Friday, August 13, 2010

Family

Fiction Friday Prompt: The conversation took off when Louise mentioned Bruce Willis.


Louise straightened the books on the shelf and adjusted the pictures on the mantel. She rearranged the couch pillows until they were just so.

“That’s the fourth time you’ve done that,” Roger said.

“What?”

“The fourth time. Those pillows are fine.”

Louise ran her finger along the edge of the coffee table to remove nonexistent dust. “I just want to make sure everything is perfect.”

“He’s just a boy. He won’t care.”

Louise carefully perched on the couch, careful not to disturb anything. “And you’ve never met him?”

Roger sighed. “No. I told you about my baby sister. Reese was a free spirit. Her year in Europe turned into a life choice. She married that man in Serbia or Latvia or wherever. She never brought him or the boy home to meet the family. Once she got to Europe, she stayed.” Roger quickly brushed away a tear. “And now she’s gone forever.”

The doorbell made them both jump. Louise straightened the couch pillows once more as Roger went to open the door. Louise stepped up behind him.

A large woman filled the doorway. Her entire body slightly quivered, like she couldn’t hold herself still. “Mr. and Mrs. Ridgeway?”

“Yes.” Roger moved to allow her to come in.

“I’m Mrs. Pickney. From the agency.” She spoke in short bursts, machine gun fire of a verbal sort. She burst into the room and toward a chair. In her wake floated a boy. He settled in the chair beside her. “This is Dmitri Ivanovich.” She gestured but didn’t look at him.

Roger and Louise moved to the couch.  Mrs. Pickney pulled reams of paper from her large case. “Paperwork. Usual stuff. Mr. Ridgeway. Your signature.”

While Roger and Mrs. Pickney reviewed the papers, Louise studied the boy. His hair was long, the back brushing his shoulders and the front his eyebrows. Brown running to blonde. He wore long tan shorts, a blue t-shirt with a plaid shirt over. Rows of Silly Bandz ran up his arm from his wrist. Black Skechers with short white socks. Just a typical 10-year-old boy.

No, not so typical. He sat perfectly still. And his eyes held a deep sadness.

A flurry of papers caught Louise’s attention. “Okay. That’s it. Here’s my card. If you need me. Call anytime. Another appointment.” Mrs. Pickney scattered her comments toward them as she and Roger moved toward the door. “Good-bye. Dmitri.”

The boy still never moved. He didn’t even acknowledge the woman’s comments or departure.

Louise smiled at him. “Dmitri, we’re glad you’re here.”

“Div,” he said. He still didn’t move, just stared across the room at nothing.

“Okay, Div.” Louise smoothed her dress and Roger sat in the chair vacated by Mrs. Pickney. “They sent us the boxes of your things. We put them in your room.”

“ ’K.” Still no movement.

Louise smiled again. “I didn’t open them. I didn’t want to bother your things. I’ll help you put things away if you want.”

No response.

Roger said, “School doesn’t start for a while. You should have time to get used to things around here before you have to do that.”

No response.

Roger looked at Div for a few seconds, sat back, and wiped his eyes again.

Louise swallowed hard. “We have a few kids that live around here. About your age. And the man next door has a pool. He lets kids use it when he’s home. He’s a nice guy. Kinda looks like Bruce Willis. And....” Louise trailed off and swallowed hard again.

“Die Hard.” Div said.

Roger sat up and looked at him. “Reese’s favorite movie.” He smiled. “You watch that movie with your mom?”

Div nodded, a single tear tracking down his cheek. “Yippee-kay-yay.” A small smile played along his mouth.

Roger smiled, too. “I like the first one, but the second movie at the airport is my favorite.”

Div turned to look at him. They began to compare the explosions and bad guys and Bruce’s actions between the two movies.

They would always remember that the conversation...and their family...really started when Louise mentioned Bruce Willis.

11 comments:

  1. My wife suggested that I make the prompt the last line of the piece instead of the first line. This gave a really interesting additional challenge. This piece seems quieter than other things I tend to write.

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  2. It's wonderful. I love the idea of using Bruce to bridge the gap. Very well done.

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  3. Touching. I like how you've portrayed their emotions through their actions. Louise's character came through beautifully.

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  4. Touching. I like how you've portrayed their emotions through their actions. Louise's character came through beautifully.

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  5. Just goes to show the universality of the Hollywood action hero. Boys will be boys no matter the continent.

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  6. A very touching family moment. Very well told.
    Adam B @revhappiness

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  7. That was a sweet story. I liked your use of the prompt. Great dialogue.

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  8. Nice story with a great last line. Very Hollywood.

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  9. That's lovely - really heartwarming :-)

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  10. Lovely story, really thoughtfully written.

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  11. Nice, touching story. Well done.

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