Day 2 of my 15 day writing challenge was to write a story about a family on vacation. All, I’ll say it went in a bit of a different direction.
Robert always hated family vacations. It never failed that something would go wrong. Every year right after they returned his,wife would start planning the next one.
“Kids what do you want next year,” she’d ask when they got home and before the car even had a chance to cool down. The kids would enthusiastically belt out where they wanted to go and what they wanted to do.
Robert swore next year would be different. Before his wife, Maggie, had the opportunity to ask the question he said, “We’re staying home next year. Every year is a debacle. And every year we we complain about how much we hate the ‘family’ vacation. And the vacation turns into forced family fun. And I’ve had it.”
The kids and Maggie look at him and each other with surprise. He’s never put his foot down like this before.
“But, Robert,” Maggie said.
“No buts, Maggie. This is it.”
The year went by surprisingly fast and Robert hadn’t really noticed the sullen faces of his children or that his wife was getting more irritable until he overheard his daughter asking, “how come dad doesn’t want them to go on vacation.” There was a sadness in her voice that he had never heard before.
He thought maybe he was being selfish for denying them their vacation, but then he thought we’re always at each others throats. Then he thought about the family vacations he had with his parents. They were pretty hairy, too. His mother would say this is the time to release all your frustrations because once we get back it’s back to the daily hustle and bustle. Maybe he and his family were doing just that. Releasing frustrations.
The next day Robert booked a trip for four to England. They all wanted to go, but it never seemed to be the right time. Jessica and Jake were at soccer practice and Maggie was running errands. He knew the first place the kids would go when they got home was to their bedrooms, so he put their tickets and a brochure on their pillows. Maggie would head straight for the kitchen, so he taped the brochure and ticket to the refrigerator. When they came home he eagerly awaited their squeals and screams, but they never came. Well, not the way he expected.
He remembers Maggie pausing at the refrigerator and turning to him and suddenly it started to go dark. He heard a thud and felt his head hit the kitchen floor. He saw Maggie running towards him and calling his name and then it was dark. Blindingly dark. A darkness he hoped to come out of soon.
Jake never cried, but that day he did. Robert remembers the warm tears that dropped from Jake’s cheek onto his. Jessica was holding his hand and cradled her face in it. She used to do that when she was little. When she was scared. He felt comforted by it, but was confused as to why it was still so dark. He heard Maggie crying. It wasn’t just a sad cry, it was deep and emotional.
He heard someone say, “We have to take him now.”
“Take me where?” Robert wondered.
“Could you give us a few more minutes?” Maggie asked. “We haven’t had a chance to say good-bye.”
“Good-bye? What do you mean? I just fainted, right? With all the excitement. I just fainted.”
One by one Jake, Jessica, and Maggie said, “I’ll miss you and I love you.”
“I’m cold and I can’t feel anything,” Robert thought. “So, am I. . .? I can’t be.”
“Time of death?”