It Seemed Like A Good Idea

16 Feb

All of us awesome editors over at IndieInk recently got together and threw down the gauntlet geeky writer style. What am I talking about? Simple. A challenge. A modern day duel, if you will. We decided to play a little game and challenge each other on the weekly with anonymous writing prompts. Think of it as You Got Served, but with less rhythm and more nerdy white kids.

This week, my writing prompt is, well, challenging.

“It seemed like a good idea at the time.  Okay, so I *wanted* it to be a good idea.”

A challenging writing challenge? Well, I’ll be damned!

****

Underneath this mess, there is pure unadulterated emotion.

But you’ll never know it.

You’ll never catch a glimpse of love, anger, happiness, guilt, elation, or even sadness.

My expressionless face is strong and fiercely robotic.

Or so I’ve been told.

You see, I wasn’t always like this. As a kid, I vividly remember expressing each and every emotion my heart could handle. It came naturally. I wanted the people that surrounded me to know exactly how I felt. If I loved you, I wanted to tell you I loved you. If I was happy, you could hear my laughter from miles and miles away. The simplicity of life allowed my emotions to take control. Logic was no longer a factor. Content with the smile on my face, I allowed myself to just be.

Until he died.

I can still see the frailty of his bones outline his figure as his paper thin skin stretched out across his ravaged body. The chemo and dialysis had taken its toll. As I watched the hospice nurse sit in a chair next to his bed, I knew this was the end.

Struggling to comprehend that each labored breath could be his very last, my ten year old mind broke. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t covey the emotions running haywire through my brain. The direct link between my heart and mind had crumbled. In that moment, I turned cold.

Two days later, he was gone.

What was this pain I felt in every limb of my own body? Why did I want to cry and vomit at the same time? Frantically, I searched for a way to eliminate all that hurt and confused me. I didn’t know how to ask the questions needed to cope. I didn’t know how I should react. Defeated, I just shut down.

It was all I could do. Just shut down every emotion I was used to. Keep everything inside so I could never be hurt again. I never wanted to feel this way. And I would be damned if I would let it happen.

Shutting down seemed like a good idea at the time. I wanted desperately for it to be. Hell, I needed it to be. But how do you come back from that? I am 31 years old now. Two decades have passed and I still find myself trapped inside my own mind. Even to this day, if I even so much as find myself thinking of that moment, I completely shut down.

He was still in his bed the last time I saw him. He didn’t even know I was there.

I was just a boy.

A boy, broken by reality.

 

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18 Responses to “It Seemed Like A Good Idea”

  1. Holmes February 16, 2011 at 12:20 pm #

    Man, I felt this one. Great piece.

    • TJ February 16, 2011 at 12:23 pm #

      Thanks, Travis. Much appreciated.

  2. Random Girl February 16, 2011 at 12:30 pm #

    TJ,
    I have read this like 4 times and have been sitting here just thinking on it for a long while now, well, at least long by my attention span standards.
    Today everyone seems to be posting about “the moment” in their lives. A Small moment of quiet revelation, or like you, the life changing enormous moment that forever alters your very perception of life and changes the course of who you are. It’s overwhelming. You captured overwhelming in words right here. Amazing.

    • TJ February 16, 2011 at 12:41 pm #

      Comments like this are the reason I write. Thank you so much.

  3. Hannah Pratt February 16, 2011 at 12:36 pm #

    Wow.

    • TJ February 16, 2011 at 12:41 pm #

      I hope that’s a good “wow”. :)

  4. flutter February 16, 2011 at 1:09 pm #

    My heart. Oh, TJ the thing is, those of us who love you see your heart. It calls your bluff

  5. andygirl February 16, 2011 at 5:28 pm #

    oh you. I want to hug that little boy.

    as usual, you take a simple topic and make it profound. love to you, friend.

  6. cabocalla February 16, 2011 at 7:14 pm #

    Dammit, TJ…

    I wanted your writing prompt. I’ve got so many stories I could tell. All of them crazy and some funny as hell…

    You know, I thought I was the only one who dealt out painful memories and exposed vulnerable emotional corners of my mind. It appears that I’m not alone. Cheers, TJ. You broke my heart with this piece.

    And I’m happy to say that you did.

    Well done, my friend, well done.

  7. Wendryn February 16, 2011 at 10:16 pm #

    Definitely yanked on the heartstrings. Thank you for writing it – beautiful.

    • TJ February 16, 2011 at 10:21 pm #

      Thank you, Wendryn.

  8. evenstarwen February 22, 2011 at 12:11 pm #

    This is seriously awesome. Wow. Are you guys still doing this challenge? Can I join? Pretty please.

    • TJ February 22, 2011 at 12:19 pm #

      Absolutely! Go here: http://indieink.org/writing-challenges/

      • evenstarwen February 22, 2011 at 1:38 pm #

        This is so exciting. I can’t believe I just discovered Indie Ink tonight. You guys do great work.

      • TJ February 22, 2011 at 3:04 pm #

        Thank you! We are excited to have you take part in the challenge. Who knows, you might get me next week as your challenger. Stay tuned! :)

  9. Frelle March 26, 2011 at 7:31 pm #

    To find the moment, and to read what it did to who you were… it is incredibly painful to read. NO kidding with those who have mentioned they felt it and that it broke their heart. Great writing and brave revelation.

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