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Whistler Writers’ Group short stories

The Good Son

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In May 2002, Stella Harvey formed The Whistler Writers’ Group, affectionately known as The Vicious Circle, to support aspiring writers in the community. The group has been a raging success with over 40 members gathering each month to read, chat and critique each other’s work. The collective is also responsible for an on-going and incredibly successful series of public readings and workshops. This story is the fourth of eight short works of fiction that were presented at the Feb. 22-23 Literary Leanings event at Uli’s Flipside, part of Celebration 2010 Whistler Arts Showcase.

 

The Good Son

The boy trundled forward in cartwheel and landed, limbs akimbo, on the grass. Around him the green earth gave way to flower beds, bloomed and dotted, along the fence, against the side of the house. He tilted his head and watched a beetle, tiny and crawling, flicked at it with his finger. It was funny the way they couldn’t see things. The air was a white hot oven of heat and there was nothing better than to lay here on the grass. He’s a nomad, his father would laugh, in watch of his solitary son. Self contained, his mother would hasten to add, though never in front of him. Slender of thought and action.

The boy’s eyes slid up the side of the house, up to the kitchen window where his mother’s hand flailed now, almost shouting, like a bird trapped on the other side of the glass. His father’s shoulders walked past her, cut off by the curtains, and she followed him, walking quickly. "Go outside and play." His mother’s voice had been high and tight when she’d asked him, like the bow on a violin, and he looked up from his place on the floor, caught her eyes, red and puffed like the time at Aunties, and gathered his trucks, knew better than to argue.

His mother’s wrist shot past the window now, clean and slender, finger out and pointed, wedding ring glinted and flashed. His father was wearing the green tie, the one from the school bazaar, and it hung like a snake on his chest. The boy looked at the sky, waved his arms back and forth, like an angel, dug his toes into the plush cool of lawn. He wondered when they would be finished. He hated when they were like this, and always after there was too much silence in the house, and all the rooms felt empty.

The boy felt his stomach rumble and he looked back towards the kitchen window. It was lunchtime. He knew this because his father was home. His mother was crying openly now, he couldn’t hear her but he could see, her shoulders shaking softly, her chin tucked in against her chest. His father was staring out the window at something, and the boy rolled over on his stomach, waved from his place on the grass. "Papa?" he called cautiously, still waving. His father raised his head and the boy felt his eyes graze over him, refusing to catch.

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