Monday April 4th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the collision.

Soccer class started back up this afternoon and this time around Natalie is also signed up. Which was glorious, for all of about half a minute.

I was sitting in the stands, just starting to chat with a friend, when Natalie asked Max to come down to the gym floor to run around with her before class began. And he actually went without wanting me to go with him!

Unfortunately they were not the only ones running around. And Max was looking directly at Natalie beside him while running full steam ahead. So he did not see the other girl coming, who also apparently did not see him coming.

Big cry, long cuddle. He said he was okay to start class (which was only about a minute later) but once the drills started he wasn't participating at all. I asked him if he wanted to stay or just go home and he said go home, so that was that.

Hopefully next week goes better.


By the time we met it felt like we'd been on a collision course for years. Maybe even since birth. That's not me being some hopeless romantic. It's just how it felt. Inevitable. Inescapable. Like neither of us had any say in the matter.

Which, I gotta tell you, ain't a great way to start a relationship.

Resentment festers in an environment like that. We were always looking for someone to blame but could never agree on who was responsible for the mess we found ourselves in. Me? Her? My friends? Her parents? God?

And, the crazy thing is, the answer was simple: nobody.

There was nobody to blame. We could have left each other at any time. Somehow, we convinced ourselves that we were stuck with each other. That separation was not an option.

I'm still not sure how we made it down the aisle together. Then kids came. One. Two. Three. Daughter. Son. Daughter. Each one like another nail in the coffin. A tightening of the leash, at the very least. So many years in the rear-view now. I have trouble remembering any of them clearly. Thank the booze for that, I suppose.

So, no kids, I don't miss your mother now that she's gone. I'm sorry if you were hoping to hear something different. To be completely honest, all I feel is fear.

Because a part of me believes the universe will still find a way to keep us together.


morganna said...

Coming straight on
Roaring head-on to
An awful
Smash up

Greg said...

@Morganna: as always your acrostics are elegant and suave and generally better-dressed and -mannered than me, and I'm rather jealous actually. The last line really works for me here too.

@Marc: Not sure how I missed commenting on this post (and the next) but I'm sure I had a good reason. Or at least a lot of work. That sounds like quite a shock for Max, and I can see why he'd be upset by it and prefer going home. I hope he got over it fairly quickly!
Hmm, not exactly a tale of happy families you're telling here! Still, I love the inevitability that you put into it all the way through, the kind of weight that fills the story and makes you wonder if there's a happy ending. And then you reach the end and realise that there probably isn't. For a whole lot longer. Bravo!

The collision
A hiss of steam escapes into the night air and condenses rapidly above our heads. A gentle shower of rain falls back down and patters in little tick-tapping noise on Teller's brass back and the umbrella that I'm holding. The urchins chatter and scatter, some clinging to my legs to try and avoid getting wet, others running out from under our temporary weather system. The dogs, Teller and Quill, seem to have a more advanced steam-engine than the spiders, but the leakage of energy and steam is equally prodigious. I'm certain now that I wouldn't like to have Quill pursuing me in anger.
I did have Quill run down one of the urchins as a test to see what he could do, and the pounding weight of those brass paws shook the ground and made my heart beat in double time, and I had to send the urchin back home to clean up and change his clothes. I shall have to think carefully about setting Quill up as a guard-dog: I don't need the gendarmerie coming around to investigate death by dog. Even if he is a steam-hound.
The smell of burnt pine suddenly reappears; we had it ten minutes ago and then it went again. I think there's a breeze bringing it towards us so that it fails when the breeze drops, but it's hard to tell. Teller reacts immediately, his heavy head coming up with another explosive release of steam and his eyes shining yellowly in the night like a jaundiced bear. He swings his head from side to side, and a smell of mineral oil – cold, greasy, and harsh – mixes with the burnt pine and a grinding noise as gears mesh and disengage makes the hairs on my arms stand on end. Then he points, a paw coming up off the ground and indicating a direction.
Quill leaps, and races in that direction. The noise startles birds and sends them screaming out of the trees, and the urchins cluster around me, pressing in against my legs and unbalancing me. I have to lean against Teller to catch my balance, and he turns his end to regard me balefully. I regain my balance as fast as I can and stop leaning on him.
More pounding feet and then an explosion of grass and branches and Quill is back. He lays something at my feet and sits back on his huge haunches. Moonlight makes him look like a statue. It makes what he's laid at my feet look almost human.
I look closer, feeling my skin chill and goosebumps grow. Almost human is too close for comfort; this ought to be human if humans came in silver and about a third normal size. I poke it with a toe, wondering if it's still alive, and its head rolls away from the body, revealing springs, wires and green flakes dotted with silver. It's not human, but it looks like a human.
I look at Quill; I know this is important.
"Good boy," I say. "Show me where the meteorite struck."

Marc said...

Morganna - yet another well done acrostic. I think it's fair to say at this point that these are your specialty :)

Greg - I suspect work was the reason :)

Thank you for the kind words on mine! Reading these last few over now I feel like I must have had so much more time and energy back before Miles was born.

Hurray for you continuing this tale! And without me having to pester you too much about it :P

Fantastic stuff, as usual. I am getting very caught up in this world you've created.