Contest #161 shortlist ⭐️

31 comments

Drama Coming of Age

Charlie started to cry during breakfast, tears cascaded from his innocent brown eyes. 


Nothing that his favorite toy elephant, Meelo, couldn't fix though. As he grasped the elephant by the tag with his tiny little fingers, you could see joy slowly come rushing back.


He had eyes just like mine and a similar dislike of eating cruciferous vegetables. 


But his smile. His smile he gets from his father. A smile that could somehow make you forget your worries. A smile I have not seen from Danny in a long time.


Danny was making coffee while Charlie continued to gnaw on Meelo. Charlie’s teeth were starting to come in and that wasn’t great news for Meelo. 


“One more bite of food and then we’ll go and visit mom.” Danny said as he waved the spoon in the air like a bird.


There were tulips waiting by the door. They were a beautiful hue of purple and blue; my favorite colors. 


Charlie started to cry again. He had dropped poor Meelo on the kitchen floor. 


I could not help you, my beautiful boy. I could only wait as Danny finally heard your cry from across the room. 


“Meelo doesn’t really like the floor, kiddo. He likes it right here next to you.” Danny said softly as he tucked Meelo in Charlie’s arms again. 


“Let’s get you dressed. We both need to look extra handsome today.” Danny said as he picked up the now tranquil Charlie.


A portrait of our last photo together as a family hung in the entryway near Charlie’s room.


Charlie had grown so much since that photo. His eyes were still unchanged however. Still as bright and brown as the minute I first saw them open. 


I wore my favorite indigo dress for that portrait. It looked loose and oversized that day as my treatments were already affecting my weight. But I made sure to smile. Why wouldn't I smile? At that moment I knew I was with the two men I loved the most in my life. Danny managed to pop a grin in the portrait as well. Just convincing enough to hide his inner emotions. 


“Look how handsome we both look.” Danny muttered as he carried Charlie in front of the closet mirror. Charlie waved Meelo as though he was agreeing.


Charlie cooed as Danny picked up the flowers by the door. As they both exited the apartment and descended the stairs, I remembered when I first carried Charlie up those steps. 


I also recalled the first time going up with Danny with our new keys and complaining to him about the lack of an elevator. 


But now, I would climb an infinite amount of steps just to place my hand on both their cheeks again. To hold their hands. To kiss their foreheads. To tell them both how much I love them.


“You’re all buckled in, kiddo.” Danny said as he secured Charlie in his car seat.


Danny got into the car as I watched him from the passenger side. He started the engine and looked back at Charlie one more time to check on him. He had fallen sound asleep.


Danny gazed towards the passenger seat and sighed. 


As we drove through town, we passed by the places that we would often frequent. The small pizza place that we would stop by after a long day of work. The hair salon that I swore to never go back to after they ruined my hair. The toy store that we bought Meelo from. The church where I promised to spend my life with Danny. 


When we arrived at the cemetery, Danny parked the car and took a deep breath. Charlie was still fast asleep.


“I can do this.” Danny said softly. 


Danny unbuckled his safety belt and headed towards the back seat. He unfastened Charlie who was still half asleep grasping Meelo. He picked up the flowers and Charlie and made his way down a beautiful road bristled with wildflowers. 


“We’re here, honey.” Danny whispered as laid down the beautiful flowers next to a headstone with my name on it.


Danny placed a blanket on the grass near the headstone. Charlie was awake now and gave his father an adoring smile.


“You have your mother’s eyes.” Danny whispered as he tousled Charlie’s hair. 


Danny walked up to touch the picture of me left next to the headstone.


“I’ve been taking good care of our boy the best I can, honey.” Danny said softly as he began to fall on his knees.


“I wish you here. I wish you were sitting here with us enjoying this beautiful day.” He said with tears running down his eyes. 


“I’ve missed you everyday since...since..” Danny cried as he lowered his head on the cold headstone.


“I thought that somehow it would get easier. But it’s a struggle every single day. To wake up without you next to me. To realize that our son is going to grow up in a world without his amazing mother.” Danny whimpered, covered in tears.


“I know I have the strength, but I just..” Danny’s voice breaks.


I kneel next to him and reach out to touch his now tear soaked cheeks. I would do anything just to comfort him. To let him know how much I’ve missed him and my boy. To let him know that I’m always with them.


Charlie starts to cry seeing the state of his father and throws Meelo on the ground.


Danny stands up and wipes the remaining drops of tears on his cheeks. He picks up Meelo and puts it next to Charlie again.


“I’m sorry, kiddo. Dad was just talking to mom for a second.” Danny said as he picked up Charlie. 


“I guess we both really miss your mom, huh?” Danny said as Charlie started to calm down.


Charlie then started to chuckle and wave Meelo at the direction I was standing.


Danny looked towards my direction and then looked back at Charlie. Charlie was beaming. It was with the smile he got from his father. 


My boy was smiling. Smiling at me.


Danny smiled and also looked in my direction and back again to Charlie.


“So you were here.” Danny said softly to the wind as Charlie continued to chuckle.


August 27, 2022 22:48

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

31 comments

Betty Gilgoff
16:02 Sep 03, 2022

So beautifully written. You capture the love and loss in such a serene, yet simple way, bridging the mundane of feeding and caring for a child with the wonder of the little things that make parenting so special.

Reply

Karl Blanc
18:32 Sep 03, 2022

Thank you. I appreciate the kind words.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Kaya S
21:02 Sep 12, 2022

This story was brilliant, Karlo. You really made me feel in this piece.

Reply

Karl Blanc
21:57 Sep 12, 2022

Thanks Kaya, I appreciate you.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Story Time
16:05 Sep 14, 2022

I think you really put forth so much insight into this piece. It gives the reader moments to reflect while still filling out the emotional lives of the characters. Well done.

Reply

Karl Blanc
20:29 Sep 14, 2022

Thank you, Kevin. Glad to read the positive feedback.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Sara Crutchfield
13:52 Sep 13, 2022

A beautifully written story with a lot of love. The narrator adds a nostalgic feel. I also like that even before you spell it out for us we can tell that the mother is dead.

Reply

Karl Blanc
20:21 Sep 14, 2022

Thanks Sara. I wanted to play with a more subtle approach for the reveal. Really appreciate the feedback.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Daemon Salman
21:45 Sep 12, 2022

Quite a captivating story. I truly felt multiple surges of emotion during my read. Bravo.

Reply

Karl Blanc
22:01 Sep 12, 2022

Thank you and I sincerely appreciate your kind feedback. 🙏

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
16:47 Sep 12, 2022

Your story touched me in so many different ways that I'm almost at a loss for words. I really enjoyed the point of view narration. Thank you for your story and the huge dose of perspective it gave me. Well done, well done.

Reply

Karl Blanc
21:56 Sep 12, 2022

Thank you for such a thoughtful response, Travis. I do very much appreciate your kind words and I'm glad you enjoyed reading.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Sophia Gavasheli
22:44 Sep 11, 2022

Oh my. I rarely cry after reading short stories but this one really did it for me. I was confused at the start of the story who the narrator was and then I read "Danny gazed towards the passenger seat and sighed" and I was like NOOO. This is a very poignant and achingly beautiful story.

Reply

Karl Blanc
14:40 Sep 12, 2022

Thank you, Sophia. It really makes my day to read that. I'm happy that this piece was able to evoke such emotion.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Amanda Lieser
18:11 Sep 11, 2022

Hi Karlo! Oh this story was so beautifully written. I love the perspective you chose. I also loved the way you added in touches of beauty on such a difficult day. I thought your imagery was beautifully created in this piece. It was an excellent use of the prompt. Congratulations on getting shortlisted!

Reply

Karl Blanc
19:45 Sep 11, 2022

Thank you so much. I really enjoyed writing this piece and I'm glad for the kind feedback. ☺️

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Daven Peng
22:59 Sep 10, 2022

This is a vivid and imaginative story with a very unexpected but enjoyable twist. Overall, it was bittersweet right up until the end where Danny says "so you were here". As a reader, it left me with a sense of wonder and awe. The magic of a mother's love is made especially apparent in this short story as the mother was "never too far". I loved this and hope to see much more from Karlo Blanco.

Reply

Karl Blanc
19:47 Sep 11, 2022

Thanks Daven. Appreciate the support. 🙏

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
David Cassorla
22:40 Sep 10, 2022

Eagerly awaiting your next submission 🤩

Reply

Show 0 replies
Angelia Vargas
20:48 Sep 10, 2022

Such an emotional and striking story. The details made me feel connected to the narrator. The love Danny feels is beautiful and apparent.

Reply

Karl Blanc
19:49 Sep 11, 2022

Thank you Angie. Grateful for your feedback. 🥰

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Philip Ebuluofor
07:33 Sep 10, 2022

Congrats. one submission, and a shortlisted already. Fine work honestly.

Reply

Karl Blanc
13:42 Sep 10, 2022

Thank you. I was pleasantly surprised myself. I appreciate the feedback.

Reply

Philip Ebuluofor
17:50 Sep 10, 2022

My pleasure.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Kate Winchester
03:08 Sep 10, 2022

This was beautiful! Congrats on the shortlist!

Reply

Karl Blanc
13:39 Sep 10, 2022

Thank you. 😊

Reply

Kate Winchester
20:32 Sep 10, 2022

Welcome ☺️

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
L. E. Scott
21:30 Sep 07, 2022

Oh my god! this caught me in the feels. Beautiful story telling. I know you're technically my competition but I hope you win.

Reply

Karl Blanc
02:45 Sep 08, 2022

Thanks so much. 😀 I'm so glad you enjoyed reading.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Barney Chambers
00:08 Sep 04, 2022

I could really picture the baby with an elephant. Love it.

Reply

Karl Blanc
02:47 Sep 08, 2022

Thank you. Glad I could bring Meelo to life.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply