The Foolish and the Weak 5.0

Yep, it’s finally here!  I’m so excited that this project is actually still progressing, though at a snail’s pace.  =)  I did want to make a quick disclaimer before you read the fifth chapter.  There is a spot in this chapter…and come to think of it, in other chapters, too….where the name of God is included.  I promise, I do this very cautiously and only in particular settings because I don’t want to take God’s name in vain, even in a book…so.  Be reassured that, if God is referenced, it is because the character is actually speaking to or about God.  Hope that makes sense.  Enjoy!

The Foolish and the Weak 5.0 

            The surgeon blinked enigmatically and ruffled the thin ring of fluffy hair that crowned his face.  He breathed heavily, like a man under great strain…or like a man released from great strain. 


            Maybe maybe maybe


            Brian reached for Jenn’s hand instinctively and together they waited for the heavy folds of tension hanging over the room to shiver and split.  “And…?”


Don’t hesitate.  Don’t whisper.  Just say it, say it out loud so that it hurts like it should. 


(say you love me, brian. 


say that your heart broke when you left me…say that there is still time for us, my love, and that maybe it will be ok)


God grant this maybe.


            The surgeon drew a worn hand over his face before he spoke.  “I’m very sorry,” he said, his voice cracking and plunging like an echo off a canyon wall.  “We did all we could.  But your son…he died on the operating table.  We couldn’t bring him back.  I’m very sorry for your loss.”


            Loss…loss, the sound of the word twirling softly around the room in delicate tornado dances.


            The pain was physical and intense, so intense that for a moment there was absolutely nothing within the cage of his ribs.  He had expected it to hurt, but not like this, not so bad that it was all he could do not to throw up from sheer pain.  They say the truth will set you free, but God, if this is truth…


            (what is truth)


            truth is a harsh and cruel god.


           He could feel himself blacking out from the pain.  The room was looping over and over like a damaged video, swirling in grotesque blotches of color.  Strange how a white room could have so many colors…


(red black red black red black…and now, whenever he closed his eyes, that was all he saw – emergency flashers in the dark.)


red black red black…




“Brian…?”  Jenn’s voice filled the void in his chest and his heart thudded.  He hadn’t noticed that, for a moment, it had stopped completely.  Slowly the colors thinned like a veil, and through them he could see Jenn’s face.  “Brian…?” she whispered his name again.  Her eyes had the baffled look of a child betrayed for the first time.  Not comprehending.  Not crying.  Just faded, wilted, like a flower snapped from its stem.


Brian steadied himself against the row of plastic chairs and pulled Jenn close.  Now the pain was blunted, crushing rather than piercing.  A few minutes more, he knew, it would be gone completely, and in its place would be deadness, warm and enveloping.


After the pain comes the anesthesia. 


If life was as kind as the dentist, the anesthesia would come first.


He was numb.  He couldn’t feel her head against his chest, couldn’t feel her trembling under his touch.  So he enveloped her with someone else’s arms, comforted her with a voice that was not his own, because, just now, he did not have the strength to do anything else.


Nothing you can do for him in there, Mike had said…go in and be strong for your wife, Mike had said.  Nothing is an ugly word, as ugly as black. 


And loss.




            “Mr. Tracy…I’m sorry to bother you, but will you step over here for a moment?”  The colorful dotted scrubs couldn’t mask the whiteness of the girl’s face, the anguish in her eyes.  In this strange limbo state of emotion, Brian could feel for her, though he could not feel for himself.  Not anymore.  Not yet. 


But he could remember his first week on the job.  They had responded to a gruesome accident…there had been a child, a baby, only two years old….


            It had taken seven years for that image to leave his nightmares.


            “Mr. Tracy…?” the girl said again, hesitantly.  Shame flushed her cheeks.  That, too, Brian remembered – the clinging shame of intruding on the family’s grief.  He wished, perfunctorily, that he could do something to reassure her.  


            “I’m so sorry…but…um…your wife really should come, too.  If…if you want, I can keep an eye on your little boy while you’re gone…”   


Jenn’s sudden and swift response caught Brian off guard.  “No.  No, he’ll stay with us.” 


Brian could see the plea in her eyes and he knew the unreasoning terror behind it.


I know, my love.  I feel it too.


Christian stays with us.


So he turned and picked up his son, and together he and Jenn followed the girl in the polka-dotted scrubs down the hallway.


Decades passed before the nightmare was over, long aching hours full of strange and horrible things.  On TV it never showed this part: the impersonal, practical, nauseating details that followed.  It always cut to the grieving family at home. 


Real life wasn’t that easy.   


In real life they didn’t let you just go home and try to grieve.  There were papers, questions, merciless decisions to somehow be accomplished, and, meanwhile, a fog kept drifting…


(In, out, over, around…sometimes it surrounded him like the sea and he found himself drowning in it, half-tempted to never emerge.  And sometimes it faded suddenly, cruelly, so that that it was like losing her all over again.)


            See, I know how this goes.  But I don’t know how I am supposed to get through it again. 


            I don’t know if I want to.  


When it was all over, Brian and Jenn and Christian walked out in the twinkling night.  The rain had come early and so even in the dark everything was clean and sparkling and dewy. 


They were three.

~c. a.




5 thoughts on “The Foolish and the Weak 5.0

  1. Ok, so I read this a while ago, but I was checkin’ your blog–again–and thought I’d comment. ;)

    I think it’s really good, Carreen. Loved all the insight into Brian’s thought process. Usually, these kinds of inicidents focus on the mother’s perspective. It’s enlightening to hear something from the father…epsecially as it ties into his past “love” history. :)

    Also, can I just say, I love the last line. “They were three.” Perfect. Perfect. PERFECT!!!! It conveys the obvious message as well as the abruptness of Matthew’s death, the Tracys (does that get an apostrophe??? Tracy’s…Tracys’…) ability to think only in short, sporatic sentences…just brilliant!

    I’m anxious to see how this plays out.

    Love you!!!! We’ll talk more when we sync up. ;)

  2. The funny thing is, I have no insight on a father’s perspective other than my imagination, so it’s really not that enlightening…more like…um…imaginative? =)

    You’re so sweet! I liked the last line, too, but I wasn’t sure if it made sense in the context. I guess it did! Only you missed one of the coolest parts (which was totally unintentional): the three-ness is mirrored in the number of words in the sentence. That being said…I don’t think it lives up to your sentence about the polyester pants. Talk about brilliant…

    YES, “Tracys’ ability” most definitely gets an apostrophe! Should I remind you that you’re majoring in English and Communications, my friend? Or should I report you to Mrs. Ives? =) Just kidding.

    Ok. I must go. You’d like to know, I’m sure, that chapter six is, indeed, in the works, though with no break from CLEPs I don’t know exactly what that means…just that there is a document somewhere in my computer that says 6.0 on it, I guess.

  3. Lol…Hey! I’m majoring in English, not Grammar and Punctuation. ;) hahaha

    Like the blog changes. And a certain someone is waiting anxiously for 6.0!!!!

    Talk to you soon.
    Luv ya!

    1. And a certain someone else is so busy that she has dark circles under her eyes! I like being busy, but this is truly insane. And the worst of it is, it’s not like it’s something I could list. It’s just…stuff. That is all time consuming. That there are not enough hours in the day to complete. And then there’s emergency stuff, like the friend that went to the ER while we watched her little girl, or the…

      Never mind. Maybe over Christmas “break” (hah! They never told us that college students don’t get Christmas breaks, did they?) I’ll get some more writing done. We’ll see. Anyhow, glad you like the winter look…a little warmer, a little more intimate, still the same elegantly grungy ambiance that is so me. =)

  4. Gah.
    That was harsh.
    I didn’t believe you’d do it…then you did.
    Good job. Powerful. It makes me as a reader respect and pay more attention to the rest of the story.

    So now I see…it’s the nurses first week on the job supposedly so that’s why she’s all freaked out. I’ll accept that.
    And last but far from least: your italicized stuff just keeps getting better and better with every chapter. The parenthetical stuff flowed much more logically this time around and I didn’t feel the need to figure it out or anything. I think they’re the most beautiful part of the story and your experiment is paying off for sure. Can’t wait to see more once you have recovered from all your crazy times!
    You make me want to do more writing. Good thing I’m in a writing fiction class this next semester–hopefully I’ll have something to show for it in the end!

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