Dust and Light

My what an exhausting first week of classes this has been!  Teaching four classes in a row is for the birds.  Here’s what my sleep-addled brain came up with this week for Trifecta‘s challenge to use the word ‘Turkey’ – as in bowling – in a piece of writing between 33 – 333 words.


“Why do I need to fly, Turkey?  I’ve got everything I need right here!” he’d grin, gesturing contentedly around the two-bedroom house we shared after my mother passed away.  My dad never called me by my name – only Turkey.  “Come on, Turkey, you’re my good luck charm!” he’d plead, until I begrudgingly accompanied him to the smoke-filled alley where he bowled with his league every Thursday night.  As a little girl, I’d soon grow bored with being so lucky and wander off.  Usually I’d crawl under the bolted-down benches in search of stray quarters to pop into the pinball machine.  Eventually he’d drag me out, my hands and knees as gray and dusty as the air.

“Did you get a turkey?” I’d yawn sleepily.

“I’ll show you,” he’d whisper.  Grinning proudly and cradling me in his arms, he’d carry me over to gaze up at the three green x’s on the screen.

He bowled every Thursday, went to church every Sunday and ate the same meal at the same Big Boy restaurant every Monday night – a patty melt and a root beer float.  And he refused to fly.

“Landing – that’s the most dangerous part,” he’d explain, his eyes large, but landing has always been my favorite part.  Everything is serene and altered.  The city, washed-out and dirty by day, glistens like ingots strewn across a black sand beach. The lights shimmer like bioluminescent plankton adorning the night waves.  I long to sink beneath them, to join that ribbon of lights and all that cool darkness.

Finally he was flying with me, nothing but dust in a jar now, cradled in my arms.

In the end, before silence took him, he’d looked at me beseechingly, mumbling,  “Remember the grand canyon?  It was so beautiful.  So beautiful,” over and over.

“He’s never been to the grand canyon” I told the doctor, who smiled sympathetically.

As the landing gear descended with a whirring, mechanical clunk, I clutched the urn tighter.

“I’ll show you Dad,” I whispered.


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