Hi everyone…today will be a bit different. I would have mentioned that I am a business coach and I like to encourage my clients to do things that they love, whether it be gardening, painting, writing, etc. One of my clients wrote or has started to write short stories. She had to tell her son stories when he went to bed and that sparked the beginning of her storytelling journey. I cam along and encouraged her even further because she started to doubt whether to continue or not, but it was a great way for her to relax and she enjoyed writing, as I do with writing these blogs….I have to mention that since I’ve started blogging I’ve discovered a new love…the love of writing.
I promised her that if the short story was good I would post it in one of my blogs, so today I am doing exactly that. Let me know what you think about Paula’s short story so I can pass on your comments to her as a means of encouragement. ENJOY!!!
When Trouble Comes Knocking
I recall that he knocked on the door around 3 o’clock on a weekday afternoon. I was watching television in the living room after school and my mother was busy in the kitchen. I must have been 8 or 9 years old at the time. My five older siblings were not home yet to squabble over the television. I was relaxed and enjoying myself. Then, there was the knock and the sudden appearance that made me tremble. Trouble rarely gives you a chance to prepare for its arrival.
He knocked softly on the front door. “That’s curious”, I thought. We never had visitors at that time of day and a family member would let themselves in. I peered through a closed glass window next to the door without pulling the curtain.
He stood in the porch looking straight ahead at the door. He was short and light brown in complexion, a local “French creole”. His grey short-sleeved shirt was crisply ironed and was tucked tightly into his dark, belted pants. His black shoes seemed brand new and highly polished. He was slender and I could see the deep lines that age had etched into his face. Grey hair spouted from under his Kangol hat. He might have been around 60 years old and, though I had never seen him before in my life, his face was so familiar to me that I knew immediately who he was. I crept away from the window with my knees wobbling.
I made my way to the kitchen on tiptoes. My mother was busy as usual moving between the stove and the sink. I came up behind her and said in a whisper, “I think that Uncle Frank is at the door.” She turned around quickly and looked down at me with her jaw dropped and eyes wide. She stood in that position for a moment but said nothing. Then, in silence, we walked to the front door with me hiding behind her. She looked through the curtained window just as I had done and said quietly to herself, “Trouble”. A few seconds later, her hand was on the doorknob turning it open.
For as long as I could remember I had heard of the enigma that was Uncle Frank’s disappearance. He was my father’s older brother, who, over twenty years before had suddenly abandoned his family. He had given no explanation for leaving, no indication of what he intending to do, no forewarning of his selfishness. He simply walked away. My father undertook the task of taking care of Frank’s wife and children as well as his own and, eventually, their sick mother. She died not knowing what became of her elder son. For this, Frank was condemned with venom when my father spoke of him. Even though Frank’s wife and children survived the betrayal, and by all accounts were doing well, my father could never forget Frank’s treachery towards them and the heartbreak he caused his own mother. In my father’s mind, this man at our door was no longer his brother.
I knew that thoughts of my father’s anger consumed my mother’s mind as she placed her hand on the doorknob. I was grateful that he was not expected home for another few hours. My mother would have time to get rid of Uncle Frank. Later, she would break the news of Frank’s return to my father but only after his stomach was pacified with his dinner. On hearing the news, he, though heavy after eating, would spring up in a flash from his chair in a rage with his fists clenched ready to spout curses. She would gently remind him that profanities were unacceptable. He would then fold his lips inward and bite down on them while exhaling noisily. In his fury, his face would be as red as a boiled lobster. Then my mother would turn away from him and be too busy doing something to converse. He would then regain his composure in silence. Sometime later I would fall asleep listening to them conversing feverishly in hushed tones about the day’s events.
That was an ideal scenario that I hoped would play out later in the day. In reality, I did not know what would come.
My mother bravely opened the door and said quite calmly and steadily “Well, this is a surprise. Frank, you are the last person we expected to see today. Welcome back but your brother is not here to see you. Can you come back another day?” Uncle Frank seemed immediately crestfallen but he still managed a gentle smile. He said that he was glad to see my mother looking well and introduced himself to me. He asked after my father’s health and said that he very eager to see him again and the rest of our family. Then he gave us both kisses on the cheek and left.
I immediately felt sorry for him. He must have not imagined that his first visit in over twenty years would last two minutes. But, you see, my mother could not let my father unexpectedly encounter his errant brother in the house. What trouble that would be!
Eventually, after a few days, based on my mother insisting incessantly that “forgiveness is close to divinity” and Uncle Frank persisting in his visits, he and my father did meet and spoke at length. Their relationship became cordial but never quite friendly though Uncle Frank became a frequent visitor to our house. My siblings and I got to know and like him the way his own children never did. But, no matter how much we asked, he would never tell us why he had suddenly left. That would remain a troubling mystery.
Now, many years later, when I reflect on the day that Uncle Frank first knocked on the door and my mother’s calm but firm demeanor, I am confident in my belief that, when trouble comes knocking, it helps to have your mother answer the door.
Hope you enjoyed it and check you on Thursday.
Luv you guys