Those Valuable Moments

Submitted into Contest #170 in response to: Fly by the seat of your pants and write a story without a plan.... view prompt

4 comments

Fiction Funny

Those Valuable Moments

My Father

My father was a courageous man; an experienced soldier who instilled fear in the eyes of his enemies. He was awarded three medals of honor, lost an arm shielding his commander from a swarm of shrapnel, and walked across the Sahara Desert with nothing but three bottles of water, fifteen energy bars, and a camel for company. At least, this is what I was told. I never actually met my father, because even the most fearsome soul can be brought down by a single well-aimed bullet to the chest.

Grandma

I was raised by my mother and grandmother in a small cottage by the edge of a forest of twenty-seven trees. Every spring, I’d watch the bright green leaves dry up and fall in an assortment of red, brown, and yellow – covering the ground in an ugly, crunchy blanket.

“Back in my day they called that color ‘gold’.” Grandma and I were standing out on the porch, watching the sun set behind the mountains. “It’s not worth anything these days, so people don’t remember it.”

I plugged my nose with my fingers, blocking out the smell of rotting leaves emitting from the ground.

“Well, ‘gold’ is disgusting.”

Grandma made me stand out on the porch until the sky turned dark, then she’d tuck me into bed, kiss me goodnight, and remind me not to go outside until the sky was bright again.

My Mother

A few years after my father was shot, my mother remarried a kind local farmer who brought her a rose every day. She joked that it was because of the flowers that she married him, and although I never asked the real reason, I’m pretty sure it was because she couldn’t bear the memories of my father anymore.

My Siblings

I was used to being the center of attention, so when my half-siblings started popping out one after the other, I was not particularly grateful. I was certainly not appreciative of all the screaming and crying I had to put up with.

When I stood on the porch at night with Grandma, those rare quiet moments allowed me to peacefully think of a large projectile device that would fling the wailing monsters off the cottage roof straight into the neighbors’ Monday morning sacrificial fire.

The Neighbors

They made good pancakes and worshipped someone called “Lucy”. They wore long, red robes and let me draw black stars with five points on their foreheads if I didn’t have maple syrup stuck to my fingers.

Grandma Again

She spent a lot of time in the basement. One Friday night after the sun set, I sneaked out of bed and went down there. She was sitting at a clothed table, two candlesticks lit before her. She poured wine into a small gold-flecked blue glass, and started humming a tune in a strange, guttural language while she held on tightly to a silver chain hanging around her neck.

When the song was over, she released the chain. The pendant was a star. It was different than the neighbors’ star. It had six points on it.

My Best Friend

He had blond hair and green eyes. People called him “Georgie”, so I called him “Georgie” too. We met at his father’s vegetable stand because we both worked there. I liked that he was two hands shorter than me.

Georgie’s First Loves

Georgie fell in love with a pink flower. It had beautiful petals and smelled very nice. He said it made him happy, which made me sad. I wasn’t sad that he was happy, I just wanted him to be happy with me.

When he wasn’t looking, I plucked a few petals off the pink flower, crushed them, then added them to olive oil to make a perfume. I thought that if I smelled like the flower, Georgie would fall in love with me too.

I was happy when Georgie stopped loving the pink flower because I thought he got bored of it and had developed an interest in me. But then he fell in love with an olive.

After this second painful rejection, I was determined to put distance between us. The neighbors said that I should cover myself in garbage.

“The smell will repel him.” They told me, before disappearing into their basement, long red robes trailing behind them down the stairs.

I did what they said, but then Georgie fell in love with me.

Grandma Again – Again

Grandma died a peaceful death. We were watching the sun set, and I noticed that her eyes were closed. I knew that she wouldn’t dare miss a second of the dusk on purpose, not even if she was exhausted from dealing with my siblings all day.

Georgie and the neighbors helped my family bury Grandma. Before we put her in the ground, I removed the silver chain from around her neck and put it around mine. I knew she wouldn’t mind.

I kept watching the sunsets without her, imagining her standing next to me, silver strands of hair from her loose bun blowing in the cool summer breeze.

“It’s such a beautiful thing to watch the days end.” She’d tell me, then fade away.

The Glint

I noticed my first gray hair the day I noticed the Glint. I call it “The Glint” because I have no better name for it. I watch the sun set from the porch of my ageing cottage and notice the dying rays reflecting off a distant metal object behind a small grassy hill. I do not know what this object is, and despite it being far away, I enjoy its company.

I wonder if it is some sort of precious metal that is inscribed with ancient spells and rituals, like the kind the neighbors used to collect. Maybe it’s one of the sharp objects they used to slice meat for their barbecues. Maybe it’s the bullet that killed my father, the ring Georgie had unsuccessfully offered to me, or an old prototype of a slingshot I made before I started to like my siblings. Maybe it’s what Grandma called ‘gold’, that disgusting color that resembles the setting sun.

I’m not disappointed at all about what The Glint turns out to be. The moments of wonder it has given me have lifted my heart and become infinitely more valuable than any amount of money I could have fetched for the lid of a rusty old metal trashcan.

October 31, 2022 15:56

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

4 comments

Tommy Goround
10:55 Nov 23, 2022

Thank you Alexander. I was randomly looking for stories and I found this one. Love the format. Many formats seem to get in the way of the story. This format enhance the story. Your tale has lovely symbolism, has subtle humor bits, and a nice pace. I was hoping that she found real gold after losing Georgie. Many people do not give us an entire lifetime in 3000 words or less. You have successfully given us the important parts of this woman Thank you for giving me an enjoyable read.

Reply

Amelia Hans
16:00 Nov 26, 2022

Thank you, Tommy, for your comments! The thought of her finding real gold never even crossed my mind, but it makes such perfect sense. I'm glad you had a positive experience reading this story.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
00:05 Nov 07, 2022

Beautiful, heart wrenching, thought-provoking story. You’re very talented.

Reply

Amelia Hans
14:03 Nov 07, 2022

Thank you for this wonderful review, Alexandra :) I'm glad the story resonated with you.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
RBE | Illustration — We made a writing app for you | 2023-02

We made a writing app for you

Yes, you! Write. Format. Export for ebook and print. 100% free, always.