As the wonderful season of autumn / fall has started, I wanted to create an original writing prompt series to celebrate!
I invite everyone who sees this to participate, if you choose.
The idea is to look at the prompt, take at least five minutes on the Fridays during October 2019, and come up with a story/poem/scene, or whatever strikes your fancy with those words.
This has been extended from September! You can use the image at the top of this post – Just please make sure to credit it.
Here we go!
- October 4th: Corn Maze
- October 11th: Hay Ride
- October 18th: Football
- October 25th: Halloween
Matt called Andrea, all excited.
“Guess what? I scored season tickets!”
“What?! No way! Congratulations!”
“It only took 15 years, but I have them in my hot little hand. We’re going to Lambeau!”
Andrea was already looking up flights before the first sentence tumbled out of Matt’s mouth. He’d been a die-hard Green Bay Packers fan since childhood. Scoring season tickets was a dream come true. He’d been to Lambeau Field before – Roughly one home game every 3-4 years, and an away game near his hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina every single year, without fail. His dad wasn’t a Green Bay fan, but he indulged his son.
Matt sighed on the phone, reminiscing.
“I just … I just wish Dad was here to see this. I know he wanted to be here for this.”
Andrea cradled the phone, pausing her frantic typing. Matt’s dad, in the throes of depression, died by suicide when Matt was 23. Scott had turned 50 the week before.
In a way, Matt was grateful he’d been at school when Dad died. But, he was still sad he’d died alone.
Mom had left, abandoning her 25-year marriage. The alcoholism, not the depression, had broken her spirit.
As Andrea listened, Matt recounted the good days, but clearly remembered the multiple beers at all the football games. It wasn’t necessarily unusual – Beer and football went hand-in-hand. But, Scott always pushed the limit.
When Matt was 15, just shy of getting his learner’s permit, he took the keys away for the first time. In the beginnings of a blizzard, Matt carefully drove the rental car from Lambeau to their hotel. Scott loudly protested, but Matt handled it with grace. Scott passed out in the Honda not 10 minutes later. The snow was getting heavier as he carefully navigated to the Holiday Inn after the Packers’ hard-fought loss to the Chiefs.
After calling security to get him out of the Honda, Scott woke up long enough to barf in the parking lot, all over the fresh snow. Matt winced. After Scott was cleaned up and snoring away, likely dreaming of his next drink, that was the first time Matt cried.
He remembered calling Mom, and her reaction was strangely calm.
“I’m sorry you had to deal with that, sweetheart. Especially alone. Are you okay?”
Matt swallowed. “I … Is it … Is it bad that I want to leave him here?”
Mom sighed. “Oh, honey, I’m sorry. It’s not bad. I’ve had that thought many times, unfortunately. I can send you money if you need it. But, with the blizzard …”
Matt leaned against the bank of pay phones. “I’m stuck, for now. I wish we’d picked a different game. I have school.”
Mom smiled. Her son, so studious and empathetic.
“I just want you … both of you … to be safe. Call me when he wakes up, okay?”
Matt sighed. “I wish you were here.”
“With you, yes. I’m so tired of it, all of it. But this is something my son, at 15, shouldn’t have to worry about.”
“But I am worried, Mom. He’s passed out in the double bed. I’m afraid he’s going to get sick again.”
“Go, check on him. I’ll keep watching the weather. Call me in a couple hours, okay? Don’t worry about waking me up. I don’t think I’ll be sleeping tonight.”
Their dog barked in the background, followed by sibling squabbling.
“I gotta go take care of your brother and sister. Please, call me later, okay? I love you, Matt. Thank you for being there.”
Matt sighed, crying again. “I love you, too, Mom. I’ll call around 10.”
Matt hung up, wanting to sprint out the lobby doors instead of going back up to the fourth floor. For the first time, he was truly afraid what he was going to find in Room 452.
“Matt? Matt? Are you still there?”
Andrea brought Matt back to reality. He wiped his cheeks.
“Yeah, sorry about that. Memories.”
“I know you miss your Dad. We all do.”
“Thanks, Andrea. It’s weird. Most of the time – 98 percent of the time – I’m happy. But, that other two percent comes in like a flood and takes over my brain.”
Andrea shifted the phone. “That’s why you’ve been in some sort of counseling or therapy since 2017. Don’t beat yourself up too badly, Matt. You’re a human being. You’re grieving the man you called your hero.”
Matt scoffed. “Some hero. He drank himself to death.”
“No, he didn’t. He was in a hole he couldn’t get out of. Depression is weird like that.”
Andrea struggled with the words. It was still painful, nearly 2 1/2 years later.
Matt sighed. “Hence why I haven’t touched alcohol. That made me really popular in college, by the way.”
Andrea chuckled. Matt was always able to use humor to shift conversations. It was one of many things she liked about him. As he talked, she felt that familiar longing. She’d wanted to be with him for years, but had suppressed her feelings. They’d been friends since sophomore year of college, about six months before Scott had descended into what would have been his last spiral.
Matt smiled. He was grateful for Andrea’s friendship. She’d been by his side in the good times, and especially the bad times. Many others, including his entire fraternity, had all but abandoned him.
Not Andrea. She’d stuck by him, even pushing him to finish his degree on time. She knew that was the one big thing Scott wanted. She was proud to have helped him so much.
Now she wanted to help him again. This was the first major good news in a long, long time.
“I found a flight, Matt. Lambeau, here we come!”
Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂