I’d already tucked in my son. I found him playing in the light of the hallway, with his room lit just enough for him to see. I said, “What are you doing? It’s bedtime.”
He said, “I’m cleaning my room.”
“You can’t clean your room, it’s time to go to sleep.”
He said, “Okay,” and folded his Spiderman underwear neatly beside a tube of Chapstick. Then he moved an apple juice plastic lid on top of them both, on his side table. “I want apple juice!” he announced and ran to the kitchen table for a sip from a glass left there after dinner time.
— I love toddlerhood.
A short section from a short story I’m writing. It takes place in 1953, and it has a lonely soldier, and a cheated-upon wife who is taking the kids and leaving her husband:
John takes a third of the whisky down, his throat is aflame and he wants the abuse. His subconscious is in cahoots with his drinking problem and neither are telling him the combination to unwind his intentions. His Pa’s dying after a tractor accident, without ever knowing what happened to his sons, eats Johnny up like he isn’t any better than the blood clot that killed him. But what’s got him in a tizzy is a recurring dream where he thinks his bother’s girl is waking him up lovingly. She sits on his chest laughing, and he’s stuck underneath the sheet, a soft morning light coming through. He doesn’t see her but feels the weight of her and she’s being playful, the way she did when she threatened to press her slender fingers into the tender spots of his rib cage. “Wake up,” she calls. “Wake up,” she laughs. It’s a lifeless, cold reality under a claustrophobic sheet when he wakes in his departed father’s empty house.