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Today is Father’s Day. Usually that’s a time for celebrating and enjoying time with that special dad in your life. Since I was 15, it really hasn’t been that for me.  On May 31, 1999, my dad passed away. It was hard to cope as a teenager to the fact that your dad wasn’t around anymore. So usually on the special holidays (his birthday, the anniversary of his death and Father’s Day) I shut down.  I couldn’t even deal seeing the father’s day cards in the stores or the commercials on television. But today, I decided I’m going to celebrate Father’s Day in his memory because I know he’s proud of me.  So for this post, I want to share a special personal essay I wrote in college about a memory I have of my dad. I hope you enjoy! And, to you, Dad: I love you and miss you. Happy Father’s Day.

 

Baby me spending time with my daddy. 🙂

Skipping Stones
By: Melissa Wright

I can still hear the birds sing in my head. They sang a memorable tune as I stood at the same pond I had stood at eight years before. The place looked the same. There were more weeds and fewer purple wild flowers that I used to pick. And this time, I stood alone looking out at the water, randomly skipping stones, wishing I had the one person there that had left me two weeks before — my rock, my father.
My parents divorced when I was five years old. My father was a terrible alcoholic and my mother got sick of it. I spent some weekends and summer with my dad in his apartment in central New York. I grew up being a very shy girl, more so than I am now. There wasn’t a need to be social or have too many friends.
My dad was always concerned about that. He’d  say to me, “Melissa, you need to get out there and make new friends. You’re  a wonderful girl. You should be the life of the party.” I’d tell him I was fine with the small group of friends I had.  I never had a problem not being the social butterfly everyone else was.
He was also my biggest supporter when it came to my writing. No matter what I wanted to do, he always encouraged it. Every time I would bring home a story I wrote at school, he would have me read it to him. My dad would sit in his recliner and listen intently to every word, nodding his head every so often. He just wanted me to be happy and to accomplish my dreams.
One summer evening, my dad took me to a pond nearby his apartment. It wasn’t a long walk, just a half mile away. I remember taking my father’s hand and feeling secure as we walked over the rocky road. We stood at the pond in silence. My dad was always one for quiet reflection. He enjoyed his time of peace. At that time, he was a recovering alcoholic, still trying to find his way. I remember going off and picking those purple wild flowers while he meditated. I always had a feeling he liked to be alone during this time. I still think that must have been scary for him.
After he was through with his meditations, we would end up skipping stones on the water. I was never very good at it. My stones always landed with a plop and sunk into the water. My dad was good — better than good. He was the best. I never could get the hang of it and that’s why he reminded me about perseverance. There were people in our family who said my dad could never quit drinking alcohol. He could never stop. He proved them wrong. Sometimes, you just have to keep trying to get better at things.
I was fifteen when my father passed away, a young girl who was naive enough to never think anything bad could happen to her family. It was during the summer when I got the phone call from my older brother, telling me the unthinkable news. Who was going to spend my summers at the pond with me? Who was going to help me skip stones? I lost my dad that day, lost my rock, my support system. Images of our times at the pond and of my dad smiling at me flashed through my head. Yet, I was glad that I didn’t have to see him deteriorate into nothing.
My life changed from then on. I didn’t have my dad around anymore to support me. Yet, I changed. I began to do what my dad told me to do: to persevere; to not let my past determine who I am today. I broke out of my shell and got to know more people. A few days after his memorial service, I went back to that same pond, alone and older. Things had changed, but the pond was still the same: there were the same flowers and the water still sparkled. I grabbed a stone and threw it out into the water, smiling when it skipped a few times and then sank slowly into the water. I was finally starting to get it. I knew my dad would have been proud of me, for not only learning out to skip stones after so many years of trying, but also for learning to  let go of the past, for learning to let go of things I can’t really change. I can’t bring my dad back not matter how much I want to. It was a bittersweet moment. I knew for my own sake that it was my way of saying goodbye.
I still think of my dad and our summer evenings at the pond where life was carefree and innocent. Sometimes, I want those days back. But, I have them in my heart, where the birds still sing and the little purple wild flowers grow. Any time I feel down, there’s just one thing I know to do. I skip stones.

 

 

 

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As I mentioned yesterday, this is my 100th post on this blog. 🙂  I thought long and hard about what I wanted to write about today. It is a special post after all. Do I post some poetry? Do I post another short story? I have done all that already, so that isn’t very special..

I think for this post, I want to celebrate this blog by showing my appreciation to everyone who takes the time to read this. Whether you have been here since the beginning or you have just discovered this blog, I really do appreciate everyone.

I have been writing stories for so long, I can’t imagine doing anything else.  So, after college, I realized that this was the time for me to really pursue my dreams of becoming a published author.  It was time to put it all into action. I had so many stories to share and so many characters for people to meet.

I started this blog to share my experiences about being a “newbie” writer and trying to achieve that dream of mine. I wanted to inspire others to do the same, to never be afraid to go for what you want. I also wanted to connect with other writers and join them on their journeys. I’m so glad that it  has happened for me.

Without the constant support I have received from family and friends (whether it be in real life or in the blogger world), I don’t think I could have managed to keep going. When I hit a slump, you all are willing to pick me up and encourage me to keep going. Thank you for being my “cheerleaders.” You have no idea how much that means to me.

It’s been quite a journey so far and more people are joining me. 🙂 I welcome you all and hope it is as enjoyable for you as it is for me. With my book halfway finished, I really can’t wait for everyone to read it. My goal will be within reach and that is a celebration I cannot wait to have!

So, thank you again for all of the kind words and conversations we have had on this blog. I just appreciate that people come onto this blog and read these words I write.

That is why I’m dedicating this special 100th post to you. This blog isn’t really intended for myself. 🙂

Now, onto 100 more blog posts! I hope to see you all at the 200th post celebration.

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It seems that time has went by so fast! Tomorrow will be my 100th post on this blog. I couldn’t be more excited. 🙂 So, expect a celebration tomorrow! I’ll bring the cupcakes haha.

For this post, I’ll be finishing up my short story, Blanket of Ghosts. I hope you have enjoyed what you have read so far and please feel free to comment and let me know what you think of the whole thing!

Conclusion of Blanket of Ghosts:

The next few weeks passed by with Ryan sending flowers and e-mails wanting to meet up again. Lia wrote him back once, telling him that as soon as she was free that she would meet up for dinner. She still felt disappointed in herself for not being able to let go of her inhibitions and fears.  The days got hotter and when Jordan invited her to swimming at a lake in their hometown of Holly Springs, Mississippi, Lia jumped at the chance for a distraction away from guys.  And it was hot. Miserably humid. As Jordan started to slather herself with sun block, Lia sat down on the dock, placing her feet in the cool water. She wiggled her toes in the water, thinking about work and booking new musicians. Anything was better than thinking about other things.
“So have you heard from Mr. Fire fighter yet?” Jordan asked.
Without even looking over at Jordan, Lia knew that she was smirking. “Yes. But I’ve been too busy to meet up with him.”
“Oh whatever. You’re not too busy to find time to date. You just don’t want to make time. It’s all because of you know who.” Jordan paused. “You know what? I think it’s about time we start saying his name.”
“Go ahead. I’m not stopping you.”
Jordan sighed. “That wasn’t the reaction I was going for, you know.”
“What reaction were you going for?”
The next moment, Jordan stood up and did her wide gestures. “I want you to get angry,” she said, pounding her fist into her other hand. “I want you to stand up and start screaming. Just something other than pretending like it doesn’t matter.”
The only sounds to be heard were the birds singing to each other. Lia sat there, staring out into the open water waving to the shore.  Suddenly, Lia stood up and walked over to the radio they had brought and flicked it on. Slow blues music played softly. Lia smiled sadly.
“This was his favorite song.”
Jordan looked over at her with confusion. Lia continued to smile. “It was his favorite song. Parker’s. He would listen to it every night before he would drop me off at home.  Before he would kiss me goodnight, he would sing this song to me.”
“What happened that night, Lia?” Jordan asked. “What happened on graduation night?”
Lia walked back to the dock and sat down, placing her feet in the water again. “He took me to this lake and we sat on the hood of his car. He played some songs he had written on his guitar and started telling me his dreams. And I knew at that moment. I knew what was going to come.”
Jordan sat down beside Lia and looked out at the water with her. “What did you know?”
“I knew,” Lia said, slowly. “That Parker Bishop, my high school sweetheart, the love of my life, was going to leave me. At that moment, I knew he wasn’t going to stick around.  When I began to realize that, it began to rain. We had to go home and the next day, he was gone.”
Silence filled the air, drowning out the bird’s song. Lia felt a chill in the air and shivered. “I can’t blame him for having dreams. We all have them. But I can blame him for leaving me with these ghosts that have suffocated me like a tight blanket I couldn’t shake off. He left me with all these doubts.”
At that moment, her beloved Parker started singing his new hit song on the radio. Lia turned her head and saw herself at 18, sitting on the hood of Parker’s beat up Mustang, listening to Parker sing that same song.  She looked away as that image disappeared and looked back at the water.
“But I realize now that he’s not coming back. We’re different people now and I need to let go. I’m going to call Ryan right now and ask him to dinner tomorrow night.”
Jordan handed Lia her cell phone. “You call him right now so I can make sure you don’t back out.”
Lia bent her head back and laughed harder than she had in a long time. “All right. I will.” She took the phone and then added, “I think I’m also going to do a little performance at my club one night. It’s about time I got back into performing myself.“
As Lia began to dial, the wind started to blow, bringing a smile on her face.
“What are you smiling about?” Jordan asked.
Lia put the phone to her ear and waited for Ryan to pick up. As she waited, she simply told Jordan, “It’s going to rain.”
As soon as she said that, tiny rain drops fell from the sky. Jordan began to squeal, jumped up, and raced for the car. Lia merely put her head back and felt the rain on her face, feeling more content than she ever had been.

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