Karen Comer: all the weeds are brown…and the sky is gray

“The birds they sing, at the break of day. ‘Start again,’ I hear them say. “Don’t dwell on what has past away, or what is yet to be.” (Leonard Cohen) It appears Mr. Cohen has read this poignant reflection from Karen Comer. As I post this, thunder crushes the silence in the gray, Moscowvian sky, and rain begins to pelt the glass in Karen’s well-written story. If there is anything in this world more powerful than the written word, it is forgiveness.

A Second Chance

by Karen Comer

The weeds won’t recede from the mossy path she swept and weeded. A late daisy nods her head. A breeze stirs sycamore leaves, creating autumn tapestry on un-mown grass.

The child stirs me back to reality. “Grampa, where Gramma?” A dribbly mouth finds my stubbly chin. A chubby hand slaps the steamy pane. Raindrops zigzag down like the tears which refuse to come to me.

Gone, sweetheart.

A tiny finger points. I whistle a tune and bounce her as we enter the kitchen where her mother tends bubbling pots; but the child still points back to where we’d stood.

Gramma!

My daughter wipes her hands, leans on the counter. I know that look.

Look at this house! When did you last do anything?

I shrug as the child wriggles free and wobbles back to the sunroom door screaming with delight, pounding tiny fists on glass.

My daughter crosses arms while I stare at the table. Three knives and forks are set.

Mom says since you retired you gave up living! You stare at the TV all day while she cooks, cleans, shops, and maintains that enormous garden!

Is that why she left?

You’ve been married forty-odd years, you figure it out!

She should have said something…

The child’s squawking reaches a crescendo and I turn to see what’s wrong.

See? You react to the baby instantly but you still don’t understand what your wife needs, after caring for you every day for 40 years!

Forty seven.

I have nothing else to say in my defense.

Go on a cruise, you cut the damned grass! How can you be so upset about retiring from a job you hated, when your wife’s the most precious thing you’ll ever have! Snap out of it, Dad!

So where is she?

But the child knows. She’s giggling at a fuzzy outline, red umbrella held aloft; daisy and face smushed against rain-spattered glass.

Our bony palms press together on the window and she smiles at me. I know I’m forgiven, and vow, henceforth, to start living again.

 

 

 

9 comments

    • Tiffany V says:

      Love. Life. Marriage (and all that comes with it). Routine and its loss. Forgiveness…? And a child’s magic to glue it all together. Well done!

      • Karen Comer says:

        Thank you so much! I was feeling somewhat jaded and negative until I read your comment. I’ve been editing since 4:30 am. Now I feel I may not be totally wasting my time!

  1. Parisianne Modert says:

    I read, then reread “A Second Chance” before understanding who the people were speaking back and forth, what the issues were and the second chance conclusion. Once I did, I really liked the story hoping the second chance will be acted upon as both a warning and a redemption only if acted upon. The story got to me, because I use to work in a retirement office experiencing many people approaching, retiring and living in retirement. Their are people who falsely base their life’s purpose on their work rather than their family. Once their work career is over, they become lost, disheatened and sometimes pass on within a very short time without ever connecting with those who love and care for them. This is sad, but very real. The reaction of the grandpa therefore is very typical as are the reactions to him by his daughter and his wife. In my opinion stories need to be at least partially plausible and this very human story is Ms. Comer.

    • Karen Comer says:

      Sorry for this delayed “thank you for your very kind comments.”

      When I go away I leave my phone, tablet, and laptop behind, listen to live jazz , people-watch, swim, scribble notes, drink beer, and relax with friends. Hopefully one day I can become a better, more observant writer, and being unplugged and unbugged seems to help me enormously! -Karen

    • Karen Comer says:

      That was the point. He should have been doing something -anything – instead of feeling sorry for himself.
      I sure wish I could retire! -Karen

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