Tears will slow

by | Nov 8, 2011 | Fiction, Flash fiction | 10 comments

Tears Will Slow
By Laura McHale Holland

I knew right away she was the one. I should have expected she’d fight me like a badger. She held her boy’s head above waves tearing at her flesh. She held on longer than I ever thought possible, pulling strength from something beyond my depths.

At last, a surfer’s hands grabbed the boy, steadied him on a board. But when the hands reached for her, I, Poseidon, snatched her and pulled her home to me.

She, like her family above, is despairing now. But their tears will slow eventually. Her husband will remarry; her son will grow up; her friends will stop talking about her. And then, she will turn her fierce blue eyes toward me and ask how she can help save the sea. That’s why I took her. She is the one who will mend the damage done by her kin.

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  1. Jerry Kohut

    life will go on, hoping for the best someday?

  2. admin

    Yes indeed, Jerry, life must go on, and I think hoping for the best makes sense. I’m wondering now if this story would work better written from the drowned mother’s point of view. It was inspired by an actual drowning in the news here last week. It was very sad.

  3. Nancy LaTurner

    Laura, go ahead and write another story from the drowned mother’s point of view — you’ll work your usual magic, I’m sure. But this one told by Poseidon is terrific. It turns a “senseless drowning” into something we can understand and find hope in.

  4. admin

    Thanks, Nancy. I think that must be what I was trying to do in this story—make sense of the tragedy or at least process it in some way. (By the way, I’m going to see if your book is in ebook format. It sounds like a very good read to me.)

  5. Robin Leigh Morgan

    Hi Laura,

    Here I go, letting my imagination run amok again. How did I do this week?

    The sense I got from this is a mother’s son had been dragged out to sea by a riptide. She got to him and helped to keep him afloat until could finally arrived. A riptide is extremely powerful and its motion against your body can actually make it feel like the water is tearing at your skin. We can tell by now she’s exhausted trying to save her son’s, so when help finally does arrive and she sees he will be safe. allows herself to succumb to the power of the riptide and is pulled out and down into the ocean [into Pseidon’s realm]

    Naturally life on land will continue, things will accord and people will move on with their lives until this drastic event becomes a mere memory to them.

    Her eyes showed the determination she had trying to face her son. And when she did succumb, her eyes remained open, still showing her fierce determination. Her determination in her eyes also seem to beg the question of why. Why was this allow to happen?

    I feel it is the memory of her, not herself which will ultimately correct the cause of why did it happen.

  6. admin

    Robin, what you envision is very much like what I see in my mind’s eye. I was picturing the mother and child being swept out together, though. And I didn’t see her allowing herself to succumb. I was thinking she had no choice. She did what was ordinarily not humanly possible in keeping her son and herself afloat for as long as she did and was entirely spent after her son was saved.

    The idea of her allowing herself to succumb is intriguing, though. It made me wonder, why would she allow herself to succumb? And I had the thought that she might do that if she thought the surfer wouldn’t be able to get her and her son to shore safely. If that were the case, it would be another amazing thing she did for her son beyond staying afloat long enough for him to get on a board.

    Could you say more about your last sentence about how it is the memory of her, not herself that will ultimately “correct the cause of why did it happen.” I’m not sure I quite understand what you’re saying, and I’d like to.

  7. Robin Leigh Morgan

    When I said
    “Her eyes showed the determination she had trying to face her son. And when she did succumb, her eyes remained open, still showing her fierce determination. Her determination in her eyes also seem to beg the question of why. Why was this allow to happen?”

    If you are “spent” as you’ve stated, aren’t you so weak [exhausted] that you give up trying to do any more. She’d used her last ounce of energy trying to save her son. Haven’t you seen movies where a similar scenes have occurred. I used “succumb” to indicate her surrending to her fate, my son’s life is more important than my own.

    When you wrote
    “That’s why I took her. She is the one who will mend the damage done by her kin.”
    If she drowned [enter the realm of Poseiden] and has died how can she to anything thing to mend the damage done by her kin [others].

    I thought about =
    Poseiden et al are ocean dwellers who are different from the land dwellers.
    How many times has the death of an individual caused others to work on something to aid others. It is not the “physical” I’m referring it is the remembrance of her. And if you’re doing something to remember another individual, aren’t you doing it in that individual’s name, and by doing it in that person’s name, aren’t carrying on that person’s work as if that person would still be alive.
    Poseiden’s realm [oceans] have been polluted, and perhaps on that fateful day, her and her son might have been at the ocean trying to clean up the damage which had been done by others [her kin = land dwellers]. And she. as I have stated, through the remembrance of her will mend it [pollution of our oceans]

    As you can I probably read WAY TOO FAR into the message you tried to communicated in this flash. However, this is the image I had [after reading it slowly a few times]

  8. admin

    I get what you’re saying better now. … I think she lives on in a different way in Poseidon’s realm, and that eventually she helps him clean up the oceans. How that happens I don’t know. One aspect could be people aiding sea life in her name, but I like the idea of something magical being at work, too.

  9. Barbara Toboni

    What a sad story, yet heroic too. Another gem.

  10. admin

    Sad and heroic. I agree, Barbara. Thanks for your support!

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