Things lost – short contest story
I studied the world outside the frosted glass, hoping it would distract me from the wrapped present in my hands. The refrigerator hummed, the logs in the fireplace crackled as the heat deemed too much on the chunks of wood, and the rush of holiday traffic buzzed by in a hurried frenzy. Even with all that went on around me, the absolute stillness within the walls of my once home pierced my ears and rattled me to the core.
Don’t go there.
I brought my attention back to the present. I couldn’t imagine how someone got in to my house, but for some reason, I wasn’t concerned. I shrugged it off, imagining that it must’ve come from a co-worker or a friend from the past, trying to restore a breath of life back into me.
I glanced around the room and managed to crack a smile. It must’ve been strange to whoever left it, seeing my tree up – lighted and decorated. It was the only thing I still did at Christmas, a tradition too deep-seated to discontinue, no matter how difficult it was. It brought the smallest amount of joy back to me before reality would strike, giving me the stark realization that those memories, would never be lived out again.
The slender crimson bow slipped off the package. My fingers slid under the gold tinseled wrapping paper, removing the rectangular box. I hesitated and then lifted the lid. The tissue paper crinkled as I removed it, revealing what was inside.
My heart stopped.
My eyes darted around the room; sure that someone was in my house playing a cruel joke on me. I lifted the black beaded bracelet out which looked like an identical replica of the one Ian got me on our wedding day. I opened up the silver prayer box charm, only to discover the tiny slip of paper we wrote our names on before the ceremony. It was our handwriting.
It couldn’t be.
It was lost at the scene of the accident.
I went back and searched for it.
It wasn’t there.
I peered back into the box to find a piece of paper folded at the bottom. My hands trembled as I opened it. Gasping, I threw the paper and bracelet down, sobbing into my hands.
It all hit me with the same force of the white F-150. The crushing feeling squeezed the air from my lungs as I relived the accident.
The headlights, too bright, coming straight toward us. My precious Camden screaming from the back where he was strapped into his car seat. Ian’s arm extending out across my chest to brace me from the impact.
The sound of only one heart beat surviving the accident.
I picked up the note again. It was Ian’s handwriting.
We miss you and we love you. We can’t wait until the day we meet again.
Tiffany Neal is a wife, mother to three girls, Language Arts teacher, and aspiring author.
Daddy’s girl – Here you can read short contest story.