Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Empty Nester/Retirement (from work) (09/10/09)
TITLE: Sweet and sour
By Graham Starling
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Another balled up sheet of paper flies across the room and bounces off the wastepaper basket. That one would have gone in had the basket not already have been filled to overflowing. Instead it joins the dozens of others littering the floor nearby.
I smooth out another sheet of paper on the desk in front of me and take up my pen.
This day has been coming for a long time now. Once I would have welcomed it with open arms – “Anything to get my life back,” I would have thought. But you’re a part of my life, you and your brothers – in many ways you have become my life, and I can no longer see past the day when you will all have gone.
I want to tell you how proud I am of who you have become. 14 years ago we lost your mother and had to rebuild our family in so many new ways, but we made it through that – the sleepless nights, the sad attacks, that space where she should be. It’s still there after all these years, and I know you feel it too, but it’s faded a part of us now and not the screaming void it once was.
It’s not just the way you’ve dealt with the hardship though; it’s who you have become despite it, perhaps because of it. You are beautiful, you are strong, and the world awaits you. And I must let you go.
It’s not so bad this dying by instalments. First you didn’t want to snuggle on the couch when we were watching TV, then you didn’t want to hug and kiss me goodbye every time you went to school. You’ve been growing out of me for a very long time now, and this is just one more small step – even if it feels like a giant leap.
This is probably as hard for you as it is for me; stepping out into the great unknown, everything uncertain, no safety net. If you were ever to read this you’d just find it harder to go, and I do want you to go. Not so I can have some freedom back in my life, not any more, but because I want you to stretch those wings of yours and fly. I want you to discover for yourself how wonderful a place this world is.
So this is yet another letter that I won’t let you read. We’ll drive down to where you’re going to stay and I’ll help you unload and unpack. Then while you find out about the people with whom you’ll be living, while you start a new stage in your life, I’ll drive back home lost in thoughts like these.
Scrunch – Lob.
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