Thank you to my fellow author Olivia Hardin for her guest post today. I hope you’ll enjoy it and read her new book, Bitten Shame!
It was a really, really bad day, but my wonderful friend and fellow writer Liz Schulte supplied some advice. Punch someone… she said. Make it a stranger, then run like hell because they’re gonna call the cops. As so often seems to happen with writers, I started spinning a little story around her suggestions. I weaved in a little something from several other off-hand things that had happened to me recently and here you have it. An appropriate title escapes me, but nevertheless, here is my short, corny bit of prose!
I’m too old to cry. That thought circled the runway in his mind a few times, desperate for some place to crash and burn into a fireball of emotion. He sniffed once, twice, then dropped his head and let loose a single tear. He refused to allow more than that. Any more than a single tear would be stupid.
Roger removed the wetness from his cheek with a swipe of his hand, then pressed his body forward to heave himself from the park bench. The sun shone bright overhead, but he kept his head down and shuffled along the city square. He wouldn’t be shuffling if she were with him. No, her ready excitement would have them springing this way and that. She loved the outdoors and her enthusiasm always rubbed off on him. Bees flitted and buzzed around the freshly planted flowers along the south side of the square and he remembered how eager she would be to smell each and every one.
Mentally he cursed the sun, the blue sky and the colorful blooms for their mere presence. His Katie was gone and all the rest of the world could just go to hell.
People were moving too fast. Their bodies edged close to him, the expressions on their faces proof enough that they thought he was just an old man with nothing to do except get in their way. He wouldn’t give them any quarter, just carried on at his steady pace so that they would be forced to skirt along either side of him to get by.
A brute of a guy appeared a ways down the walk in front of him. The broad-chested man was heading right for Roger and the look on his face said he wasn’t about to step aside if the old man got in his way.
The fellow reminded him of a sergeant who used to bully him when he was stationed on Okinawa. A tight ball of resentment grew in the pit of Roger’s belly and he harrumphed to himself as he watched “Brutus” get closer. Memories of long ago years clouded his mind and he remembered the pretty brunette nurse who chided him over a few beers about the sergeant’s harassment.
“Next time you should just punch him. Punch him hard and then run as fast as you can. You look athletic enough and he’s a big bulky guy. He’ll never be able to catch you. Just do it.”
He remembered her winking at him, those green eyes of hers–the feature that made her look so striking–glistening like emeralds. She’d laughed, “Think about what a great story that will be to tell your grandkids one day.”
He couldn’t seem to recall her name, although her lovely face was emblazoned in his mind forever. They had chatted along for a while longer that day and before they parted she touched a small, delicate hand to his cheek and smiled, “Hey, even if you never do punch him, it’ll still be a great story to tell your grandkids. People always believe what old people say.” He never saw her again and he never did punch that sergeant.
You’re too old for regrets he told himself.
Roger stopped in place and squinted up at the sun. Damn, I miss Katie. The pain assailed him again and he fought more tears. No tears.
“Omph!” the air rushed from Roger’s lungs as “Brutus” shoved his shoulder to force him out of the way. He stumbled a bit and heard another passerby dispute the big guy’s treatment of an “old man.” While the two exchanged words, Roger brushed his sweaty hands against his thighs and felt a sly smile curl his lips.
Calm and cool, he approached “Brutus” and stood a step in front of the big man. The years had shortened his height significantly, but Roger stretched his spine tall as he pulled his arm back and delivered a strong punch to the guy’s jaw.
It was anything but a knock-out blow. Still “Brutus” was so surprised he stepped back two paces. Laughter welled up in Roger’s belly as he turned, shook his throbbing hand and walked away. There was no need to run. The passerby had recovered his own shock and gone back to harassing the bully.
He could picture Katie laughing at what he had done. A life with no regrets was a great life; that’s the lesson he would impart to the grandkids.
So, thanks for letting me guest blog today! No regrets!