Thursday, December 3, 2015

Thursday's Trauma Writing

Thursday's Trauma from Delores at Under the Porch Light. This week the prompts are delightfully seasonal! I decided to use all the words. Here are the three sets she offered up this week:
laden, spruce, antlers, moonlight, memories, cabin
magic, method, sparkle, design, mittens, toboggan
skates, lake, powder, frigid, tantalizing, emerald

Doug stared into the darkness; his body slack and melded with the bedclothes. It was Christmas Eve and he wasn't dreaming of Santa. He was dreaming of a long solid wood dining table laden with a feast for a dozen friends and family. A prickly spruce looming eight feet tall, the sparkle of real glass bulbs daintily hanging from the blue-green boughs, emerald, ruby, and diamond lights sparkling from within its needles. He was dreaming of glistening slopes and heavy wooden toboggans, of frozen ponds and lakes and well-worn skates with thrice replaced laces and creased leather.

"The ghosts of Christmas past," he thought and sighed. 

This Christmas, like so many of recent years, wasn't anything like those of his childhood. There was no snowshoeing to the cabin the weekend before Christmas and hunting for a tree. No gawking at the elk antlers hanging from the rafters and telling ghost stories. There was no family, no cheer, no magic. 

Doug blinked away tears and shushed his memories, turning his attention to cataloging his belongings as he always did before he went to bed and upon waking.

"Jacket, on. Mittens, pockets. Long sleeved sweatshirt, on. T-shirt, on. Jeans, on. Socks and shoes, on. Boxers, on and one in backpack. Backpack, underneath my knees. Dull razor, in backpack. Empty shampoo bottle, backpack. Nub of soap, backpack. Toothbrush, backpack." He kept reciting items in his mind until he reached the last, "Sleeping bag, under my head." 

Usually that was his body's cue to fall asleep but tonight it wouldn't happen. He tried to be grateful, employ gratitude as a salve for his anger and sadness, but the method didn't render it's usual solace. Just like Thanksgiving, he would likely lie awake tonight and tomorrow night with his thoughts. 

The shelter he was visiting would serve breakfast tomorrow and they hosted a special dinner Christmas night but he would spend the day on the frigid streets. In a way, it was nice that it was below freezing, the wispy powder was easier to deal with than rain, but he would have to keep moving to stay warm. He would have to make sure his wandering didn't take him too far away as it was first come, first served to get a bed.

Doug imagined the moonlight outside and felt a new pang of sadness in his heart. "I miss you" he thought to the moon, and felt fresh tears at the corners of his eyes as he realized outside had become home. It hadn't been by design, but he adjusted to his new life and become accustomed to his new reality. He was still angry and sad but he felt himself normalizing and that was a whole new grief.

The tantalizing image of a Christmas feast from his past sprang back to his mind and he blinked away tears. Maybe cataloging the feast would help him sleep, and so he did, "Roast ham with maple glaze, homemade yeast rolls with butter, green beans with bacon..."


  1. Such an excellent story of a homeless man, with out ever saying homeless. Doug's life was so clear.
    I love this story.

  2. Your writing is always so evocative. And moving. And powerful.

  3. I admire your talent, Hannah!

  4. You are such a gifted writer, Hannah! Simply amazing...

  5. Are you enjoying the writing process? Does it make you feel better and will you keep writing? I hope it's finding you well. As you have a natural gift for it.

  6. Thank you all so much, your comments are so encouraging :)

    Whisk- I do enjoy the writing process. I think the prompt style exercises get me out of my head a bit as I focus on getting all the words in instead of nit-picking my writing! It does make me feel better, like I can do something and I will keep writing. I was so afraid of failure for so many years, but now I just want to write and enjoy it for what it is.

  7. That is brilliant and for a young writer, you are learning the most important lesson, first. Don't worry about perfection. Have fun. Brilliant. You keep going. You rock.


Thank you for reading and commenting!

Be well, HBF