Fiction Friday: Write about 8.

“The fascination may go away, Mrs. Lee. And then again, it might not.”

“Fascination? Doctor, I can’t even believe you are using that word!”

“Well, we’ve run a full diagnostic. Your daughter isn’t autistic, and there are no signs of obsessive-compulsive behavior—”

“And so that’s it?”

I could hear the voices in the background, a bland pattern of words that interrupted my own thought process from time to time, their words occasionally slowing me down from my healing reverie…

Eight dogs running down the alley, eight cats yowling at midnight—

“Will she need to be—” My mother struggled with the word, “—institutionalized?”

Eight fluffy clouds in a denim blue sky. Eight questions that all begin with why.

“No, I don’t think so.” Big man in a really big white coat. Looking down at me.

Eight days in a week—I wish!—eight freckles on her cheek—and a tear.

Mother crying. Big man sighing.

Eight. Eight. Eight. Can’t be late. Eight minutes, eight hours, eight songs, eight notes. Eight reasons, eight rivers, eight brownies, eight boats. Eight grinches, eight buildings, eight cars, eight goats—

She glanced down at me, mother of mine, sweet giver of life. Took my hand, led me out of the office, into tepid New York streets where more clatter and noise drove me deeper into my mantra.

Mother, dear Jennifer 8. Lee, held my hand as she signaled for a cab.

Eight. 8. Eight. 8.

Don’t be late, don’t skate.

Don’t be mad, Jennifer 8.


Mark Goodyear said...

I had never heard of Jennifer 8 Lee until I read this.

Great language play--it reads like a poem.

Merrie Destefano said...

Thanks, Mark! That's a wonderful compliment, coming from the Poet Master, Himself.

I thought it sounded a bit like a twisted Dr. Seuss. But then he knew a lot more about meter than I.

Hey, I am really liking Facebook, by the way. Now that I finally figured it out! Can you say, Halloweeeeen Traaaaaaain?

~willow~ said...

nice! the compulsive 8-mantras are very believable. And they give a nice tempo to the tale.

Merrie Destefano said...

Thanks, Rachel! I'm glad you liked it.

Perhaps I understand madness better than I should . . .


Koe Whitton-Williams said...

This is very well written. There's a flood of beauty running from this child to her mom.

Merrie Destefano said...

A flood of beauty . . . that's a lovely compliment, Koe. Thank you so much for stopping by and for posting your thoughts.

Blessings on your book, "The Half-life of Linoleum." Great title.


Merrie Destefano said...

Thank you for visiting my site and for the sweet comments. I mistook you for another friend of mine. Sorry.

Must stop getting my cyber-friends mixed up! It only adds to the madness.

: )