"Being a good writer is 3% talent, 97% not being distracted by the internet." Cyrus Farivar

Saturday, April 30, 2011


While I was hoping this would be a piece to submit to the Writer's Digest competition, I'll need a few hours to mull it over and potentially write something else. This was written to Blackbird by The Beatles. The song really puts me in a somber mood, even though the weather here is actually sunny.


           They said it wouldn’t let up. What the almanac claimed to be a perfect day, was in fact ruined by the news citing rain. Forecasts could always turn out wrong; the meteorologist had been wrong before. But after watching five channels, they all made the same prediction. That was the last time he believed The Old Farmer’s Almanac. It’s worn spine and loose pages had pointed him to choose today.
            Instead, he was staring out at an overcast as far as the eye could see. Worse than the ashen clouds was the downpour of rain that had started late in the night and had no intention of drying out. It wasn’t time to make the drive to the church. Between now and the ceremony, he had a couple hours. Tugging on his ironed over-shirt, he took another glance from behind the window; unchanged. The sound of cutlery on dishes brought him from his thoughts. Everyone was having breakfast; something he knew he should partake in. Perhaps a cup of coffee and some toast would ease his anxiety. Or make him heave the contents of his stomach across the altar. Another strike against what should be a perfect day.
            Getting the buttons of his shirt fastened, he slid on the black tie and got it properly adjusted. Running a finger around his neck he felt the coarse starchy fabric of the dress shirt. In a few hours, he probably wouldn’t notice the itch, but right now it was very apparent. Taking the suit jacket from the hanger, he slid it on and turned to check his appearance. Nothing was out of place. Brushing some lint off near the hem, he walked from the mirror to the window. The rain continued to mock him.
            Fiddling with his wedding ring, he examined the sky, hoping to see some break in the clouds. Glancing from the window as a soft knock was on the door, he saw his wife enter. She carried a lone muffin and mug. Setting both on their dresser, she strode to him and fixed his tie. A quick kiss and she stepped back to look him over.
            “You should eat something, Tommy,” she said, fixing the hem of his sleeves.
            “I know,” he answered, absently. His eyes had since returned to the window.
            “Everything will still go as planned.” She was trying to coax more out of him.
            “The almanac said today was going to be sunny,” Tommy said, finally peeling his eyes from the pane and going to the dresser.
            “James always loved rain,” she mentioned, eyeing her husband. A smirk spread on his face as he picked at the muffin.
            “Then it probably is perfect.”
            “We’ll be downstairs; once you’re ready we can leave,” she said, pausing by him for another kiss. She left without another word. Eating his way through the top of the muffin, he sipped at the tea. It was probably a much better choice than coffee, but a part of him still longed for the bitterness of the brown liquid. Dusting any stray crumbs from his jacket, he took one last look in the mirror. His eyes strayed to the window and the somber weather beyond. Stuffing some notecards into his jacket pocket, he left their bedroom and strolled into the kitchen. As if knowing he’d be downstairs so soon, his wife was already ushering the kids out the door. Following their brood, he paused under the carport and observed her double check everything. Reaching out, he caught her arm and pulled her close.
            “Thanks Jules,” he said, smiling as he gave her a kiss. They parted and loaded in the car hearing that the kids were settled.
            Drumming his fingers on the steering wheel, he tried not to think about where they were headed. All he could think about was that he had to speak in front of everyone. The notecards had his speech scrawled across them, but his nerves were getting the better of him. With each line burned into his skull, his mind raced for something better to say or more to add. But he kept drawing a blank; his thoughts as overcast as the weather. Parking at the church, he stared up at the building, daunted by its stained-glass gable and cross looming the peak.
            “Tommy, you coming?” Jules looked at him where she was at the side door helping their children out.
             “Yeah… I’ll be right there,” he said, eyes still transfixed. Two car doors slammed shut, leaving him alone with his thoughts and the rain. He waited several moments before finally he left the vehicle and trudged through the shower up the steps. Few people were expected this early; mostly family and close friends.
            Moving through the foyer, he found his wife and kids shedding their coats to save their seats. He added his to the pile, straightening his suit jacket nervously. The pulpit looked even more formidable now that he could see just how many seats there were. Someone nodded to him, and they approached each other.
            “Thank you for speaking, Thomas,” the older woman said, embracing briefly.
            “Of course. He’s my best friend,” Tommy answered, smiling. He couldn’t think of anything more to say that hadn’t already been said in countless conversations over the past week. She strolled away as her husband appeared by her side and the two went to speak to the minister. Turning to look out over the rows and rows of pews, he played with his tie nervously. Taking his seat, he focused on the large bouquet of white roses.
            People seemed to be arriving, speaking in hushed tones as they found their seats. Promptly at eleven, the minister spoke before everyone. It was only a moment before Tommy heard his name and his wife nudged him slightly. Rising, he went up to the altar and stared around the spacious church. Everyone was here for Sam; Ex-girlfriends, high school pals, and coworkers. Digging for his notecards, he opened his mouth to read the first line, when he stopped. Setting them on the podium, he glanced around the room again.
            “I had hoped today’s weather would be sunny; at least, I planned it for this day because the almanac told me today would be clear,” he started to say. “But no matter how much I could strive for perfection, Sam understood that nothing is ever perfect. I’m sure this rain is a gift from him to teach me a lesson,” Tommy said, hearing a murmur of laughter.
            “Sam isn’t someone you could just say good-bye to. He didn’t like things to sound so final. His parting words were always ‘see you later,’ because once you met him, you always saw him again,” Tommy continued. “Rather than say our good-byes, let’s instead say we’ll see him again.” His eyes strayed from the crowd to give a side-long look to the large picture of Sam grinning out at them. “Because in all walks of life, we’ll see him again.”

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