Good Children by Len Kuntz

I was oldest and prettiest, but he did not want me. He preferred plain things that could be uprooted and made ugly.

He took turns with my younger sisters. When they returned to our room, neither ever spoke until dawn, and then it was as if nothing had happened and we were all three good children with clean skin and flower-scented hair. We’d talk about the cute Beatle and make breakfast.

Our father did not drink. It would have been better if he had, for then it might have made some sort of sick sense. Back then, I was always trying to force logic at madness, but I only came away with soupy sounds swishing in my stomach well.

The last time I saw him was in the kitchen. He came up behind me after I had opened the refrigerator. Cold, sour air wafted over my dress front while Father’s bitter breath slaked down my neck.

I dropped three eggs.

He said, “Oops. Best clean that up.”

I waited but nothing happened. Walking past, shells stuck to my socks, the yolks like glue.

That night he had a heart attack. We had prayed for such a thing half our lives and there it was.

Now I watch my grown sisters with their husbands. I haven’t told mine.

I wear thick slippers to bed, but even so, I still feel those broken egg shells from time to time, jagged and brittle, clinging, clinging and never letting go.

.

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13 Comments

Filed under Len Kuntz

13 responses to “Good Children by Len Kuntz

  1. It’s amazing how you’ve tapped into your feminine side for this, Len, to come up with something so real. Or maybe it’s just the deepest hurt, regardless of nature, that anyone can feel.

  2. Amazing!

    “That night he had a heart attack. We had prayed for such a thing half our lives and there it was.” — I love that you put this in the story!

    Good from beginning to end! Sad, though. :-( Well done!

  3. len kuntz

    thanks, michelle! and you, as always, sweet, susan. yes, i have always been very much in touch with my feminine side. about half the things i write are from a female center.

  4. Haunting. I loved this line: Back then, I was always trying to force logic at madness

  5. Maude Larke

    ” . . . and never letting go.” Sums it all up. And so wondefully subtle.

  6. Oh, this story really knocked me out, the voice is perfect, wonderful and brutally sad story, Len

  7. intense and heart breaking.

  8. The shells and yolks are such a great image. Three dropped eggs says it all…

  9. The shells, the yolks, and there it was. Amazing story-telling. I like the matter-of-fact manner that the character adopts: telling it how it is and yet it is not a matter of choice. Thanks.

  10. This is one of my favorite stories of yours. I feel like a mynah bird saying that.

  11. I have no new insight to contribute, but like the others, I found this a haunting story, well-told.

  12. Darryl P.

    Extremely powerful…I was always trying to force logic at madness, but I only came away with soupy sounds swishing in my stomach …

  13. Pingback: Week #45 – Broken shells | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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