Wednesday, December 17, 2008

My Life

Thanks for stopping by. This week I want to tell a strange story of one person's life. I wrote this many years ago, so you might notice a slight variation in my style. This story has had several different endings, but each time I read it, I would re-write it. I'm kind of sick of it, so I'm going to publish it now so I can move on to something else!

Enjoy...

My Life

What’s happening? What is this? Am I being born? It’s way too early; I’ve only been here for a few months. I feel as though I have just begun. I’ve been warm and cozy as I snuggle deep in my mother’s womb. There is so much to see and hear, but I am too young. If it is all right with everyone, I will stay right here, where it’s safe. After all, I know exactly who my parents are by the sound of their voices and what more could I possibly need to know about them?

Of course there is that yappy thing that makes a lot of noise when we are at home. It runs around yapping, like there is no tomorrow. But I know all there is to know about it, so I am content where I am right now. HEY! Hold on, I am staying here! You can’t make me leave! Oh man… Well, here goes nothing…

That wasn’t so bad, I guess. If you like being ripped from your warm home into a room full of people you’ve never seen. One of them even slapped me on the bottom while hiding behind a mask. That made me mad, and I told him about it too! Then I recognized a voice…my mother! Her arms are warm and safe; it feels good to lay here while she dries me with a towel. And let me tell you something, milk is the greatest thing I have ever come across. Shoot, I didn’t even know that I was hungry. I have my whole life to lay here in my mother’s arms. After all, I am very young…

Now what’s happening? My mother seems to be setting a cake on fire while everyone is singing to me! This is so much fun, but what is happening? I just love ripping those boxes apart. Imagine my surprise when I discovered little cartoon people are stuffed into the boxes. Everyone says that I am growing, but I can’t tell. I seem to be the same as always. Several things have happened since we last talked. First, milk makes something weird happen to you, but my parents take care of that after discussing whose turn it is. I also discovered that my mom and dad are the greatest people around, and that grandparents are a lot of fun. (Even if they don’t keep you for very long.) I also like something called strained peas. It feels good to squish them and they taste good.

About that yappy thing, we call him Dancer, mostly because he never stands still. His feet are always moving. I really like him. He let’s me pull his hair and tail because I don’t have any of my own to pull on. He even helps me get cereal off my hands. I think he is my best friend. I don’t have any more boxes to open, but that was fun. I hope to do it again soon.

It’s getting colder outside. My mommy makes me dress in really heavy clothes, but she sings to me while she does. It makes me happy. Yesterday, my Daddy built me a snowman that we call Frosty. He is so much fun, but he never moves around. These last few weeks have been fun. Just the other day, we sat around singing to a dead tree and ate candy out of our socks. I also get to open more boxes. It was even more fun this time. I hope that we do it again soon…


Well, I am getting around better now, sort of. The other day, I fell and hit my head. Daddy was there to pray for me and I feel better now. Dancer licked my face to whip away the tears. My daddy is big and strong. He always kisses Momma on the cheek when they put me to bed. Then they both kiss me goodnight. I love them a lot. Something funny happened to my mother. One day her stomach started getting bigger, I was told that my sister is in there. I couldn’t see her. I don’t see how that is possible, but I try to believe it. They tell me that in a few weeks I should have someone to play with, but Dancer and I don’t need anyone else. You know what? I really hate it when my mother makes me eat those green peas. They just taste horrible; I don’t see how anyone can stand them…

My sister had her first birthday today. We sang songs and ate some cake, but she never did blow out the candle. She opened her presents, but she never looked to see what was in them. It’s kind of dumb to wrap presents for a baby. My birthday is coming and I should get a fire truck. If not then, maybe Santa will bring one. My sister is not much fun. Everyone tells me that I have a playmate, but she can’t catch a ball, or ride a bike. Dancer can do all those things, well, sort of. Anyway, he is my best friend. Sometimes my dad will play catch with me and my mom will listen to me read stories to her. She cried when I went to school, so did I. I liked being at home. Besides, there isn’t anything I need to know. My teacher makes me stand in the corner during naptime, because I pretend to snore. When I got home, my Daddy spanked me, but then he hugged me. I know now that I can’t disobey teachers, and that I will be okay if Daddy spanks me. I did make some new friends, but I still like Dancer better…

Can you believe it? My sister plays T-ball now. Kids are so dumb. She hits the ball, and then runs the wrong way. I’m glad that I never did that. I won the sportsmanship trophy this year. My coach says I will play really well when I get older. The other day, the ball hit me, but Daddy rubbed some dirt on it and I felt better. Dads always know how to fix things. My mom cries a lot. We aren’t sure why, but daddy yells a lot and it makes my sister cry also. Me and Dancer go outside and play Army.

This year for Christmas, I got a new ball glove and a BB gun. Daddy whipped me when I shot our neighbor’s cat. It didn’t die, but I had to apologize anyway. My sister plays with dolls all the time. She is pouring them tea and teaching them how to add numbers. She plays ball with me some. She can’t throw very hard, but I pretend that she can! And when we race, I let her win sometimes. Dancer is getting older. Dad says that he has authritis, but he still catches the ball. My momma doesn’t enjoy her job very much. She wants to quit, but dad says that we can’t make it if she does. Daddy doesn’t play with us much anymore. He is too busy or too tired. I miss him sometimes when he works late. He says that we will go watch the Dallas Cowboys soon, I hope so…

Dad says that money was tight this year, but I got a new stereo for Christmas. Junior high isn’t much fun. All the guys laugh at me when I strike out in baseball, and the girls call me ugly. I can’t wait until I am in high school; maybe then everyone will like me. We moved to a new house just down the street. Dad says that in seven years we can buy our old house back. I hope so, that is where Dancer is buried. Even though boys aren’t supposed to cry, I cried when he died. So did my sister. She is a brat now, and she still plays with dolls. My mom is glad that she doesn’t have to work anymore. I am glad too, cause now she cooks again. I heard one of her friends make fun of her for not working, but my mom is happy now. Dad took us on a camping trip this year and it was a lot of fun. We finally saw the Cowboys play this Thanksgiving. They lost, but I got an autograph. We have a new dog, but my sister plays with him more than I do. When I throw it a ball, she runs off and I have to chase her to get the ball back. Dumb dog…

My parents hate my music. They say that it’s too loud. They don’t like my friends, either. But they are the only ones I have. My mom is worried that I am doing bad things, but I don’t. My dad always taught me better. I would hate to disappoint him. I don’t think that they trust me much. My sister has a new boyfriend now. He’s a nice guy, but he wears braces. My mom is going to college. She seems to enjoy it, and sometimes we study together. My dad is the Vice President now and he has more time to play golf. They always come to my ball games. This year we are going to the playoffs. My dad thinks I will get a scholarship, I hope he is right. My grandfather helped me buy a new car. I have a pickup and I keep a rope in the back window, although I am not a cowboy. My sister wants a Volkswagen. Last week I got into a fight with a football player when he said something about my sister. I don’t care that I was suspended for a few days. My dad yelled at me, but he said that he understood…

College is a lot of fun, more than high school. At lest the girls are prettier. My girlfriend and I go to the movies every Friday. I am still playing ball, and grandparents came to watch today’s game. My mom is in one of my classes this year, and it was weird. Everyone else liked her, but I didn’t say much to her. My sister is into acting. For some reason, she wants to do dog food commercials. She is also going to marry a famous actor, but I keep telling her that she has to meet him first. My parents finally managed to buy our old house back. I was very happy for them, but my room is stored in the attic. My old room is my dad’s office now. This year my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer; her doctors sound positive. My girlfriend’s parents are getting divorced…

I can’t believe that I am now married. It seems like yesterday that I got my first ball and glove. I guess that I am now a man, but I don’t feel like it. I have graduated from a university, but that doesn’t seem possible, either. My new job is okay, but it isn’t as much fun as college. Everyday I come home and I am glad that I have such a beautiful wife. God has blessed me. Occasionally we still go to church with my parents, but not very often. We still have a lot of time left, I am still young. My dad doesn’t understand why my mom went to college if she isn’t going to work, but she just smiles at him. My wife and I hope to have children some day, but we aren’t in a hurry….

Where has the time gone? This morning I took my son to school, and then to practice. From there, I had to take him to some youth deal at church, and then to a friends house. I don’t remember playing ball that much when I was his age. We still don’t go to church, but I think about it all the time. My folks go now, and we visited their church, but I’m not ready to settle down just yet…

I was laid off from the plant yesterday, and I don’t know how we will pay the bills, but we always find a way. I think I’ll try my hand at my own business. Maybe it’s time for me to take a chance on it. It’s hard to find work at my age. Having just placed my mother in the nursing home doesn’t help any either. Once we lost my father, she just went downhill, physically, that is. She’s still after me to go to church. I do intend to do so some day, but I’m not ready to settle down yet….

My granddaughter’s wedding was yesterday. She married a complete boob. Where did she find that freak, at the Little Shop of Horrors? What’s gotten into kids these days? Well, at my assisted living home, my next door neighbor collapsed on her porch and lay there all night until someone found her. She went to the hospital, but she died anyway. She reminds me of my mom in that she’s always nagging at me about going to church. I really don’t have a problem with God or church or anything, but I just don’t want to settle down yet. I’m not through having fun. I’ve been a widower now for two years, and I can’t even remember what my wife looked like unless I see her picture…

My death was today. I would tell you more about that, but I’m no longer in control of what I do. That horrible despair I feel as I sink lower and lower into the abyss is indescribable, and that inky blackness that has surrounded me makes me cold and alone. I feel as though I’m being pulled to anther place, and I can hear the screams as if thousands of voices were being tortured at the same time. This can’t be happening to me! Something has grabbed me and I’m being…..

The Beginning.

24 comments:

Tracy said...

WOWZER! I need time to process this one!!! Blessings and Mery Christmas!

Avily Jerome said...

Interesting.
I liked the way the voice changed as he grew older. I could really feel the transition from when he was a baby to a junior-higher to an adult to an old man. Very nicely done!

The one thing I felt like it was lacking was some more motivation. What was he doing that was so much fun that he couldn't settle down and go to church? I realize it was short, but I felt like he didn't have a good excuse (not that any excuse is good, obviously, but he really didn't have any).

He kinda drifted through life with absolutely no purpose- which was probably part of the point, but at the same time he kept saying "I'm not ready to settle down yet." It was hard for me to picture him not settling down when he wasn't doing anything to settle down from.

Anyway, great story! Really makes you think! Thanks for sharing it.

Travis said...

That was a challenge to get his voice to change. Took several attempts to get the effect right.

I think you hit several key points, Avily. How often do we lie to ourselves that what we are doing is too good to give up? I'll admit that he seemed to be somewhat disjointed. So, what was he harboring that prevented him from getting serious with God? Interesting, in deed.

Let me know what you finally settle on, Tracy. And, Wowzer is another funny word!

Beatriz said...

Want some pictures from your camping trip

Alison Bryant said...

Funny word...indeed.

Apart from the spiritual message, I really enjoyed most being reminded of a child's perspective. That's so hard to remember sometimes (at times I think I was born with an adult perspective!), so it's nice to see things through young eyes.

Sarah said...

Good story. You told the first half very well through the eyes of a child. Have you written any other stories from the perspective of a youngster?

Anonysister said...

Oh! I loved the part about milk doing something weird to you... and the parents taking care of that after discussion. :)

Travis said...

Sarah-
No, not from the eyes of a child. This story is strange for me because it's in 1st person--something I'm not too skilled with. I do have a story written from a dog's point of view. Maybe I'll dust that one off sometime soon.

Alison-
I have trouble imagining you as a youngster also.

Anony-
Thanks for visiting. I promise to keep tossing out strange stories every so often, and you are welcome back anytime.

Beatriz-
Hmmm. If you can find when and where I went camping, you can see the pictures. But, I suspect you are simply trying to trick me into visiting your website.

Sarah said...

Dog's point of view? I'd be very interested in reading that one! And I'm not great at writing in first person either. It doesn't come easy for me. But you know what they say, practice makes perfect!

Rosslyn Elliott said...

I think this is a great exercise in character voice and POV! You should patent it. :-)

Jesse and Sarah said...

Okay, I guess I feel stupid, because I read it all, and feel discouraged, or lost, or sad, or something....I'm going to ask my husband to read it now to explain it to me....be patient with me....
(Smile)...

Travis said...

Thanks for stopping by Rosslyn. I'll get my legal team working on the patent.

Sarah-
I should provide a disclaimer with all of my stories, which tend to have an edge to them.

Jesse and Sarah said...

So my husband says at the very end, where some people would describe the screaming of a thousand people as hell, that this could be from the babies perspective from the screams of his mother's birth pains....a flashback....the beginning....

Yet, then he continues his thought that maybe you're giving a darker ending that if the man is descending into hell, than that is his 'beginning' for his death...his eternal death....for he never settled....anywhere....

wait, but then now he's rambling saying that he doesn't really think that's where you were going with this, that you are really pointing out that he is procrastinating and perhaps that whole description of his whole life flashing before his eye's is Christ showing him the importance of life and that therefore he reveals this mans life flashing from beginning to end for him. This man needs to attend church, settle down, and apply the importance of what life really is; Christ.

Jeez....(wife, Sarah L. writing now), this is my first visit to your blog (we're Texan's too! 'Don't mess with Texas!) and my mind is all torn up over this post....I think the Houston snow we got last week has my brain still in defrost or something. But I do love trying to figure this out....it's like a puzzle...enigma, that I'm somewhat stuck over....I can't help that it bothers me though. Somehow saddens me.....

Travis said...

Sarah-
Allow me to relieve you of your distress. Jesse's instincts were right when he concluded that this story documents that this is a darker story of the man descending into hell, the fruits of a life spent without Christ. The man had the best start possible. He had good parents, good upbringing, and good opportunities, yet he continued to embrace his own lawless lifestyle, thereby rejecting the grace of God. His life was wasted in the meaningless issues that he chose to embrace. When he died, he was found to be without Christ and was banished from God's presence into the depths of Hell. The beginning was most assuredly the end of his physical life. As Winston Churchill once said, "We are not at the end, nor are we at the beginning of the end, but maybe we are at the end of the beginning." This man is now forced to face an eternity of damnation because he refused to yield his life to Christ, despite the opportunities to do so. You were right to be sad, for he wasted his whole life. Quite a tragedy, if you know what I mean.

Thanks for visiting my blog. I hope this unpleasantness won't deter you from returning sometime in the future. And God bless Texas!

Jesse and Sarah said...

Thanks Travis for your patience and resolution to your post. And puuuuhlease, keep my husband and I from visiting again? I always enjoy reading other Christian blogs and following them.....I was just now reading Billy's from 'What I learned today....' and it broke me...of course being a woman things often do. That's why I have my lovely husband....he reads the things I ask for help on and graciously breaks it down for me. He's not always right, but he's a lot smarter than I am, which is great for the times when he brings things down to my level, which is more often than I'd like to admit.

We like your blog! We will visit it again and put you on our blogroll to keep us updated.

Nice meetin' ya'll! (You and your wife.) Until next time....

Travis said...

Sarah and Jesse,
I appreciate you for engaging me with your comments. Your instincts were right when you were somewhat dismayed, so I think you are more than capable of disecting a story for base-line truth. Billy Coffee is a master story teller, and he is theologically sound. I'm an anxious follower of his blog.

Billy Coffey said...

This is a great story (my wife seconds that). Love the POV, too.

And thanks for the compliment!

gzusfreek said...

Travis!
The comment section of this blog is almost as great as the story! Wowzer, camping trips that lead to other blogs, the dog's point of view, and precious Sarah and her husband Jesse.
This story reminds of a play/skit I watched at Church camp one year. Have you thought about doing it as a one man play?
Haunting really - The biggest distraction from Christ is no distraction at all. That comfortable feeling that we get that says, "I'm not evil, I'm good and happy, I don't need Christ." It's the saddest story of all. I think sadder than the man sitting in prison for theft, drugs, rape and murder. Sadder! (or is it more sad mmmm) Just me.
Thanks for such a great story and great discussion!

Thankful Paul said...

Hello

Gwen Stewart said...

Travis, the rhythm of this, the voice was amazing. I loved it. I smiled a lot at the beginning but as it went out, got the gist and lost my smile.

Very powerful.

I have to ask though, when mom and sister were crying, I THINK I got the timing (and their ages) about right. It gave me a bigger smile.

Again, I loved this. Wonderfully done.

Gwen Stewart said...

Oops, didn't proofread well enough. I meant went ON, not went OUT. Sheesh...I need a nap. :)

Travis said...

Hi Gwen,
I hope you have settled in for a long Christmas break! The crying--Well, that is a rather obscure reference, isn't it? What I was trying to do was build in some friction that normal people experience. In this instance, I was alluding to financial issues, but I'm not certain it came across that way. More marriages fail over money, if I remember my stats correctly. When mom and dad are stressed and yelling, it can impact the lives of the children and frighten them. That's why they had to buy the house back, because they lost it.

Thanks for your comments, and try to settle in for a long winters nap!

Amy Deardon said...

Travis, after reading this I had to sit quietly and think. How very sad for your character.

Travis said...

Amy-
Welcome back. I hope things settle down for you some, and very soon, too!

Frankly, I'm rather amazed at the reaction to this story. It's never been one of my favorites, and I actually avoided posting it for a long time because I never really knew what to make of it. I suppose that I was so familiar with it that I was somewhat immune to its effect.

Thanks for stopping, and keep your powder dry!