So I recently ran across a super great blog idea of posting writing prompts every week and then linking favorites on Friday. I thought this was fantastic. And though I don’t feel I have the time or energy to do so, I’ve been trying to put more of my actual writing up rather than just posts about writing. If others want to do so as well I’ve posted a link. So here goes nothing.
Find a place that fills one of your characters with nostalgia. Write a brief scene showing why that place is so important to him or her.
Lucian (I have never posted him before, so this is a first)
It’d been a while since I’d last visited. The last time had been before all the recent chaos of my life. Revolution does strange things to people. I suppose I’m no exception.
But crouching there on the grass, I could forget some of what was going on. Responsibility, the weight of what I needed to do, drifted away from me and allowed me the freedom to merely stare down at the gravestone, trace my fingers along the words graven there. And remember perhaps a happier time back when the world seemed so much simpler.
Sometimes, though not always, I feel the need to talk to the stone. As though he was still there rather than lying gone and buried beneath the ground, whatever remnants of his soul remained going to some other distant place. And I suppose today was no exception.
“You have another grandson,” I remarked quietly. I paused a moment, listening merely to the swaying of the trees in response to my soft words. They seemed my only living audience, though I still clung to the hope that somewhere out there he was listening.
“He’s beautiful,” I whispered again. “He…he has your eyes.”
I blinked a few times as my vision swam in sudden unexpected sorrow. After all this time one would think I’d long forgotten how to cry. But there are some wounds even time cannot fully heal. And the destruction of this one human I truly loved was no exception. The words I wanted to speak caught in my throat like too much dry bread. I fixed my own matching eyes down at those carved words again, thinking of the baby boy I’d so recently held with eyes as green as the forest that surrounded me. Eyes like this place that had once been his home.
“I wish you could have seen him,” I said. The trail of my words was not quite one I could follow. But perhaps it was better that way. I’d simply allow them to flow, to come from my soul rather than my mind.
“I miss you…I know…I know we didn’t have much time together…that mother never wanted us to meet much…but the brief moments I had were good. And I felt I learned so much from you. I…I only hope I can pass that on to my own son.”
There’s a long moment where I sit still, breathe in the fresh air, listen to the birdsong. I become so absorbed that for a minute I think I’ll simply sink into the forest landscape and become one with the soil, the plants, the animals. Away from my life, away from the heavy burdens fate has chosen to place upon me.
But to do so is foolishness. All it takes is the thought of my wife’s smile. My children’s happy voices. My new son’s little hand reaching out to clasp mine. I am not my father. My time in this world is not yet done. One day I’ll join him. For no man ever escapes death’s cold grasp. But there are those who need me.
I stand. My hands reach automatically to brush the dirt from my breeches, pushing away my reminder of this humble place I’ve chosen to spend my afternoon. The fine fabric beneath my hands reminds of how soon forest will give way to hallowed hall, sunshine replaced by torches and candlelight. Though I’d like to pretend I belong in these woods like this humbled man buried off where few know his resting place, it is not the life I’ve chosen.
“I love you, father,” I whisper.
The sentimentality drifts away on the wind as I walk back down the trail towards the main road. I allow myself to harden again, brush tears away, push the feelings from my mind. I must be strong. For the sake of my son, my family, all those who depend on me. But most of all for the father I wish to uphold in honor. For the man who died in the braveness of battle, who inspired me to live without fear. For him will I live. For him will I remain strong.