Tag Archives: home

Fiction: Family Home (572 words)

Eleanor was always excited when Grampy came home. She would rush to the front door when she heard his truck honk at the end of the long dirt drive, flinging herself down the stairs to greet him as he unfolded himself from the front seat of the pickup. He would scoop her up into his arms and swing her round, before pulling her in tight with an almost crushing hug. He always smelled of salt and sweat and fish, which she could never tolerate for too long—but it also smelled to her like homecoming.

He would place her back on her feet, grab his bag out with one hand, and hold her little hand with the other, and they’d make their way back up the porch steps. That’s usually where they went their separate ways. Grampy would stop for a second to hug Eleanor’s mother, his only daughter, and then march his way upstairs for a shower and quick shave. Eleanor would dip into the kitchen behind her mother, and start preparing Grampy’s lunch.

Ever since she was six years old, Eleanor insisted that she make it herself, carefully slicing pieces of bread off the big loaf (under her mother’s watchful eye) lathering them with mayonnaise and mustard, before carefully stacking lettuce, tomato, cheese and giant chunks of ham between the slices. She’d leave her mother to cut the sandwich into quarters, while Eleanor ran to the fridge for the potato salad and pasta salad that she and her mother always made the night before Grampy came home. With two heaping helpings of the salads, and the quarters of the sandwich carefully arranged on the plate—The plate was set down at Grampy’s usual space in the dining room.

During the meal, it was her mother’s turn though. While Grampy ate, he and her mom discussed the farm in the weeks since he left, what animals were doing well, doing poorly, and discussing the thoughts and plans that her mom had come up with while she was running the place. They stayed at the table until all the business was discussed. Eleanor never spoke during this, but she listened to every word, absorbing as much as she could. After all, one day it would be her job to run this place, and she didn’t want to disappoint them by doing anything wrong.

But once the business talk was done, it was Eleanor’s night again. They went to the living room, where Grampy would sit in his usual spot on the couch, leaning heavy on the couch cushions, propping his feet up on the coffee table. Eleanor stretched out along the length of the couch, resting her head gently on a pillow placed on Grampy’s knees. He would start telling her about the trip out on the boats for the last couple of weeks. She knew all about exaggeration and “fishermen’s tales” but she would still shut her eyes and listen to the stories, imagining them all happening exactly as he described them.   Eventually, she would fall asleep there on his lap, visions of giant fish and wild storms chasing her and her Grampy through her dreams.

The next morning, she would wake up in her own bed with no memory of how she got there—and would hurry to get dressed, desperate not to waste a moment of her Grampy being home before he went back out onto the boat again.

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Posted by on June 6, 2017 in Stories


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Fiction: Dividing Things (427 words)

Jack and Olivia sat on the opposite sides of the kitchen table. They knew this was going to be hard.  They knew that there was a lot of things that had to be done, a lot of things that had to be considered, and that if they couldn’t come to an agreement, things would get nasty fast. Neither of them wanted this to get nasty.   They still loved each other—probably always would—but they just knew this had to end.

Olivia was going to get the kitchen furniture, but Jack was going to get all the pots, pans, and the fancy knife set. Jack was going to take the bedroom furniture, except for the antique vanity table that once belonged to Olivia’s grandmother. The living room furniture was junk anyway, so they were just going to get it thrown away.  Jack was going to be responsible for the selling of the house, and after the mortgage was paid off, the remaining money would be split evenly between Olivia and Jack.   There were a hundred other little details that they all hashed out and typed up.

Jack picked up the printed copies from the printer, and handed Olivia one of the copies. “Okay.  It all looks good to me, but have your lawyer look it over just to make sure that it is all above board.  I’ll do the same, and we can make an official appointment to sign it all properly and what not.”

“Sure,” Olivia tried to put on a brave face, “of course.”

“Hey,” Jack reached out a hand, looking concerned, “I know you’re not really okay, but are you okay-ish?”

Olivia took his hand, and let him pull her in for a hug.  They had agreed they had to stop doing that, because it was just going to keep making this harder, rubbing salt in the wound and what not.  But right then she didn’t care at all, she needed him to hold her close.  “Yeah. It’s just—this was supposed to be our home, Jack. Our Forever Home.” She mumbled weakly.

“I know,” Jack sighed, “I feel it too.”

Olivia took a few deep breaths, steadied herself, and pulled free of Jack’s embrace. “Okay.  I’ll give you a call when my lawyer says it’s all good.  Probably sometime next week.”

For one second, it looked like Jack was going to grab her back, hold her tight, only one thought away from calling off the whole divorce.  But then the second passed.  “Right. Sounds good,” He smiled, “I’ll talk to you next week.”

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Posted by on April 27, 2016 in Stories


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Fiction: Locked Out (284 words)

He swore quietly as the key got jammed, and he had to rip it out of the lock and start again.  Sean had not had the day for this, and he was in no mood to be locked out of his own apartment through no fault of his own.  Again.

He managed to finesse the lock just so, and get inside after about eighteen minutes.  It took all his willpower not to just chuck his keys as hard as he could against the far living room wall.  It might feel good in the moment, but would really suck when he had to look for his keys, and for when he had to re-spackle the wall to cover the dent the keys would undoubtedly make. Because he was definitely mad enough to make a dent with the keys.

Instead, he let the keys drop into the bowl beside the front door and fished his cell phone out of his pocket.  It only rang once before cutting straight to voicemail.  James knew what he’d done wrong.  Sean waited patiently for the peep before turning on the kindest voice he could manage.  “James, Hey, It’s Sean Phillips from 2B at 17th street. IT took me a solid eighteen minutes to get my front door unlocked today.  I thought we agreed that the locks would be fixed this weekend?   Give me a call back soon, or I’m going to get my own locksmith and I’ll send you the bill.  Your call, James.  Hear from you soon.”

Sean disconnected the line and fell down onto his couch.  He’d give James twenty four hours to get back to him–and then it was time to find another solution to the problem.

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Posted by on February 11, 2016 in Stories


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Fiction: Finally Home (175 words)

They were exhausted.  It’d be a long day of travel, and it wasn’t like it was an easy road they were following.  Harlowe had fallen four times earlier in the day, and she was the one with rough road experience.  Conlyn was pretty sure that he was more bruise than anything else at this point.

None of them actually made it up the stairs to their bedrooms.  Harlowe collapsed into an armchair, curling up into a ball, hiding her head under both of her arms.  Hana fell onto the couch, and might have been asleep before she was even properly horizontal. Conlyn looked between the occupied chair, the occupied couch, and the staircase.  He didn’t even have the proper energy to make a decision, or process the situation well enough to understand there was a decision to be made.

After a moment, he just crumbled into a ball where he stood, curled up on himself and slept in the middle of the living room.  He could worry about everything else, anything else, in the morning.

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Posted by on January 25, 2016 in Stories


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Fiction: Round Trip Ticket (137 words)

She liked being away from home.  There was something excellent about seeing things she’d never seen before or talking to people she’d never met, or experiencing things that she’d never dreamt she’d be doing.  They often told her with a scoff that she was born with an explorer’s heart and a young soul and it was teasing that she would gracefully and eagerly live up to.

But, at the same time, there was something lovely about coming home, about driving along streets that she’d known since childhood, to see friends a family, and to just be completely comfortable with everything around her.  She loved knowing all the secrets of the place and being able to navigate with her mind turned off.

She was completely of two minds about where she wanted to be, and that was perfectly okay.

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Posted by on February 14, 2015 in Stories


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Fiction: Home (618 words)

Well, Growing up I spent most of my time in the little red church.  Not because we were particularly religious, because my family wasn’t.  I mean, we were religious—Mom sang in the choir and every Sunday we put on dresses and bows and tried to sit still for an hour and fifteen minutes.  But it wasn’t just that.  My parents are the type of people who can never quite sit still.  They always have to have something to do—that’s probably one of the reasons that on their fifth wedding anniversary they already had five children under five, and Mom was four months pregnant with one more…but I digress.

Even with so many children to pack up and cart away every time they left the house, my parents didn’t like to spend extended time at home if they could avoid it.  Every night, there was some event to go to, sometimes more than one back to back, most held in the “fellowship hall” of the Presbyterian church, affectionately known to the town as ‘The Little Red Church.’ Some things we got to attend—Children’s choir, Boy, Girl, and Adventure Scouts meetings, tutoring sessions and “Get Ahead” classes. But most were just for the parents, Bible studies and book clubs and craft classes and a slew of other things that would have gone well over our collective heads.  Those days we spent our time in the “play room” with all the other children whose parents who didn’t want to spend a quiet night at home, and two bored teenagers who were paid eight dollars an hour to make sure we didn’t break anything including each other.  Those were some of my favorite days.

In that playroom, with the mural of the small forest animals along one of the long walls and the toys that were always missing at least one piece, I leaned more useful life skills than I ever did from school.  I was introduced to my first case of social politics, as seven families worth of kids tried to figure out how to play in the same space and with each other.  I learned the power of family and numbers as we six Andersens quickly learned that if we presented ourselves as a united force, we were intimidating to face and even harder to beat.  I saw my first taste of heartbreak as eighteen children played with hushed voices while one teenage girl cried and the other tried to comfort her and explaining what “Broken Up” meant to the children brash enough to ask what was happening.  I learned about the effects of alcohol as my mother returned from a church banquet pink in the cheeks and leaning on my father’s arm a little heavily—and then I learned that some things shouldn’t be said aloud as my father answered what was wrong with Mom with “a little too much wine” and I replied loud enough for everyone to hear, “Isn’t a little too much wine what led to Natalie?” and was quickly ushered to the car by my embarrassed father and giggling mother.  I earned my first taste of responsibility when the church said I was old enough to help watch the other children, now at a whopping $8.50 an hour, and I spent all of my first paycheck on CDs that I barely listened to.  I even practiced my algebra as I figured out how many hours I was going to have to work in order to afford tickets to a concert in May.

So, when you ask me which street was home, I don’t really know what to tell you, because my first thought will always be of the play room in the little red church on the hill.

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Posted by on December 19, 2014 in Stories


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Fiction: “Welcome Home, Baby” (99 words)

He whispered directly into her ear as he hugged her close, and his voice exploded a little ball of joy that started in her chest and warmed her to the very tips of her fingers and toes.  That voice that she’d recognized before she knew how to recognize.  The voice that meant joy and punishment and pride and disappointment and everything in every direction in between, but most of all, Love. Safety. Protection. An unfaltering reminder that she’d always have a home here in his arms if she wanted it.  She started to cry, and she didn’t care who saw.

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Posted by on March 31, 2014 in Stories


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