Feeling the Calm by Erin Shaw


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SUMMARY: A very short fiction story about how a sonís destructive relationship with his father effects the way the boy deals with his fatherís death.

Feeling the Calm

Gotta breathe, gotta be calm he thought.

Gotta breathe...

What is calm? I was certainly not calm when I ran, not at all calm when I turned tail and ran. They thought they knew what I had done, but they were wrong.

He stood with his back pressed against the cold hard stone. Arms spread, hands gripping jagged rock. Cutting into his palms. Shredding his fingers. His grip so tight. Too tight.

Gotta be calm...

This spot should be about right. It sure is pretty enough. Not sure if it's high enough.
I didn't mean for it to happen. I mean I didn't want for it to happen. Not like that.
Sure, I wanted him gone. A man can only be beat down so many times and still consider
himself a man. Truth is I guess I never really did consider myself one. A man that is.

Gotta breathe...

He had a way of always making me feel like a little boy. A scared little boy. It was the
way he would look at me mostly. We'd be sitting there, not saying a word to each other,
and he'd look at me. Sad, empty eyes, like I'd always let him down. Like he always
knew I would never be anything.

Gotta be calm...

I could have been something but there was always those eyes. He loved me, but he hated
me even more. Always thinking it was my fault she ran away. But he knew it wasn't my
fault and I think that made him hate me even more.

Gotta breathe...

He knew a woman can only take so much hate before it drives her to her grave. And he
hated and it did. And he never let me forget it. I wish she would have thought about me though. I would have gone too. Even if I would have known how it would end, how she would end, that God would call her home, I would have gone too.

Gotta be calm...

Anything would have been better than this. He was so mad at me that night. Swore to me that if I ever told him another lie, he'd snap me in two on the spot.



Gotta breathe...

All I wanted to do was go fishing. Figured I wasn't hurting no one. Figured no one would miss me for just one afternoon. All my work was done so it was never like I was hurting no one. But he didn't see it like that. He never saw things the way I saw things. Almost like I could stand right in front of him and the sky would be blue and I would say the sky was blue and he would say it was more grey than blue just so he didn't have to be on my side. Not like my life depended on it or nothing, but it would have been nice to feel like I meant something to that cantankerous son of a bitch.

Gotta be calm...

I know it shouldn't have mattered but I just didn't want them thinking that he had done it
to himself. He was a horse's ass. He was a heartless bastard. But he was proud and he feared God and I just couldn't bear the thought of anyone saying that he was going to hell for what he had done. And God knew I didn't owe him nothing. Didn't owe him nothing at all.

Gotta breathe...

He never thought I did anything right. I guess he wasn't too far off. I couldn't even get it to look like an accident. It had to look like murder, had to make it look like I did it. Yep, he was right. Guess he'll get a chance to tell me he told me so. Guess I'll see him in hell too. A man should never take his own life.

Gotta be calm...

He stood up and he closed his eyes and he stepped off the edge. It was high enough after all.