Not knowing what I know by Doug Bond

The smiling parents turn their back, both at the same time, for just a
second to look at the high school boy who caught the Frisbee at the
very last moment and rolled over like a stuntman on the sand. That’s
when the toddler’s little legs get pulled under and I see it.

There’s a soundtrack playing in my head when it happens and it happens
this way all the time. Sun skitter, dogs, kites, laughter. Slow motion
pink pale splashing and the wave washing away from shore. It’s a
disease, this jolt I’ve grown close to and the wonderfully deep
screaming that looses inside.

LOOK NOW! HELP! PLEASE! Someone tell them. I can feel my mouth
opening. I’m about to…but the wave really only came calf high and she
runs giddy-scream backwards and mom and dad, still smiling, hold her
tightly, not knowing what I know, that someday, it will come to her,
in a place they know well and I won’t be there to make it not happen.

It could be a canoe, the one they will leave at the edge of their
pond, the rope swing, a rifle on the wall, an unlocked door or the
drunk man in the Buick down the street. Let me tear out my eyes,
beautiful girl, and place them where I know that you’ll need them,
like I should have know for my own little boy, who like you, was
staring straight ahead and couldn’t have seen anything other than


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Filed under Doug Bond

16 responses to “Not knowing what I know by Doug Bond

  1. wow, Doug. Great crescendo of fear and panic! I was carried along, and was sad to see it over so quickly.

  2. Jessie Peacock

    Great piece. The anxiety is well done.

  3. Holy Hell! I feel like I’m going to be sick, and I like it. Thank You for the rush!

  4. K

    Doug – what a tale of woe! As a parent, I can completely relate to the anxiety of knowing “that someday, it will come to her, in a place they know well and I won’t be there to make it not happen.” These words resonated so deeply and you found the perfect way to convey that sad sentiment. If this is based on a true incident, I am profoundly sorry for your loss. If it is fiction, I commend you on so accurately capturing this moment of heartbreak.

    • Karla – thanks so much for your comment. And yes, it’s fiction, to the extent of a similar tragedy being a degree or two of separation from me. But once a parent, always a parent, and a recent trip with my now sturdy-legged teen to our unpredictable beaches had “sneaker wave” stats popping back into my head and a photo of her, age 2, which i saw later and made me scratch my head that i ever let her anywhere near the ocean…but of course, there’s no point in worrying about that now :)

  5. thanks everybody…glad to know the piece had the energy i’d hoped for.

  6. Oh man, this was gripping, Doug, HOLD ON…holy hell. Whew. Great speed, your rush like drugs, fast furious and so effective. Wow.

  7. Chilling. But such beautiful prose here, it makes up for what could be gorey in another writer’s hand, and turns this into a kind of prayer.

  8. Deborah A. Uptojn

    Brought back memories. My own brother was looking straight ahead when…

  9. The whole presentation of this, Doug, is just pitch-perfect.

  10. thanks for the wonderful comments and reactions…very appreciative for the reads…Susan Susan & Robert (eh, that could be a kick-ass professional firm’s name)

  11. Oh how heartbreaking! Echos of Cassandra, but more hauntingly real and identifiable.

  12. Scary, and very very real. Bravo.

  13. len kuntz

    i liked “sun skitter” and the manic pacing that crescendoed. way to go, doug.

  14. Pingback: Week # 47 – Blind Spot | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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