“Where is he?” he asked.
“He’s out back,” she said.
They exited through the deck doors to the backyard.
“I thought you said he was here?” he asked annoyed.
“He was. Honey? Honey where are you? Your Dad popped by to say hi,” she shouted nervously.
“Up here!” The boy shouted back.
They looked up, high up, to see their nine-year-old sitting on a branch of the grand maple tree in the center of the yard.
“Oh Lord! Sweetie? What are you doing up there?” she exclaimed.
“Hiding out,” he replied shifting his weight on the branch.
“Why Chief? Whatcha hiding from?” he asked all buddy-like.
“You and Mom.”
She started to cry. “This is the kind of stuff he’s been doing lately. I don’t know how to fix it. He won’t say anything to me. He just slams doors and eats in his room.” She looked up again. “Sweetie? You don’t need to hide. Why don’t you come down here and we can all talk,” she tried to use psychology on him.
“I can talk from up here. Plus it won’t matter anyway. You guys don’t know how to talk to each other. All you do is fight and yell and it hurts my ears,” the boy noted maturely.
“Hey Chief, if you come down we can go to the pier to see the boat races and then pop over to the dairy for an ice cream? Whataya say?”
“I’ve seen boats Dad and I’ve had ice cream. Nice try though but I’m not five.”
“Son, you get down here right now or I’ll…” he threatened, losing his patience.
“Don’t yell at him,” she pleaded.
“Or what Dad? You’ll ground me? Cancel your visits?” the boy did his best to match wits.
“Sweetie, please, please come down?” she asked.
“Not until you and Dad stop divorcing,” he said looking up over the neighbourhood. He wished he could live up there. There, was peace.
“See what you’ve done? You’ve destroyed our family!” she said harshly.
“What? How exactly is it all my fault? You’re the one who stopped talking,” he replied defensive.
“I stopped talking because you stopped…” she couldn’t get the words out.
“What? What did I stop?” he asked, softening his tone a little.
She sniffed and then continued, “You stopped seeing me.”
He didn’t know what to say.
As he ran his hand through his thick dark hair he noticed something. “You… You’re still wearing it?” he asked more gently now.
She followed his eyes and reached for the small gold bowtie pendant she wore around her neck, his gift on their first anniversary. “I’ve never taken it off,” she sniffed again.
He looked at her now and tears were in his eyes. She looked at him. “How can you still wear it through everything that’s been going on these past few months?” he asked quietly. Meanwhile their son made his way down to a lower branch.
“I love you. Just because we don’t live in the same house doesn’t mean I’ve stopped loving you,” she cried. He took her hands in his.
And further down the boy came…
“I… I can’t believe you still wear it. I mean I love you too,” he said staring at his feet.
“Then what are we doing?” she asked.
“I don’t know.” he replied.
All of a sudden, they were interrupted by the child standing before them. “Are you getting back together?” he asked, hope in his eyes.
“I don’t know son. But maybe…” he turned to his wife, “Maybe there’s more here to save than I thought.”
She smiled through tears. “Maybe,” she whispered.
“Great! Can we order pizza and watch a movie tonight… together?” he asked, his eyes sparkling.
She looked at her soon-to-be ex and nodded just as hopeful. He smiled. “Yeah, if you’re mom doesn’t mind me hanging around.”
She smiled, “I guess I can put up with you, as long as You pay for pizza,” she teased.
“Deal,” he said and followed them both back into the house.
peekiequeen Fiction, c. Saturday, March 29, 2014
Writing Challenge: “One day a young boy climbs a tree and decides he won’t come down until his parents stop their divorce proceedings. Write about the event from the point of view of each parent.” 642 Things to Write about, The San Francisco Writers Grotto, c. 2011
Hi Paula, I really enjoyed reading this, thanks. I wonder how many people have gone ahead and divorced when some small intervention could have prevented it? He’s a canny young man!
Thanks for that Susan. Much fun to create a believable moment like this. I agree with you. I can only hope this might inspire someone in such a situation. All the best.
Good stuff! I thought it was an excerpt from your book and didn’t realize it was another writing challenge! Good quick thinking and writing 😉 B. On 3/29/14 2:11 PM, “The Expressib
Thanks so much.
What a lovely story. I really like how you interspersed the young boy climbing down from the tree as his parents began to appreciate each other. Really helped to keep him a strong focus in the story, and show how much it means to children that their parents get along.
Thanks Melissa. I wanted to emphasize that point that the kids really do take in more than we think. If only real life stories could end so hopeful and neat. Love the writing support! Thanks a lot.