A Writing Prompt



The writing prompt: Choose a moment from your personal history and mine it for sensory detail. Describe it to us in rich, evocative details. Let us breath the air, hear the heartbeat, the songs, feel the fabric and the touch of that moment.

April 20, 1994

The room was quiet. Only his halting breaths and the distant, low voices at the nurse's station brought a soft murmur to my ears. The blinds were closed and the midday light was a soft, creamy glow at the window. 

His outline seemed so small, almost insignificant, beneath the white sheet: a mere shadow of the man he once was. That sharp, almost gasping breathing punctuated the air. I sat by his side and held his hand, just in case he knew enough to know someone was with him. His fingertips were still rough from his years at the jeweler's bench. Diaphanous, parchment-thin skin, prickled with black hair covered the back of his hand. It was so unlike the powerful, capable, hard-working hand I had always known.

Those halting breaths were bitter, adding to the smell of disinfectant and dying in the air. I thought of other days. The smells of campfires, jeweler's rouge, family dinners, sawdust, trout streams and Old Spice. I thought of my little boy who would be losing his cherished grandfather that day: a little boy who was, at that very moment, sharing his dinosaur birthday cake with his kindergarten class. How would I explain this?

A sudden, ragged, stuttered intake of air. A sharp exhale. The breathing stopped. And my father was gone.

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