Monday, September 15, 2008

"Jim," I whisper, "It's the door."

As part of the grant I wrote in order to go to Germany, I proposed writing a short story about my dad. That is a work in process. The end result is intended just for me, only to be shared with a few family members and friends. One way I'm "forcing" myself to work on it is to participate in some of the writing activities our 8th graders are learning about in their English classes. At present, they are learning to write snapshot moments. A snapshot moment is to be written in the first person, includes thoughts and emotions, uses sensory details and only meaningful dialogue and requires staying in the moment. So I wrote a snapshot entry about the moment I found the long sought-after door (see the grant proposal for more info). Today, I shared my written piece with two of the classes. Tomorrow, I'll share it with two more. I still can't read it without crying. It will always be a source of deep emotion for me. For what it's worth, here it is:

A cool mist lightly caresses my face as we climb the slight incline of smooth red brick. Ten steps away, I spy another door. My steps hesitate as I approach, afraid to look, afraid not to. My eyes search hopefully from top to bottom, side to side, desperate in their quest for an answer. My heart grows heavier with each step past the door. I had so hoped that this would be the door. The weight in my heart grows heavier still as I blink back the tears. A stairway looms ahead, it’s mass of metal, bolts and taut wire pointing to a dead-end. .

My feet begin the slow pivot as I turn back. Something catches my eye, seeing, but not believing. My heart skips a beat then quickens, thump-thump-thump-thump in rapid succession. There is a slight shadow in the middle left panel of the door. My eyes zoom in on the shadow as I try to make sense of what they are seeing. A light touch of my hand pushes open the secret door-within-a-door. My heart is in my throat, a roadblock to the words I try to say. “Jim,” I whisper, “It’s the door.” Words deny me. Tears blur my vision and mingle with the cool mist on my cheeks.

In that moment, I lose myself and become a young soldier of so long ago, standing tall and brave and proud. The journey of four thousand miles and a year of planning bring me to this single moment. Raw emotions rise to the surface as the memory replays itself in my mind as a movie running in slow motion, frame by single frame.

1 comment:

Dave said...

This is a wonderful piece!
You have a great style and voice.