Week Twenty-Six Prompt: Sated

This is written in the same universe as 'After-Haze', my week 20 entry, but it can absolutely be read on its own. 'Sated' took me in the opposite direction this week, of wanting so badly to feel fulfilled, and knowing it will never be a possibility. Let me know what you think!

A History Lesson

Thanks Michael. Sit down please, Lucy, Tom. I promise this won’t take long. Rachael sees the dubious looks on Tom and Lucy’s faces and rolls her eyes. Well it might. But it’s important. No Lucy, your father and I are not splitting up, don’t be ridiculous.

Tom makes a small noise that might be a cough and Rachael’s eyes flash.
 What was that Tom? 
Tom is silent, slightly mollified and he thinks that maybe now isn’t the right time to stir his mum up.
That’s what I thought, Rachael nods. Now. 
Rachael inhales slowly and her children stare back at her, little faces peering up at her with the intensity only the combined forces of three children under twelve can muster. 
I have decided – Rachael pauses here, takes a breath and continues – to tell you about your uncle. 
Which one mum? We have like, over a thousand.
No, Lucy darling. Your other uncle. The one you never got to meet. 
Lucy's brow furrows. But, we already know – 
Tom elbows Lucy and she shoots him a vicious look, mouthing what? What? But Tom ignores her, staring at his mother. She looks sad and he sort of wants to hug her but he can’t really, he’ll be twelve soon, but Michael is there with his too-small arms and his mum is suddenly smiling again. Tom feels himself relax a little bit, enough to turn back to Lucy and poke his tongue out at her and watch her face heat up with indignation while he smirks, satisfied, and turns back to his mother.
Thanks Mikey. I’m alright. You can sit back down. I know you know about him, Lucy, but I want to tell you three properly, because – Rachael's voice breaks and she looks down at her hands. The three children stiffen slightly and Lucy’s breath catches; a tiny, fragile sound that is almost lost in the crackling of the fire in the hearth beside them. Rachael's shoulders straighten and she looks back up again.


Okay. So. Here we go, then. 
Okay mum. 
This is going to be me, telling you about your uncle.
A noise at the doorway startles Rachael and she looks up. Her husband, Dan, is leaning against the frame, staring at her in the pale grey winter light, last-minute Christmas packages in hand. Her eyes meet his and he wills her silently to continue. They have talked about this, late at night when Rachael’s legs are lying over his and his hand is wrapped in her hair; when words are breaths in the dark and everything around them is stillness and shadows. Rachael wants her children to know – they both do – so much, about her brave, clever, impossibly funny brother, who was no longer here. She wants to tell them how he teased her mercilessly over her crush on Dan, how he had once saved her from drowning in the creek out the back of their childhood home, how he had once let her into his tree house for a treat on her sixth birthday and let her eat as much mud cake as she wanted. She had been sick for a day afterwards and he had come to her with piles of Charlie Brown comics and read them to her, doing all the voices, til her stomach hurt from laughing so hard. She wants, with her whole being, has wanted for years, for them to know him like she had, which she knows is impossible but – she wants him to be more than just a name to them. 
Looking down at them all; at Lucy, fidgeting quietly with legs crossed in front of her, at Michael, so like her brother with a sort of quiet intensity in those bright green eyes of his and at Tom, who was trying very hard to look serious and grown up. Do you know, she thought, how much he would have loved you? How he would have spoiled you? How he would have claimed the ‘Cool Uncle’ title and demanded they come to him for advice about which spot exactly to tickle their mum in, or to teach them the Repetition game and, much later, to ask for advice about relationships and, God forbid, sex? How do I even begin to start telling you about this brilliant person you will never get the chance to meet? Somewhere in the very pit of her, buried so deep within her skin she had forgotten it was there, a tightness ached suddenly with this want, this want to have her brother back, this want for him to never have got into that car, for her children to know him, and she felt terribly sad that they would never – could never – know him, not really, not in the way she wanted them to. 
I’ve heard – Rachael can hear the smile in Dan’s voice as it cuts across the living room and three little heads snap up to stare at their father – that to start at the very beginning is a very good place to start.
Rachael looks up at him then, her eyes meeting his and he crosses the room and sits next to her on the couch, her body dipping towards his slightly as he settles; the warm length of his body in line with hers, smelling of Christmas and night-time and so very Dan it almost overwhelms her. Her hand finds his and the tightness unravels slightly and she thinks that, for the three little people in front of her, she can bloody well try. She takes a deep breath.
His name was Rob.

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13 thoughts on “Week Twenty-Six Prompt: Sated

  1. I think this is like a bit from a song in Sound of Music:” to start at the very beginning is a very good place to start.”

    It’s sad when you know your kids won’t be able to fully grasp who someone was just from memories.

    I think my son might remember my father in law a little but he died before my youngest was born. I wish they could remember who he really was.

    You tapped into deep emotion here and portrayed this type of situation well.

  2. Another angle of this tale that makes me ache for my family. I was sitting around a table at our folks house not too long ago, in one of the incredibly rare occasions to which we all made it at the same time, and I was just overcome with gratefulness, so in the middle of someone’s sentence (there’s always 43 different conversations going at once when there’s 28 people sitting around a table), I just burst out, “Brothers!” And all 5 of them stopped and turned and stared at me. And I was glad, because what I had to say I wanted to say to them all. So I just smiled and said, “I love you.” I’m glad we all have each other. I can feel that in this.

  3. Aching for family, can so feel this in your beautiful piece. and the way you evoke the things you miss, and your children will never know.
    I had to tell my grandson the other day just how much my Mom would have loved him. She would have burst with pride and love for her grandchildren, she never saw any of them, died in 1988 and the first was born in 1994. That is always what hurts You made me think of it too..

  4. This continuation is awesome. And three mourning stories this week, each its own knock-out – argh, finally getting to cry for my dad, so thanks for that, too.

    I love how you go from the present to the past and back again, it’s a skillfully-done shift that still feels natural and not contrived at all. And your use of so much specific detail gets the emotion through strongly without having to tell a lot.

    Enjoyed reading 🙂

  5. *hugs* My mom used to tell us about her grandmother, and she always said she could never actually tell us what it was like — that we would have had to actually meet her.

  6. I remember the other story now, reading this one.

    The sister’s pain is so vivid here, not just because she misses her brother but because she can’t possibly convey to them how truly wonderful he was in a way that she’d be sure they got it.

    Your description of her memories her shows the reader how special he was, and how much she loved him. That makes her dilemma still sadder.

    But at the least she can try. And she will. He certainly deserves no less.

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