wife who wriggled with agony. She continued screaming. My head was spinning and it felt like hours before the screaming stopped and the crying began. I felt a tap on my shoulder. I whirled around.

There stood the nurse who had brought me into the room. A blazing smile was engraved from ear to ear. She held you in her arms, and your wails bounced off the walls. My eyes searched your ugly face to see who you most resembled. With a pang of regret, I saw myself reflected in you. 

Pushing the nurse aside, I mumbled something about how I was really happy that you were here now. I stumbled over to your mother, who was exhaling one last time. I grabbed her wrists, pulling her closer. Her face went slack and her eyes fluttered. 

Your heart beat steadily. Hers didn’t. 

I let out a strangled cry. 

Maybe someday you’ll understand. 

From, 

your father

August 23, 2020 06:03

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35 comments

05:01 Aug 29, 2020

How you started is what made the story so beautiful. I mean, it just kept me reading until the very end. I understand it's a letter to a child in the future which is super brilliant but which also means the father can see into the future. I don't know if that was what you were hoping to achieve but I think this was excellent writing. You have a great way of explaining things so that the entire story keeps the reader in awe. I don't know how you do it but I loved it.

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Scout Tahoe
05:32 Aug 29, 2020

Thank you so much for stopping by! Your comment made my day. It means a lot coming from someone with 97 stories on Reedsy. I didn't think about the fact that the father could look into the future, but I'm glad it worked out anyways.

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Christina Hall
00:11 Aug 24, 2020

Really well written. You've managed to show his weakness of character and allow us to empathize with his pain at the same time, nicely done. I'd like to read a story from the son's perspective later in life. :)

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Scout Tahoe
01:21 Aug 24, 2020

Thank you! I really like the idea about a story from the son's perspective. Great idea!

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Velma Darnell
12:25 Aug 23, 2020

Wow, Scout! This story is so emotional; it gave me chills when I finished reading it. That's such a unique way to write on the prompt, and you did an outstanding job. Your descriptions are great, I could easily imagine the scenes in my head, and the narrative in the form of a letter made the story so much deeper. I also loved the lines about the name "Your name is the only thing you'll be able to own permanently," it's so true, and I've never thought about it this way. This is really great, keep writing :) p.s. I was wondering ...

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Scout Tahoe
14:21 Aug 23, 2020

Hi, Velma. Thanks so much for the lengthy comment. It makes me smile when people take time to write meaningful comments on my story. Of course I'll check out "Hi, darling". :)

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Velma Darnell
14:41 Aug 23, 2020

It's my pleasure :)

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Genevieve Taylor
06:09 Aug 23, 2020

Oh my GOD Scout! I adore this story. As always, your writing style is gorgeous and one of my favorites to read. I love all the figurative language in this one especially, and the part where he lists all the different people in the waiting room. It really painted a vivid picture and helped me get in touch with the story. Fantastic work! Stay safe and keep writing! -Vieve

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Scout Tahoe
06:11 Aug 23, 2020

Thanks so much, Vieve. I always love your comments and it means a lot that you take time to write them. I hope you come out with some new stories soon!

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נιмму 🤎
20:46 Aug 29, 2020

Oh my god I am mad at myself that I didn't read this sooner!! This is CRAZY good TOO good like I'm impressed and a little jealous! I love that you wrote this in the fathers perspective. (especially love that its in a letter) With the prompt, its usually the mother, but of course the mother is always going to love the child she is carrying, so this was a good insight on the fathers feelings. Leaving his child nameless is honestly a good 'punishment' per say for causing the wife pain, because you never realize how important names are, until yo...

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Scout Tahoe
22:03 Aug 29, 2020

Hey Celeste, Thank you for the lengthy comment. It honestly made me beam and made my day. I’m so grateful that you took time to read my story and comment. Metaphors are my favorite too! I also hope it wins. Thanks again.

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Keerththan 😀
03:26 Sep 10, 2020

Oh no!!! Why did I read this? It's so sad😭😭. Very heartbreaking. Wonderful story, Scout. The emotions were conveyed beautifully. Marrying your mother was number two on my Bad Decisions list, because you are number one. I really loved this sentence. It made me chuckle but its sad too. Nice story in a letter format Really wonderful. Keep writing. Would you mind reading my new story? Thanks.

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Scout Tahoe
04:40 Sep 10, 2020

Thanks. Of course I’ll read yours!

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Book Ruminations
01:38 Sep 03, 2020

Oh my... The vivid descriptions are great! I was a little confused at first whose perspective this was written in though, but that cleared up quickly enough. It's spectacular that you managed to capture the hate the father has for his kid so intricately, how making him nameless is a form of revenge. The emotions you describe are lovely too. Great job with this piece!

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Scout Tahoe
01:52 Sep 03, 2020

Wow, thank you so much! Unfortunately, I can’t edit the story anymore. I’m glad you liked it, though. :)

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22:14 Sep 02, 2020

This was so incredibly sad. Good job.

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Scout Tahoe
22:27 Sep 02, 2020

Thank you.

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Faith Hunter
13:45 Sep 02, 2020

I loved this story! Especially the beginning. -Faith

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Scout Tahoe
13:51 Sep 02, 2020

Thanks, Faith.

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Alwyn Mc Namara
03:04 Aug 30, 2020

Oh my goodness....what an emotional journey you took is on. Such a heartbreak and metaphorically reminded me that all women die when their babies are born and are then reborn as mothers, which is where I thought you were going with it until the end. Oh wow. Very well written.

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Scout Tahoe
03:08 Aug 30, 2020

Thank you. I've actually never thought of it that way. Love the new perspective, though.

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R. Cai
09:53 Aug 29, 2020

This made me so emotional. Such a great story! Its so unique. I love how you described the seasons at the start. It really pulled me into the story.

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Scout Tahoe
13:41 Aug 29, 2020

Thank you, R. Cai!

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Rayhan Hidayat
12:15 Aug 28, 2020

This is SUPERB. 😮 Those opening paragraphs with all the season analogies were goregous, wow. Awesome writing style, too. There was this sense of grim inevitability throughout that made this so compelling. Keep it up! 🙂

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Scout Tahoe
13:29 Aug 28, 2020

Thanks so much! Your comment made my day.

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Hriday Saboo
14:03 Aug 27, 2020

Hey scout I read a couple of your stories and liked them a lot. Pls do read my stories too, like them, comment, and follow me.

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Scout Tahoe
14:11 Aug 27, 2020

Hi Hriday, thanks for reading my stories. I'd be happy to comment/like yours. I'd also appreciate it you followed me back. Thanks!

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Shea West
16:16 Oct 01, 2020

Scout I stumbled upon your story this morning sitting in my bed. First, your story was so raw and layered with emotions that I had to go back a few times and really read some parts again because it was intense in a really beautiful way. I work as a Birth Doula, and the expanse of people I work with swings from one end of the spectrum to the other. I sometimes will imagine in my head what the parents will be like as parents.....How they'll respond to spills or tears or booboo's. Of course I'll never really know how the rest of their story w...

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Scout Tahoe
16:34 Oct 01, 2020

Thank you so much! I’m so glad my story conjured up such emotions in you. Your job sounds very interesting and I’m glad you liked my story. :) Would you like me to stop by one of yours?

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Shea West
17:42 Oct 01, 2020

You're welcome to do that, but I'm "new" at this so I'm in the everything I put is out is garbage phase LOL. I always tell people, "Don't drag me too hard I have three kids at home who do that everyday!" One of my kids is named Scout too, so I would say it was kismet I ended up here in your story world <3

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Scout Tahoe
18:25 Oct 01, 2020

Haha, so right. Aww, I love the name Scout too. Girl or boy? ;)

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Shea West
19:17 Oct 01, 2020

Boy! Although it would have been their name if we had a girl too!

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Scout Tahoe
19:59 Oct 01, 2020

Nice! Is it just me or did you just change your name? Sorry just curious.

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