You Won’t Get This: A Short Story

2681_1119438663245_5165311_n

short story by Seth Dombach (Kloipy)

I now present my non-winning entry for NPRs ‘Three Minute Fiction’ contest. The contest was to write a story that was in the style of a voicemail. Here is my attempt

 

Hey Uncle John. I know you won’t get this message. I don’t know why I’m even leaving this on here, but I guess I’m compelled to for some reason or another. I guess it just feels like I need to tell you this. Um, I don’t know how to really say this so I wrote it down so I could get it out for what I really had to say but even that doesn’t feel right, so here it goes anyway.

I first wanted to say that I’m sorry that I didn’t stay on the phone with you longer the last time we talked. It’s not that I didn’t want to talk to you. I know I told you that I was busy and had to go, but I know that you knew I was lying about that. Honestly, I didn’t even mean to lie when I got on with you, it just kind of blurted out. I want you to know that it wasn’t that I didn’t want to talk with you, but, and I know this is a cop out; it was too hard to do it.

For a long time it was easy to pretend that you were ok. Like, I thought maybe it was getting better, or maybe if I didn’t think about it, it would, I don’t know, go away or something like that. But in the past few months it just got harder and harder to lie to myself about it. I could just tell from your voice that you were getting weaker and that things weren’t looking good. The last time I saw you we got a chance to spend a lot of time together and that was so much fun and meant so much to me, but I could also tell that you weren’t fully yourself. The last time we spoke, I could hardly recognize it was you. You sounded so tired and it just wrecked me to have to hear you like that. It just made it too real and I wasn’t ready to accept that. Like if I didn’t talk to you it would go away and the next time would be different.

It wasn’t that I didn’t have anything to say, because I could talk with you forever. I didn’t want to have a ‘last’ conversation. I didn’t know how to say something that would be profound or life changing or anything like that. In a way I didn’t want to hear that from you either. I wanted it to just be a normal call with nothing behind it. Just talking like we always did.

Now, I feel like a coward because I couldn’t be strong enough to just tell you again one last time how much you meant to me. I hope I was able to show you that and I meant it when I told you before that you were closer to me than anyone in my family. It was like for once being able to know that I wasn’t alone, I had someone related to me that understood, and that bond we had was just instant, you know?

I know that nothing in life is ever permanent except this. I guess I knew deep down that our time was short. I just thought that it wasn’t fair that it was passing by too quick. I wish I could have been as strong as you. I wish we could talk again. I just hope you know how much I loved you even if I couldn’t say it one last time.

How to Walk in the Woods

outlook

The sound of grass crumpling beneath my feet was the music of my childhood. I grew up in the country of Central Pennsylvania, surrounded by woods, streams, and fields. Every day was another chance for adventure, and very rarely was a nice day spent indoors. As a child I couldn’t wait to get dressed, throw on my shoes, fill my canteen, jump on my bike, and speed off into nature. Sometimes I would bring a journal along, noting what types of birds I came across. Other times it would be my parent’s binoculars with me looking like some miniature environmental scientist. Regardless of what was brought, each day was like setting out of some sort of Lewis and Clark style adventure, there was always something to be discovered. Continue reading