Daily Prompt: Clutch
Creative Writing Lesson 10:
Part 1: using creative licence.
Part 2: change the context of this chapter by switching the last paragraph to the first.
Diary entry June 17
He had always thought his family didn’t get us and that made me sad. Not for me — for him! After all these years, two short sentences would explain why it had been hard to get close to them.
The eye rolls were frustrating. It seemed like I annoyed her simply by being there. It all felt a little hostile – passive aggressive at least. I know she feared for his future. We all did. Even so or maybe because of that — I found the rudeness hard to tolerate that day. I’m sure she didn’t realise how negative her energy had become towards me.
I attempted to contribute to the conversation, hoping I sounded cheerful – my efforts met with blank stares. I don’t think she meant to be rude. She isn’t always aware of her actions when it comes to me. I stopped mid sentence and fumbled for lost words that were sitting just outside my mind’s reach. I went completely blank. A flush of colour stained my cheeks. I was starting to feel I wasn’t supposed to be joining in and it was disarming.
With the deterioration of my husbands condition, the only reason I stayed close by was that he often become anxious if I wasn’t near — especially when visitors came. He wanted me there. Otherwise I would happily have left them to it. She didn’t know that. It would have hurt her feelings.
When she was ready to leave that day, I saw her out. I came back inside, made sure my husband was comfortable and sat down beside him, pulling the end of his rug over my knees. He asked what happened, why had I got up and left? I explained that every time I spoke it felt like I was intruding. He looked at me, smiled apologetically, squeezed my hand and said, “She doesn’t like to hear about my life from you. They have just never got us, none of them!”
Throughout what had been a horrendous time for him, she knew I thought some family members had missed opportunities to come through in the clutch for my husband. I think she worried she was one of them. So when she was able to visit she liked his undivided attention. Busy work lives, distance and young families made it difficult for them to support him through his treatment. There was the odd visit, but that was it. The distance between them weighed heavily on us all.
Fortunately our family who lived locally, our friends and community made sure all our needs were met as Bren took his treatment and everything cancer threw at him with Grace and good humour.
He hadn’t been perturbed by the interaction between she and I that day; for one he was in too much pain to notice much of anything, and two: if he had, he would have simply accepted it as her being her, knowing I could handle myself. His love was unconditional, regardless.
Because he had his eyes closed most of the time, it had surprised him when I stood up abruptly, excused myself and asked if he was Ok if I left for a while. I was done with the eye rolls and blank stares. I’m usually better at reading what people need from me, this day I was too exhausted to make allowance where I usually would have. I could have handled things better.
I told him I had some chores that needed doing. I could see it worried her that she may have offended me, or maybe that she had been caught doing it. I couldn’t really tell. I had accidentally called her on what I felt was poor behaviour, with my unwillingness to sit there and take it. She looked panicked, her eyes had darted between him and me, as she searched for the right thing to say.
She settled on “sorry, sorry…you don’t have to leave.”
I knew that! It was my house.
I guess we both should have checked our manners at the door.