Welcome to the twenty-seventh in the series: 5pm Fiction.
Late April 2011 I discovered http://StoryADay.org and the project that is to write 31 stories in 31 days. Anyone who knows me or follows this blog, knows how passionate I am about short stories so my clichéd eyes lit up at this new marvel. And just a few days later there I was, breathing life into new characters. This went on to become (with some editing of course) my 31-story collection eBook Story A Day May 2011.
I was nearing completion of the 2012 project when I decided that I didn’t want to stop at the end of May so 5PM Fiction was born. I put a load of prompts on the 5PM Fiction page and today’s was to write a monologue containing the words ‘And just for a minute, I forget’, so here is my 357-worder.
Sometimes I forget
It’s hard to remember the good stuff when he won’t let me forget the bad. Fifty calls a day, on a good day, more if he can’t sleep. I’ve asked him to stop, everyone who knows him has asked, he just stares at them and shakes his head. He sleeps erratically so once it goes quiet I get a respite but I don’t know how long for. I get on with my work, phone on vibrate, and just for a minute, I forget…
My boss has been brilliant. I don’t know much about her private life but she seems to understand… friends less so. They tell me to change my number, move, call the police when it gets too much. It’s always too much but I know he won’t do anything. There’s never any malice.
“I don’t know how you can still love him,” Leah said the other week… we haven’t spoken since.
If you’ve ever had someone so close to you for all those years you can’t just let go and he needs me. He’s got no-one else. Actually, that’s not true, he’s got Madeline but she doesn’t know him like I do. She does what she has to do to get him through but she’ll leave, eventually, they usually do.
It’s been a quiet day today, quiet for a couple of hours, but the sun’s out so he’ll be in the garden, on the bench, the one I bought him to watch his fish and he’ll be too busy to think about me.
I don’t want him to think, it doesn’t do him any good. If he could remember everything it would be too painful… like it is for me. Every evening as I drive home I replay it; me taking him to the cemetery, me driving, me overshooting the junction, me screaming as the lorry hits his side of the car, his head slamming into the dashboard, staying with him in hospital until he was well enough to go home, come home.
Mum would have done the same, he’s my father after all. He’ll always be and I’m the one who can’t let go.
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Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are weekly episodes, usually released Monday mornings UK time, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.