Friday Flash: Daddy in the Stone

It’s Sunday, so of course we’re going to see Daddy again. I don’t like going to see Daddy, so I was a bit naughty at breakfast time, but I don’t like to make Mummy sad, so I stopped and got ready like she said.

We’re in that big garden where all the other mummies and daddies who went away end up. I quite like it to look at. It would be nice to go play and explore, because there are lots of old trees and different shaped stones, and not all of the stones are like Daddy’s stone. I like trees. They make me feel like adventure.

Daddy doesn’t make me feel like adventure. Daddy makes me feel like I’m watching one of those really ancient vids everyone watches at Christmas time. I really loved Daddy before he went away, but I don’t like going to see him now, because now he’s boring and says the same things every time. I don’t think it’s really him any more.

But Mummy gets really sad when I say that, and sometimes she cries, so I don’t say it. I did this morning, but I was upset because Jenny took me off her friends list yesterday. I couldn’t make Jenny mad, so I made Mummy a bit mad, but then I felt bad because I love Mummy so I stopped.

The big field is really pretty today. The air is really clear and clean. I can see much further over the field, and there are some real big stones over there that I want to go look at. But Mummy’s talking to Daddy, so I have to stay and listen.

He’s saying the same things again. When we get here, he’s always sat at his desk on the grass in front of his stone, and he always looks up the same way as we get close, and says the same thing. He says “Ah, can’t you see I’m working?”, but he says it kind of laughing.

I remember when he said it the first time. It was before he went away. It was Jamie’s birthday and Mummy and Daddy had got Jamie one of those cameras that records pictures that are big and not flat, and so me and Jamie went to record Daddy with it first while he was working at his desk. That’s when he said it first, like that.

Jamie has a job on Sundays now. I don’t think he liked coming to see Daddy either. He said it was something called Morbid. I looked it up on my notepad but I didn’t get what it meant, really. It’s a grown-up word. Jamie’s very grown up. He’s got a job. It’s almost like a real job, but they pay him with lessons at school for picking up rubbish and cleaning in the big city.

Grown-ups are funny. Why would you want people to send you to school for longer? I won’t work for that when I’m big like Jamie. But Jamie’s clever, and I love him very much. Maybe he knows some grown-up stuff I don’t understand yet. Other words like Morbid. Maybe having a job for school is Morbid too. I’ll ask him.

I can tell we’ll be leaving Daddy soon now because he’s saying the things he always says at the end and Mummy’s looking like she’s going to cry. She always waits till she gets back to the gate of the big field before she does cry, though. Once I told her that was silly, because Daddy can’t see if she cries in front of him, but that made her really angry and she cried even more than usual. I never said it again.

If Mummy ever goes away, I don’t want to put her in a stone. I love her and I love Daddy, but Daddy in the stone isn’t the same. Daddy in the stone just makes Mummy sad, but she says they put him in the stone to make her feel happy. Grown ups are funny. I won’t put Mummy in a stone if she goes away, and I bet Jamie doesn’t make me, either.

[tags]Friday, flash, short, fiction, story[/tags]

9 thoughts on “Friday Flash: Daddy in the Stone”

  1. Yeah, it’s a good one. Took me six or seven paragraphs to suss it was about a graveyard (er, it IS about a graveyard, right?). Quite thought provoking – you can read it as being about technology impeding our natural human processes of recovery from grief. Or maybe that’s just me.

    In other news, I failed with my FFF again this week. In the middle of planning a relocation back to the UK (in two weeks! Gaarghh!) and that is taking up almost all of my time. Next week, next week….

  2. Thanks guys, I’m glad you liked it. Your interpretation is quite correct, Dan, that’s kind of where I was going with it. I struggled with it all week, trying to write it from the widow’s perspective, and then the little-girl-as-POV idea came to me in the bath last night (the idea, not the little girl), and it all fell together.

    This is actually one of the few pieces I’ve felt good about before posting it, and that had me worried that I was being over-confident. Maybe I’m just getting the hang of it now.

  3. That’s a great piece, & I like the way that these technologically advanced graveyards are steadily revealed. The voice of the narrator is really well-judged.

  4. And I definitely read it as a little girl. Hm are we imposing our own gender here?

    I really liked the exploration that this technology might impede recovery.

    And maybe I’m Morbid but the setup was obvious to me from the first paragraph. The story seemed a good natural extrapolation from those European graveyards that have photos of the dead, which I always find disconcerting.

    A while ago a friend commented that he had only one recording of his (recently deceased) mother’s voice and I realised that audio recordings had never occurred to me. And I’m not sure I would want them…

  5. This is really well-written and touching!

    I thought the protagonist was a little boy too (and I’m female). The setting was quite obvious, but then I’ve been around cemeteries not so long ago.

    Yeah, I often wished I had recordings of deceased relatives and friends, then think better of it. Morbid is the word–they live on best in our memories.

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