This is my entry for Trifecta Week 76. The word this week was blood, using its 3rd definition:
The tree was still a baby on the day Mort’s mom shuffled across the soft carpet of grass in the cemetery, a broken bag of bones in sensible shoes. Its trunk was a hand span across, tendril-like roots just beginning to quest deeper into the soil.
Mrs. Ramsey stopped next to a fledgling branch and wrapped her fingers gently around it, swaying with it in a quiet private dance. “Right here,” she said, pointing at the unbroken ground. “Mort loved the woods; never saw a tree he didn’t want to climb. He was only fifteen, you know.” The official made appropriate noises, nodding. “Right here,” she repeated, with a watery laugh that was part sigh, part sob.
On the day of his funeral, Mort sat on the same branch his mother had danced with. He bounced on it experimentally; it never would have held his flesh and bone weight. A leaf fluttered to the ground. “Sorry,” he said. “I didn’t know I could do that.”
Intermittent sunbeams dappled strange patterns on the silly looking casket that his parents had chosen. Mort had to laugh. As wonderful as they were, they sometimes showed a distinct lack of taste. Evidenced, he supposed, by naming their only son Mortimer. He laughed again, figuring that Mort had suited him just fine.
When the time came for his father to pull his mother from the grave site, she stared up at him as if surprised to find him there and stumbled awkwardly to her feet.
He crab walked next to her as they started away, glancing back again and again towards the tree that stood sentinel to his son’s headstone. There it was again – a branch moving on its own.
“Milly,” he whispered. “Look!” The silly grin on his face got through the haze her brain was surviving behind and she turned. Two leaves drifted towards the ground as the branch bobbed a goodbye.
“You take care of my boy,” she told the tree. “He’s your blood now.”
For the second time in a year, one of my son’s friends was killed in a hit and run accident. The first one I didn’t know; he was from a different city and it was a friend of a friend kind of thing. The second one he was closer to, played basketball with. I’d met him a few times, knew his name. He died right around the corner from where we live, last Thursday night. As if losing your child isn’t bad enough, to know that someone left them there, more worried about themselves than the one they left behind, has to be so crushing that I can’t even imagine the pain. I guess this is my way of trying to offer something back. That, who the hell knows, I’m really not even sure what I’m trying to say here. Regardless, this is for them, the only small thing that I’ve got to give. My soundtrack today? My kid in the background on his Xbox headset, because I’m incredibly lucky to have him sitting in the next room right now.