Inevitable

'Lo,

This is a short story I wrote for English class a couple of months ago. The assignment was to produce a short story full of irony, imagery, and diction unique to our character. Though I don't like this story very much, I thought it would be cool to share something that I didn't write specifically for this blog. :)

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Inevitable: A Reflection on Growing Up
“Jim Camp! Come here right now!” My ma’s voice hollers from the kitchen, a harbinger of doom. I grumble under my breath, plodding as slow as I dare down to the dragon’s lair. Ma is standing in the kitchen, her patched up apron stained with jelly. “I told you to scrub the floor you dirtied with those muddy paws of yours. Why didn’t you do it?” Ma glares down at the dusty log cabin floor, her gaze seeming to penetrate my very soul. “You will be a young man soon, Jim. You will not get far if you do not take more responsibility for the tasks given to you.”  She turns away, resuming her work, a scowl on her careworn face.
Blast this foolish growing up business! I pity all the grown men who work day in and day out, toiling endlessly to impress others and to fulfill their empty definition of life. I don’t want that, for sure. And I won’t let it happen to me.
I give the floor a vehement scrub, then skip out the door into the bright sunshine. It’s a pretty day, no cloud in the sky. The singing of the summer bugs brings warm memories to my mind, and I walk lazily down to the edge of the crystal blue lake, peering down at my sunburnt and freckled face. I imagine myself as a grown man. Never! I think with disgust. I close my eyes and imagine past Summers, long listless days filled with endless storytelling, mischief making, and planning. Those plans were never for an adult life. They were plans for fun and merry making, frog hunts and picnics, grand berry picking expeditions. What if I did as mother wished, and accepted my future with open arms?  What if I took upon my carefree shoulders the hampering burdens of manhood? An easy feat! I think grimly, letting a wave of confusion wash over me. The memories of past Summers are now tainted with melancholy, for down inside, I know that they will never be as golden and wonderful as they once were. I grit my teeth and set my eyes ahead. I refuse to let them make me grow up, I refuse to let anything in my once perfect life change.
Hurrying to the tool shed, I grab my fishing pole and a rusty old tin of worms, ignoring the calls of my mother as anger, sadness and frustration fills my heart. I run down to the lonely river, brushing salty tears that have somehow found their way to my cheek, the blood of memory’s pain. Casting the line over the softly scintillating water, I squint my eyes against the glare of the sun, my heart and head aching. I don’t even hear the soft but steady footsteps treading on dry grass behind me.
“Jim?”
The warm, grumbling voice of my pa sneaks up on me, his huge figure sitting down slowly on the grassy bank. Wonderful, another lecture on the sacred filial duty and the wondrous journey to manhood.
“I heard from your ma that you didn’t right be obedient.”
I cast my eyes down, ashamed but still rebellious. “Gee pa, I-well, I was playin’ out in the back with Sissy and Sticky and…”
“Jim.”
My cheeks grow hot. “Gee, Pa, ma doesn’t understand! I can’t waste this Summer scrubbing the floors! It’s my last one before you send me to the city, and to school, and I’ll have to grow up and be a man, and-and I’ll have to put on shoes and look nice and study hard and-“ My anger and frustration come tumbling out in a torrent of nonsensical words. “You can’t have the Magic Summers when you’re grown up, Pa. Nothing looks golden or fairytale like when you’re worrying about adult things like impressing people and chores.” I put my head in my hands disconsolately, resting my chin on my knees. Must I accept this inevitable doom? Pa is quiet for at full minute before he answers.
“How do you know all that, Jim? I don’t think you know all there is to know about growing up. It is right to want to hold on to the memories you have made, and getting older will only give you the power to make new, different, wonderful memories. You only let go of your Magic Summers when you start believing they don’t exist anymore, when you stop keeping them near your heart.”
            I look into Pa’s gristled grey beard, not daring to meet his eyes. Pa is a grown man, though I have never thought of him as anything other than Pa. He is happy though, for his eyes twinkle when he sees his family and he laughs louder than the little waterfall in Hiller’s Corner. Pa is happy. I look into his eyes. “Pa? Do you remember having Magic Summers, when you were a boy?” Pa smiles wide, his eyes twinkling. “Yes Jim. And I’m having one right now.” He laughs as he cups his hand around a grasshopper that has leapt into his lap, laughing warm and rich like he always does.


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A month later, I am garbed in the melancholy looking suit that is the uniform of Crackton School for Boys. The days are filled with tiresome lessons, long faced boys, and taciturn teacher-curmudgeons who think it is our duty to always have our heads in books. At night, all is still. I lay in bed, shivering against the cold, trying to recall the warm Summer memories that are already fading.
Remember, remember, remember.
The passing trollies and the clip-clop of horse hooves down on the cobblestone road provide a rhythm that engenders a feeling of calm in my troubled mind. I smile to myself in the dark, straining my mind to capture exactly how the sun felt during the Summer. Then it strikes me. I tiptoe out of bed, stealing noiselessly to the little wooden trunk at the foot of my bed. I dig through it for a bit, then pull out a small, dog eared tablet of paper. Licking the pencil, I begin to write down all the things I want to keep with me forever—all the joyous Christmases, Magic Summers, friends, mischief, and fun that make life worth living.
I try to keep the memories hidden, for I can be greedy and selfish, wanting to keep past joys to myself. They never seem to stay that way though, for that is the way with these sort of things. These stories were meant to be shared, written by the narrator to insure that the glories of the human life do not dwindle in the years to come.
And now I am sharing them with you.

via



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~ K A T H R Y N

P.S. Thank you all for your sweet comments. :)







           


           

           


            

2 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness, this story was the sweetest!! I just loved it!!! There were some REALLY great lines, and descriptions and- ugh I just loved it to death!!!
    You did such a great job with this! Lovely, lovely post, dear.
    -E

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks a million, Esther!
      ~Kathryn

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~Kathryn

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