Hospital White (Ronovan Writes #13)

I wrote this for Ronovan’s Flash Fiction Challenge #13. The directions include:

Take your favorite quote from a movie and use it as inspiration for your entry this week. If you want more direction, make it the last sentence in your piece. (REQUIRED) OK I may have used a book quote, but who knows they may have made it into a movie.
Word Count of 500. (SUGGESTED)

“Hospital white”, it was everywhere I looked, including the ceramic tiles on the wall, the curtains separating the patients in the semi-private rooms, and the food trays wheeled down the hall to patients who had no interest in the flavorless food.

From in the hallway, I could sense the grief of my family. It was as if they shared one thought, one heartbeat while watching the heart monitor. The synthesized sound that mimicked the bouncing flashing lights had been muted. Captured scientific notations printed on strips of papers that bled silently into a waiting basket.

They were alone in the room witnessing his final breaths.  The nursing staff maintained a distance to allow them to witness his final moments. They would only intervene if needed or requested; no one expected any miracles to occur. Any silent prayers made were for a pain-free exit for him and relief for those sharing this final act.

I waited in the hallway, leaning against the wall like an extra in one of those sad black and white movies. I could hear my mother calling for me, but I couldn’t answer. She would have to rely on my sister’s strength to see her through this event. I had been gone for a long time and she had taken over my role in the family.

My father had been a strong man, who did not ask for favors. He worked hard all of his life and expected his children to do the same. He expected me to work hard and replace him later as the man of the house as he had done for his father. The tradition was strong in our lives, as the family pictures on hallway wall reminded us.

My father worked as a mechanic but he was much more. For us and most of the neighbors, he was a “fixer”. He was the one everyone turned to get things to run. He had a magical touch when it came to the worn tired machines we and the neighbors had. He could grease and massage our “treasures” back into life when pulled from the trash of the people who lived on the other side of town. He was a magician that waived a wench and wove electrical tape and bailing wire into intricate repairs. He was constantly repairing bikes, trikes, and wagons for the neighborhood and the children loved him for it. I was proud to be his son.

The nurse walked past me into the room; apparently some piece of equipment attached to him indicated the end was drawing near. She reminded everyone to expect labored breathing and he might struggle for air, but it would pass quickly as his body relaxed. For the moment, he was resting quietly. My sister held onto my mother’s hand and sobbed quietly.

Ten years ago at dad’s retirement party he spoke to everyone about how he wished I had been there. He told everyone how we had rebuilt a car together and how I had rewired the ignition without any help. He said I had been so proud of that and how we loved to go together for rides in that old car we rebuilt together. Dad cried when he went on to tell the story of my death a year before.

I heard the doctor tell the nurse, “it will be over soon, call the priest.”

When I saw Dad coming out of the room to greet me, I reached into my pocket and grabbed my keys. “Dad, let’s go for a ride.”

Ernest Hemingway once wrote, “All stories, if continued far enough, end in death, and he is no true-story teller who would keep that from you.”

-Clarence Holm

The force that holds us
Can bridge distance between us
-Our love works that way

-Clarence  Holm


Ronovan’s Flash Fiction Challenge #10 “A Special Day”

January 22, is Celebration of Life Day.

Take a moment in your life of which you would celebrate and use that as inspiration for a no more than 750 word story. Write the story as if the characters were animals living in the roles of humans. An example would be the policemen might be German Shepherds and other Police type dogs. 

A Special Day To Celebrate

“Even on this special day, I’d rather we not leave the burrow!” Grandpa Mole grumbled as he allowed a worm to slither by. “Daylight travel leaves us exposed to air, with many types of danger. From hawks or snakes or even human things, the dangers grow under sun. You mark my words, as we leave the sod and walk upon the soil; the risks of life grow harsher. There is menace there above the ground, hidden in the sunlight’s glow.”

“Oh Grandpa” little Becky squeaked. “You say that every year at spring! But we’ve been down here long enough; our winter’s nap is over! I want to see all that’s green right now and taste the springtime clover!”

“It’s time to go,” Becky’s mother chirped! “The days begun and the sun is growing stronger. We have so many steps to take, the time is getting shorter, grab you hat and follow quick with me and your father.”

And so the moles left their den with hats and umbrellas held so high. Becky’s shade reflected sky blue and bright gold, as the sunlight crept ever higher.

The air was crisp and the breeze was fresh as father started singing. “Guard your tails and lift your nose, the farmer’s crops are planted. Soon it will be harvest time, be sure nothings taken for granted. Mornings dew is on the leaves and our job is then to catch it. Collected drops of angel’s tears will make the crops grow ever stronger. And when it’s time to collect our part, our family’s share will feed us.”

It was late midmorning when we arrived to see, the field abuzz with all the tenders. The dragonflies flew up above, to warn of mortal danger. They dipped and rose in the summer sun, wings beating a song of gladness.

Two ladybugs spread their wings and danced in summer courtship. Their bright orange skin with big black dots was spectacular in the sunlight. They offered up their aphid juice and sipped away the summer.

A millipede wandered by, its boots stomped out a rhythm. He called ahead to a small biped, “Little bug, please watch your toes, I am getting so much nearer. So many limbs, I can’t watch them all, there is danger in my marching! I twist and turn around the leaves, I can’t see from head to tail.

Grampa mole laughed out loud. “I love the world beyond; I’d forgotten all the wonder in creation. Just how much joy there is today, when sunshine is there above.”

– Clarence Holm

Meditation On Life

“If your daily life seems poor, do not blame it; blame yourself that you are not poet enough to call forth its riches…”

-Rainer Maria Rilke

Go forth each day to catch the wind,
And fill your soul with life’s glory.
Today shouldn’t be where you’ve been,
It’s what you offer the story.

-Clarence Holm