Words Unsaid by Jason Warden
This week I am swapping blogs with Zombie Master and fellow #fridayflash writer, Jason Warden. Jason and I joined #fridayflash a week apart and are now critique partners and friends. You can find my #fridayflash, “Invasion” (my first zombie story ever) over at Jason’s blog this week.
We always fail. Either our parents when we’re born because we’re not cute enough, we have bad skin, we don’t EVER sleep, or we won’t ham it up for the camera like they always pictured.
If somehow, despite our falls and dances with death, we make it to school age without our parents giving us away, we then do our best to let down our friends and our teachers. Kindergarten is the only year we’ll ever be perfect to anyone. It’s then we make our first BFF, and somehow he or she cannot see the faults that others have or will grow to see and hate in us. After that first year, we make a new BFF, and maybe the new one sticks for a while, but the old one now sees what our parents, our teachers, even our siblings see every day, that we’re just another disappointment.
Then we discover boys don’t have the cooties we all thought they did. Behold the prophecies of MASH and the infinite swirl that will decide which of the cretins will be ours, and how many beautiful, non-disappointing children they will give us. In our minds, we are already making crosses on park benches with the initials of our TLA, and writing the phone numbers of his ex-girlfriends, maybe even our ex-BFF, on the walls of the gazebos with the eternal wisdom of “For a good time call…”
We do it for love. For love and for forever, because we know our hearts, and they would never lead us astray. We tell ourselves that, even as another of the bastards catches our eye. It’s then we once again disappoint our love, ourselves, and our parents all over again.
At least that’s how it happened for me.
“That son-of-a-Bitch,” my father said when I told them.
Mother didn’t say a word, she never did. I watched her, not quite meeting her eyes as her face reddened, and she tried to push her palm through her face and into the back of her head. I knew she was thinking about how she would tell the bridge club, her family… the church, and all at once, I was not just ashamed, I was angry.
“It’s not Tommy’s.”
My father only stared at me. His disbelief became scorn. I tried to be mad at him, but I never quite dared.
“I didn’t raise no whore.”
No, of course you didn’t Dad. I’m just a girl, a girl who failed you over and over. Maybe if you’d told me what I was supposed to do, maybe if you’d had time to talk, to be parents. Maybe if you’d been there to help me when I told him “I’m not ready”. Maybe if I’d trusted you instead of fearing you, maybe then everything would be different, better.
I didn’t say any of that; instead, I went to my room. I called Tommy and told him. The next day he beat up Steve in the alley behind the school. That was a month before Steve and I were married at the courthouse. He wore his father’s sport coat and a fading yellow bruise; I wore a simple white sundress, and bloodshot eyes.
His parents’ house was large, warm and inviting, but not to me. We stayed anyway, and waited for our beautiful child who would never come.
It was the doctor’s visit the week before delivery, and I knew when he walked into the room. I may have only been sixteen, but the look of disappointment on his face was familiar. He was dead, dead and probably already decaying inside my child’s womb, and still, I had to deliver. Did I say my tears were exhausted? I didn’t know the meaning of pain before that day. I held my dead child and cried what had to be rivers of tears until they took him away and left me scared, alone and once again, a disappointment to everyone.
We never really talked about it. I hope wherever Steve is now, he doesn’t blame himself. I couldn’t, and didn’t expect him to stick around. He said he wanted to, but we both knew better.
Mother asked me to come home. A week after I did, Dad moved out.
She said she was sorry today, but she didn’t say why.
“If you need to talk…”
I don’t know what I’ll say, but I don’t want to disappoint her anymore. I hope she still loves me.
Jason is the Creator and Editor of ShadowCast Audio Anthology. A site dedicated to bringing you the best dark fiction via podcast. ShadowCast Audio holds a weekly #FridayFlash Deathmatch where two #fridayflash horror stories go head-to-head and your vote decides the winner. And check out their brand new forums.
In addition, Jason posts #fridayflash fiction each week on his blog Jason Warden’s Experimental Muse. A few of my favorites include “First Person Negative” and “Hooks” or you can peruse his collection of zombie stories. He’s on Twitter at @ShadowCastAudio and @JasonDWarden.