Week 8 Word: GIFT
Word count 500
By B.A. Sarvey
My mahogany companion knows many secrets. It listens to the visions in my head, helps me put them on paper. Writing is the only way I can twist events; change outcomes.
Writing lets me reach into painful experiences: a penknife slipping into flesh. Ironically, exposing infection allows healing. Daily barrages of knowledge leave me much infected, needing much healing.
Sorrows surround me. Some are mine. Myriad belong to strangers. “The Gift”—a misnomer if ever there was one—is a bane hastening me to my grave. Second sight has dogged me all my life. I cannot hide from, nor inure myself to, “The Gift.” The joyous events I have visions of do not counteract my premonitions of misfortunes.
What good is a gift that brings pain?
I see things. Yet I am impotent.
My own child could not be saved by my “gift.” I “saw” him plunging, thrashing, as I sat sewing. Desperately, knowing it was happening as I ran, I struggled to the creek’s edge, screaming ‘Jacob’, forewarned too late that my boy would stray, slip, and be carried away by the rushing, icy water, where he and his siblings played. I was too slow, bound by long skirts and brambles. All I could do was curse. Wail. And wish to be swept away as well.
Soon after, my dear husband William, attempting to comfort and cheer, commissioned my mahogany desk. He always humored my passion for writing, although he did not know why I was so driven to invent stories. I rarely shared my visions with him. Still, he felt my growing melancholy. I let him think it was the grief of losing Jacob. But how many other “Jacobs” have I been unable to rescue? My empathy runs too deep. Sometimes, the events glimpsed of a stranger’s life are the ones that take me with violent migraines; nightmares. I know the futility of knowing.
Somehow, William’s gift, so unlike mine, does comfort, as nothing else could. Steadfastly, my companion’s smooth grain and russet sheen imbue me with calm. It is my muse, my confidante, my liberator. Here, I can close my eyes and not see horrifying visions, or if I do, I think them and write them to a different ending.
The boisterous noise of my brood is long gone. Soon, though, Grace will marry. Bear two girls and three boys. These walls will again echo with children’s chatter. To Grace will go the homestead and its remaining furnishings. My cherished desk. None of the others are interested. I tried to make this a happy, loving place. After Jacob, though, I became fiercely protective. Unintentionally overbearing. They seek no reconciliation.
I foresaw that the influenza would snatch William, as surely as the water had snatched Jacob. I know when and how I shall join them. I see happiness for my other children. They shall outlive me. The reappearance of “the gift” comes generations later.
As for my own ending, I have time. Time for more stories. More healing.