Prompt Response: See You Next Year
Okay, so I didn't want to post this on the Prompt thread because I don't know, it feels a bit like a long thing to post in the middle of an open thread like that. Maybe? So I decided to post it here and label it a prompt response. That's sort of how we did it when there were writing contests in the old RP forums I'm in. ^^"
I don't give the character's name here, but if you know my characters from the RAA you might be able to know who it is. If not... Welp... :P
This is a response to @typical_demigod's prompt:
Also, in the spirit of Father's Day coming up (because I probably won't be online on Sunday), a prompt: What would your character get for their father? If they don't have a father, what feelings do they have about the holiday? Alternatively, write from the perspective of a man without children. How does he feel about the holiday? Has he ever wanted children and it never happened, or is he living the childless life he always dreamed of?
Now, there's no such thing as Father's Day in Valcrest, but close enough. >.>
The greeting was less than a whisper cast into the night. The ruffling of the tree branches over the twelve-year-old’s head was almost enough to drown it out completely. Not that being heard mattered in this situation. Gravestones can’t actually listen.
Dwelling on the aftermath of death wasn’t something the Wolfpack encouraged. Their burial grounds wasn’t a place a lot of people visited. It was one of the few places in their camp so silent that even the faintest whisper felt intrusive. It looked, like the name 'graveyard' implied, similar to an overgrown garden of cross-shaped stone flowers; some of them cracked or crooked from the effects of Time’s passing. It was depressing in a cathartic way. It was a place where being depressing was accepted and welcomed. A place that encouraged weakness.
“It’s that time of year again,” she said. A sad smile formed on her lips and she sat on the soft dirt in front of one particular stone, legs crossed like the child she didn’t think she was. “It’s like a little ritual now, isn’t it? Coming here. A secret between you and me. Not as if we could have any other secrets, right? I wasn’t even properly alive when you left.” She snorted a chuckle. “Sorry. When you ‘died’. I know, we should call things by their proper names. Sugar coating Death is an offense to her gifts. I read that in one of Lena’s theology books. Well, not in these exact words, but, I’m... What do you call it... Paraphrasing.”
A small gust of wind flew past and caused an involuntary shiver down her spine. It had been a clear sunny day of Spring, but once the Sun descended beyond the mountains, the soft warm breeze had gradually turned sharp and cold. Unusually cold for this time of year, in fact. “Lena says grief isn’t caused by the Death of a person, grief is caused by the Death of a life that could have been.” She frowned. “I hate it when she’s right. She’s always right. When mom first told me about you, how and why you died, she told me I could ask her anything. And of course, I didn’t. I could tell this wasn’t something she wanted to think about, but I wondered... How can you miss something if you never actually had it? And I guess that’s how. Lena thinks it’s comforting, how easily you can rationalize such complex emotions. I don’t really think so. I think it’s a little unnerving how someone could hold a guidebook in their hands and just explain away my feelings as if that makes anything better. I guess, for me, there’s only so much comfort in knowing why. And it’s just not enough.”
A heavy sigh rose from her chest and condensed in the cold night air. The ensuing silence carried twelve years of what ifs and unanswered questions, but it somehow felt lighter and more comforting than it had the previous year. It’d been like that every year for the past three years. And every now and then she wondered how many more would pass until that weight was completely lifted. “I had a good birthday. Mom gave me the day off from training. I went to the river with Lena and Sarah, we had a picnic. Some people gave me gifts and one of the cooks baked me a cake. There wasn’t a big party, just a lot of little things. I think it’s better this way. Not much has changed with me since last year too. I’m still trying to handle the idea of getting through training and possibly leading one day. I know that I can decline, Lena keeps reminding me, but... That’s the easy road, isn’t it? What would that say about me? I think being a failure might still be better, at least it involves trying. I don’t want to be one of those people who lets fear get the best of them. I’m not a coward like that.” She chuckled. “Too stubborn for my own sake... Mom says I get that from you. I don’t know if she means that in a good way. After all, no offense, but look where you are now, dad. There has to be some middle ground between being a coward and being so utterly fearless that the possibility of Death won’t as much as faze you. I mean, we could have known each other. This didn’t have to be... Just me talking to myself in front of a rock. I don’t want to be mad at you, but I don’t feel you thought about that at all until it was too late but, I guess... I am a bit like that too. I don’t always weigh the consequences of the things I do. I hope if I have a kid one day, the thought of not seeing them again will put the fear of Death in me. Just a little bit at least. But if it doesn’t... I hope they at least know I tried. I like to think you tried. It just wasn’t enough.”
Once again, she let out a small burst of laughter. It was soft and amused, stripped of any form of bitterness or resentment. She was beyond resentment; had been for a couple of good years now. “It’s okay, though. I’m okay. I guess that’s part of the reason I keep coming back here. I just think... I need to tell you that I’m okay. I mean, if there’s some part of you that still exists somewhere, I don’t know if I believe that, but just in case there is, then... I don’t want you to worry. Because, maybe you failed, and you weren’t here for me, but I know you tried. So it’s okay.” She shifted her position in the dirt patch so that she was kneeling in front of the grave, reaching out to touch the name etched into the stone cross. “May the Twins bless your spirit, brother, and know that none shall take your place in the hearts and minds of those who love you,” she recited. It wasn’t a prayer, exactly, but it was the closest the Wolfpack had to it. She liked it. It felt like just the right amount of words. Slowly, she lowered her hand and rose from her knees. “Love you, dad. See you next year.”
Happy Father's Day I guess. >.>
“Lena says grief isn’t caused by the Death of a person, grief is caused by the Death of a life that could have been.
this line really got me because I know so many people that died really young and it just
it hurts sometimes, in a weird way.
Also, I can see several of my personality traits in Dani and it's freaky sometimes :/
@typical_demigod You know...
I hope if I have a kid one day, the thought of not seeing them again will put the fear of Death in me. Just a little bit at least. But if it doesn’t... I hope they at least know I tried.
This is one of the most heartbreaking lines I've ever written considering the events of the main story. And I wish it was on purpose.
But it wasn't, I didn't realize it until now. :P
@Blackbird wait how does Dani die?
Like father like daughter, I guess. D:
@typical_demigod Dani dies recently in the timeline. Like, she dies in between the first and second arc when Crys is in her early twenties. So it's not heartbreaking in that sense.
However, when Crys is born there are complications and they both almost die (this is why Crys is blind as well, btw, it happens here) and after that Dani became extremely hellbent in just making sure her kid doesn't get killed somehow, which... Is understandable, but also kind of put a strain on their relationship throughout most of Crys' life. Kind of like, when you're so afraid to break something that you don't actually enjoy it as much as you should? That kind of 'heartbreaking'. :/
@Blackbird That makes me sad.