Author Topic: :)At A Crossroads  (Read 2061 times)

Offline mickward

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:)At A Crossroads
« on: June 04, 2006, 03:35:34 PM »

After carefully arranging the small poesy of flowers in the vase, George stepped back to look at his handiwork. The headstone looked much better now that he had scraped off all the moss and lichen that had accumulated since his last visit. Satisfied that he could now read the words carved on the marble, he sat down again next to the grave to talk to his father, as was his custom.

   "That's better dad", George said in a half-whisper, "people can read your name again now".
   
   George looked at the words on the headstone and smiled.

Here lie the remains of
Edward Montgomery Fletcher
B. 1942, D.1997
A man of peace,
Finally at peace himself

 He then looked over to the next grave on before continuing his private conversation.

   "Not to worry", he went on, "I haven't forgot, I'm just taking a breather".

   George thought again of how his father had faced the most difficult of decisions, the only time in his life that he had been at a crossroads. It had taken him a full weekend to make the decision, a rare event for a man who had always known well in advance what life held in store for him, even as a boy.
   George's father had told him many times about the day that his childhood friend had been severely injured in a freak swimming accident that resulted in spinal injuries. Edward had been just twenty years old and Alex, his friend, just eighteen. Edward had first met Alex at school at the age of six. Over the years they had developed the same interests and hobbies and had even entered the same career together as primary school teachers. They had shared everything together, from toys to records, from dealing with puberty to cheating in exams. In a nutshell, they had grown as close as if they were full-blown siblings, something that both Edward and Alex never actually had in real life.
Edward had told George of the alternatives that had been placed before him. Alex had no parents or relatives available or willing to care for a young paraplegic. So his father had been required to decide whether proceed in fulfilling a long ambition of being a teacher, or do the honourable thing and care for Alex?
   
   Edward had realised that if he started to care for Alex, he would be tied for the rest of his natural life into caring for his friend. He also realised that if he continued to work as a teacher, he would not only continue a great career, but he would lose a good friend too. The crossroads that he found himself at were as cruel and as evenly divided as any man should have to bear.
   George absent-mindedly poked at the multi-coloured gravel that covered his father's grave and resumed his conversation with his father.

   "What a choice to have to make father", George told the gravel, "how you must have agonised over the decision".

       With a long sigh, George gave the gravel a final smooth with his hand and rose to his feet. He carefully walked around his fathers grave, not wishing to step over the remains of his father, less he be watching from above. Once at the other side, he knelt once again and withdrew a small poesy of sweet-smelling roses and a miniature teddy bear from inside his jacket. Reaching out, he removed the vase from the adjoining grave and removed the dead flowers, replacing them with the roses. He replaced the vase and carefully placed the bear in front of it, before looking up at the headstone and sighing once again. This one too had it's wording obscured by the ever-present lichen and moss. George reached into his jacket pocket one again and removed a small metal paint-scraper. He began to work at the headstone with small delicate scrapes, taking care not to damage the wording. Within fifteen minutes he stopped and stood back to assess his endeavours. The wording was now plain to see.

Here lie the remains of
Alex-Margery Fletcher
Beloved wife of Edward
B. 1940, D.1999
Together once again

George grinned to himself and giving the headstone one last polish, crouched once again alongside it, there were tears in his eyes when he spoke.
   "There you are mum", George said in a trembling voice, "it looks like dad took the correct turning at the crossroads after all".

He stood, wiped his tear-filled eyes and made his way over to the school bus that the headmasster had parked nearby. It was time to go back to do the job that he was born to do, the job that his father had given up.



Offline Donnettetxgirl

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Re: :)At A Crossroads
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2006, 07:13:21 PM »
I found this story interesting, touching. Good way to start it out. However, you may want to watch how many times your throwing the word had in there. If you take a closer look at it, you'll find the majority of times, it's not necessary. Also, I once read advice from an agent, they encouraged writers to take out the word that whenever possible too. Often times the word is thrown in there, when you really could do without it. Good job on this.

Donnette

Offline Angeleyes

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Re: :)At A Crossroads
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2006, 05:23:16 AM »
I agree with Donnettetxgirl that this is very moving. Lovely story.

Only two things stood out to me. But please feel free to ignore them!lol.

Alex had no parents or relatives available or willing to care for a young paraplegic. So his father had been required to decide whether proceed in fulfilling a long ambition of being a teacher, or do the honourable thing and care for Alex?
I didn't think this needed a question mark, as it's not really a question.(Although I suppose in it's own way it is, so I could be completely wrong!)

He carefully walked around his fathers grave, not wishing to step over the remains of his father, less he be watching from above.
You use 'father' twice in the same sentence. I would change it to ; He carefully walked around his fathers grave, not wishing to step over his remains. (Or something along those lines.)

Is this a short story or is it part of somethong bigger?
May all your dreams come true.

Whether you think you can, or think you can't....you're right!
-Henry Ford.

DwWin

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Re: :)At A Crossroads
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2006, 10:23:53 AM »
Like it!! Just one point, there is a two year age gap between them but they met at school at the age of six. Which one of them was six when they first met?

sjreed56

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Re: :)At A Crossroads
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2006, 12:48:15 AM »
This is lovely and touching story. It could stand-alone or be a great lead into a larger piece. ~  Sherry
« Last Edit: June 09, 2006, 12:57:43 AM by sjreed56 »