A Precious Possession

Posted: January 6, 2011 in #fridayflash, Short stories

She woke to his gentle touch against her cheek. She smiled sleepily and stretched, like a cat disturbed from its nap beside the radiator. He had stayed with her through the night whilst she slept, protecting her and comforting her wild dreams.  As he breathed in unison with her, she wriggled herself slightly, adjusting her position so they lay parallel to each other’s bodies.  A small satisfied smile and gentle sigh left her lips as she fell back to sleep confident he’d be there again when she woke in the morning.

The realisation of him not being there, happened just moments after she had fallen into a slumber.  Like having a huge vice tightening around her chest, she almost choked from the lack of oxygen, as she woke in an agitated state.  She had dreamt he was next to her, soothing her pain and comforting her in her hour of need, as he had so many times before.  But she had forgotten.  He had left her.  He had left the world of the living.

Tears streaming down her shocked and jittery face, she ran from the bed, as if she’d discovered a snake underneath her duvet.  Her mum came to the bedroom door and switched on the light.  Tina grabbed her and held her tight, tears flowing faster than Niagara Falls.

“It’s ok Tina, it’s alright,” her mother soothed.

“It’s not,” she sobbed, gasping for breath as if she’d been under water for much longer than humanly possible, “…he’s never coming back is he?”

“No sweetheart.  But he’ll always be in here,” she rubbed Tina’s head and then her chest where her heart would be, “…and here!”

“But I want him back,” she wept, “I miss him.”

“We all do,” her mum pulled her close and comforted her, rocking her distraught fragile body in her arms gently.  For the fourth night in a row, she lay Tina down in her bed and waited until she cried herself to sleep.  Each tear was another string tugging on her mum’s heart, she felt as if Lemmings were bungee jumping off it simultaneously.

*   *   *

The next morning was a quiet one.  The family sat around the table to eat breakfast, although not much food was really consumed.  Not even atmosphere or conversations were on offer this morning, just a solemn look on one another’s faces. 

Tina was the last to come down, everyone watched as she pulled up a chair and sat down.  For a young child, her face looked gaunt and insipid.  She’d never experienced loss before.

“Would you like to play with the tea-set?” Tina’s older sister Sandra asked touching her hand, whilst playing with her mobile phone with the other. 

Tina shook her head, “Not without him,” she mumbled quietly.

“How about we go to the shops?” her older brother Callum asked from the opposite end of the table.

Tina shook her head. “No thanks.”

“You could come score my skateboards stunts like they do on telly?” he offered, not really knowing what else he could say.

She shook her head and took her glass of orange juice from in front of her and sipped it gently, before gulping the entire contents.  She then got down from the table and went back to her room.  On her way up the stairs she heard her mum say to the others, “It’ll take her a while to get over this, just bare with her.”

“Mum its been nearly a week!”

“Just give her time Sandra.”

Her sister was on her mobile phone again, pacing the hallway. If she was a Barbie doll that would definitely be her accessory –‘The Sandra Doll, with working mobile phone to use every waking hour of the day!’

Sandra continued to chat incessantly, “…she’ll get over him eventually.  She’s young and just struggling to get her head around it! Anyway, what you wearing for non-uniform day on Friday?”

A gigantic gobstopper was at the back of Tina’s throat, and her eyes stung and watered uncontrollably.  Sandra had forgotten him already.

As she went downstairs she looked out of the dining room window, where Matt was in the garden practising on his skateboard, laughing at his mate who’d fallen off the mini ramp.

She knew at least one person who was sure to be missing him as much as she was.  She opened the door to the living room and found Granddad.  Her gentle giant.

He sat contentedly in the armchair by the window, reading the paper, with his glasses perched on the end of his nose.  “You ok love?” he smiled, with his set of dentures dropping slightly each time he opened his mouth.  It was like watching a wind-up pair of chattering teeth from the joke shop, being put in his mouth by mistake. She nodded and smiled.

“I miss him too,” Granddad ruffled her hair and pinched her nose.  “But he wouldn’t want us to be sad forever, would he?”

Tina didn’t like what she was hearing.  Had everyone forgotten him?

That evening she lay motionless in bed, like a corpse.  Only her chest moved from breathing and her eyes shone like saucers, in the moonlit room. 

A loud thumping on her bedroom door woke Tina the next morning. 

“Tina, you seen my mobile phone?” Sandra bellowed.

“No,” Tina smiled.

“Tina!” her mum could be heard from her bedroom, “have you used my hair brush?”

“And my skateboard!?” Matt yelled from under his bed.

Then a loud garbled sound could be heard from the bathroom.  “And Granddads teeth!?” Sandra giggled, then continued banging on the door “Tina!” 

Tina smiled. 

She’d lost her most precious possession; her best friend; her play companion; and her soul mate.  Hamish had been her pet since she could remember.  A playful, marl-grey coloured cat with large white whiskers, a wet pink nose and big green eyes  He curled himself around her at night, she’d wipe her tears away with his tail and he’d sit patiently whilst she poured him a pretend cup of tea from her bright pink flowery teapot.  But he’d gone and she’d never see him again.

At least they’d get their most precious possessions back…if they found them before mum turned on the dishwasher.

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Comments
  1. Blackbirdsong says:

    Love the ending and love this little girl.

  2. Craig Smith says:

    Very nicely written.

    “she felt as if Lemmings were bungee jumping off it simultaneously”

    Don’t know why, but my favourite line 🙂

  3. Nice twist in the end. Very clever-I had a completely different idea about where the story was going after the first two paragraphs.

  4. adampb says:

    Got a giggle out of the last line. I was wondering who was the lost soul for Tina.
    Adam B @revhappiness

  5. FARfetched says:

    Poor TIna. At least the others knew for a moment how she feels. Maybe Mom will check the dishwasher first! 🙂

  6. Valerie says:

    I figured she was talking about a pet, but what a good way to get her feelings across.

  7. mgideon says:

    I’ll admit, I saw where this was going, that Tina’s pet had died, but I dug her little revenge tactic of stealing the possessions most precious to her family. Well done!

  8. ramseylyons says:

    I like this story. Sad, but the last line is funny.

  9. Maria Kelly says:

    Lots of emotion and good descriptions in here. Also, love the lightheartedness of her revenge with the last line. I was sniffling a little at the end. I kinda thought she was grieving for a pet. Some folks feel the loss of a pet more keenly than others.

  10. Just awesome. I love it. Losing a pet when young is a major experience.

  11. juliorvarela says:

    Very cool twist at the end, and no, I totally thought it was husband or a boyfriend. Never thought it was a pet, nice storytelling. Glad I found it.

  12. ganymeder says:

    I thought her taking their things at the end was sort of sinister, like the makings of a serial killer ‘making them pay’ for not grieving enough, but the dishwasher thing made me laugh!

  13. Tony Noland says:

    Great twist at the end – I pity her condition after the items get ruined, though.

  14. Wasn’t sure if it was a teddy or a pet, but loved her reaction to everyone else’s. Just what a young child might do. Great idea.

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