Little Boy Blue

I think I’m a pretty happy person. But, for some reason writing sad or tragic comes easiest to me. I love the emotionally charged feeling that comes with describing tragic scenes. When I’m reading, I love how an author can make you feel anguish through their use of words. As I’m writing every day now, my description has changed and evolved. I’m finding new ways to convey the feelings in my stories.

For Mid-Week Blues-Buster this week I wrote, “Little Boy Blue.” With the music choice, you’d think I would have picked adult protagonist, but this just came to me, and what do you do? You write what comes.

Here’s the song:

And here’s the story:

Little Boy Blue
621 word count

She lay on her back on the floor of the blue room, dirt securely stuck under her tiny fingernails. She stared at the mobile, gently swirling around as the light rays streaming through the window seemed to make it move. The crib sat, empty in the corner. She had peeked into it earlier, looked through the slates to make sure no one was there. Empty. Abandoned.

“Hattie.” Daddy was leaning against the doorjamb, the shadow of a beard had started to creep across his face. “Your mother would be upset if she saw you in here.”

“Where did he go, Daddy?”

But Daddy just shook his head and waited for her to stand up and come to him.

He took her small hand in his and they crept down the hall, passed the room where her mother stifled sobs all day long. Bury your troubles. Hattie didn’t know what had happened. Her brother, chubby cheeks, flailing arms, all smiles, was there one minute and gone the next. An empty nursery—the ghost of the baby haunting their house.

Daddy lifted her to the counter and kissed her cheek, the scratchiness of his five o’clock shadow made her giggle.

“Peanut Butter and Jelly?”

“Mommy usually makes me lunch.”

“Turkey sandwich?”

He pulled out the meat and the bread, slapped mayonnaise on both sides, shook a few chips from the bag, as Hattie scrambled down from the counter and to her seat at the table.

When he put the food in front of her, Hattie wailed, “It’s not right.” She started kicking her feet, a tantrum rising up in her blood like a tsunami ready to destroy anything in its path.

“What’s not right?” Daddy asked.

“Mommy cuts it in triangles. Not a square. I don’t want a square!”

Hattie pouted, pushing her lower lip out, and tears sprang to her eyes.

“Fine,” Daddy said, taking the plate to the counter in a huff. “You just won’t eat. Go to your room.”

Hattie stomped off, but she didn’t go to her room. She ran outside into the backyard instead. She’d put the shovel behind the shed. She pulled it out, and she emptied her pockets: a little pile of treasures lined up. The shovel was hard to manage for her six-year old muscles, but after a few minutes she’d dug a hole, big enough to drop the treasures into and cover up.  She set the shovel down beside her and dug a little bit more with her hands, dirt staining them a dusty black. She put the items into the hole, lined up one by one, next to each other. There were seven filled in holes now. Daddy and Mommy hadn’t noticed them. They’d been too busy crying and hiding away from the world.

She patted down the dirt and felt satisfied. She stood up and started walking towards the shed.

“Hattie.” It was Mommy—red-rimmed eyes and hair askew.  Mommy didn’t look like herself.

Hattie flung the shovel behind her back, but she knew it was too late. She stepped back, and Mommy’s eyes traveled to the holes behind her, half covered, remnants of the past rising to the surface.

“What are you doing, Hattie?”

“Daddy didn’t know the sandwiches were supposed to be triangles!” Hattie shouted, throwing down the shovel and then running for the safety of the house.

Mommy, puzzled, drained of all emotions leaned down into the dirt. Her nightgown swept the ground, picking up dirt as she started digging.

The first thing she pulled out was a teddy bear, soft and blue. Then a rattle. Then a pacifier. Grief threatened to consume her when she pulled out the photo: Daddy, Mommy, Hattie and baby Grayson. Bury your troubles.