by Mac Eagan
Late one autumn Saturday, the park was filled with noise. A half-dozen teenagers tossed a Frisbee around, several dogs pulled their masters along, an ice cream vendor clanged his bell. A dog’s bark scurried through the trees, over, under and around the voices of children shouting, laughing, screaming and crying, followed by someone yelling, “Heel! I said ‘Heel!’”
Under a stand of trees at the park’s edge, Tony tossed his two-year-old daughter, Abigail, up toward the clouds. Her eyes widened in sync with her gain in altitude and widened exponentially with her descent. Tony’s sure hands grasped her around the ribs, swung her down and between his knees and then back up above his head, finally holding her directly in front of himself. Laughter poured from Abigail’s belly.
“Did you like that, Abby? Want another one? Say it . . . tell me you want another.”
The bottom half of Abby’s face still showed remnants of a smile, while the top half, her eyes, showed stern concentration.
“Come on, you can do it . . . say it.”
Abby focused, then focused more. Her lips moved left, right, around, but not yet with any sound.
Finally she blurted out, “Den.”
Tony repeated the toss, the catch, the swing. Abby’s laughter danced from his ears to his heart.
They continued their game, Abby’s voice growing softer with each round, until most of her voice was nothing more than a whisper. Tony pulled Abby to his chest and settled her head on his shoulder. Her eyelids wavered.
“Den,” she said. She was all whisper now.
Tony stroked her head and her back and gave the top of her head a gentle kiss.
“Next time,” he said.
He thought about two more Saturday’s from today, when they would return to this park and spend the afternoon playing and being together.
16 thoughts on “Mac Egan, Den mother, gets into the swing of things”
Love this story, for the subtle implication that this is a divorced father whose time with his baby is restricted to weekends, and has got to get the most out of each encounter. Well done. Poignant. And, welcome back!
Excellent picture choice, Thorn. I originally thought about trying to work that comparison into the story; in the original idea it was a “full traditional” family at the park. Although I had forty words still available to me in this finished piece, that just would not have been enough to fully develop a mother character as well so I redirected the story based on father and daughter.
(You have such a way with words, uh, images, uh, words, uh, BOTH.)
I was that girl. I cried with her peel of joy. Thank you for such a wonder of a beautiful memory, not even real, let alone mine.
Ah…a purr-fect bowl of cream sweetness of being in the now within a natural setting of both inner and outward human connectiveness between a father and daughter. In my opinion excellent writings and storylines with dialogue not only bring us into the characters as voyeurs, but allow us the sensations of being the characters. Speaking as a catwoman spirit today, I give this affectionate sharing, with soft underpinnings of wish there were more such Saturday-in-the-park moments my lovely daughter, five purrs.
Beautiful and simple in this slice of life piece. Great work.
A story straight from the heartland involving the modern man. Classic!
Thank you, Professor! Feels good to stretch the writing limbs once more.
Hi, Mac. Sweet story with tangible descriptions. The sad part is that it’s ringing true in an increasing number of cases.
Absolutely lovely, and wonderful use of the magic word. As Thron has mentioned above, the implication of divorce and therefore of the father’s own sense of wanting/needing to have the moment again and again so wonderfully echoes the child’s desire and perhaps her concomitant terror at being tossed away.
Kenneth, the idea of being “tossed away” was not really in my mind but you bring out a valid observation. Thank you for the additional insight.
The Mac is back and oh I have missed his stories. Another one that takes the heart strings and makes them sing with all the love that they can hold. A simple single moment that captures us taking each one of us into memories, feelings and joy. Beautiful Mac – simply beautiful.
Yes, simple – that is one thing I tried to concentrate on with this. It seems to have worked. Thank you for your kind words.
Aways captures one’s heart with your writing of those little things that really matter.
I like the way you tell this story, leaving it up to the reader to feel something about the underlying message. Its description extends beyond the visual; you create the auditory effects we can hear and by which we are drawn into the story, and if that weren’t enough, you make us feel something, a degree of sadness so real in the single-parent drama of today.
Thank you, everyone, for your comments and observations.
This one touched me since it is more complex than the simplicity first suggests. I like how you took the assignment of Again and used a child’s way of saying it (Den). Then how you worked in the “every other weekend” issue at the end. Only a divorced parent like me knows this means the alternating schedule of sharing as much love as possible during your special time. Glad you’re doing that, the world’s most important job!