Stories in Families that you’ll love, handpicked by our team.
The Last Inheritance
Sheer pastel curtains swayed behind a man who had only known business and death. An over iced drink, half-melted, pooled close to a large stack of disheveled manilla folders. Smoke from his final cigarette bloomed thinly from a cracked ashtray. He understood his chaos, filing through unmarked binders, not tipping over his several cups of pens as he reached across for a stapler. He scratched his smooth head. The light shining behind him exposed the dry skin that fell. This was the kind of man people only met once, and he liked it that way.
PART I The last time Silas remembered it snowing this much, he was barely five. That was a lifetime ago, but if he concentrated very hard, he could stir up fuzzy memories of backyard snowball fights and snow angels with his dad. Like most of his childhood memories, these came with a soundtrack: His mother, a concert pianist, was not a fan of the cold—it interfered with her playing—so while Silas romped in the snow with his dad and their dog Oboe, his mom remained inside practicing some Chopin nocturne or other. And while he had plenty of happy memories of playing and laughing with his mom, it struck him now, these many years later, that very few were in the winter, and none were in the snow.
Love Letters from Heather
To my youngest daughter: Your brother might have caught my attention, but you sealed the deal. I knew the second I spotted your freckles, curly hair, and impish smile. You stole my heart instantly.
The Perception of Wealth
Every morning the traffic on her route to work was awful. It was a slow, torturous crawl through the suburbs while under the constant torment of nagging car horns. To Adeline, it felt like a great trek through the wilderness each day to find food for her family. Day after day, the other mammals left their homes, herded together, and trod towards the concrete jungle where they could gather the resources they needed to feed their families. She used to laugh at the idea of being stuck in that routine. Working a nine-to-three job at the supermarket was not at all what she had in mind for her career. She wanted to study nursing when she was younger. Instead, she ended up giving birth to a beautiful, although unplanned, baby boy. Now, she spends her days working at a supermarket in the city so they can get by.
We can collectively agree that 2020 was a challenging year. People were losing jobs, losing family members to COVID, and children not able to play outside. Racism was a topic over the summer; Breonna Taylor and George Floyd's deaths sparked protests and boycotts. Last year reminded me why I write—it's because I want to remind people that my history doesn't start with slavery and that African Americans aren't monolithic. To continually tell my story about my black experience. I am happy to see that Vocal is allowing us to tell our stories about the black experience. The media continually bombarded us with information about the pandemic and created a ton of anxiety. After turning off my phone, I quickly realized what mattered to me the most. Being with family. After reading the prompt, two remarkable people popped up in my head. They are my nieces Islah, age three, and her sister Nylah 3 mos. These two beauties have two fantastic aunts that love both of them very much. I'm labeled the funtie.
Birth of an NYC Street Musician
So my mom had married a loser, or had gotten matched to one, then married him. It's a long story, but in the church I grew up in, people are matched; meaning voluntary arranged marriages. Sometimes it works out, but in my mother's case, among others, it did not.
Farewell My Father: Walking the Trail of Beauty in Old Age
In his last few years, he sat the entire day in his chair by the big picture window. From this vantage point, dad could survey most of the comings and goings of the ranch. He could watch the majestic Arabian stallion, Axum gallop through the pine trees, his tail, and mane flying.
We first found out my dad owned my grandma’s condo when it burned to the ground. A result of poorly fabricated insulation and improper installation, the fire started in the building’s attic and quickly spread downward. My grandma lived on the top floor, and her home was soon engulfed. The flames didn’t abate until the hoses were hooked up, and by that time, they were eating away at the garden level, having wound their way down the concrete of the Brutalist apartment building like orange and yellow vines. Everyone was surprised that a building with so much concrete could burn so quickly.
“Mommy!” The scream wakes me with a start. The room pitch black, silent. For a moment I think the scream was just my own bad dream, it wouldn’t be the first one. Since Lizzie passed away, I’ve had them on and off, so has Nina, my little niece asleep in the room across the hall. I’ll never get rid of the image of her clinging to her mom in the ER. Demanding her to wake up. Begging the doctors to bring her back. Cooper, stroking her back and pulling her to him. Trying to explain to a four-year-old why that wasn’t possible. I didn’t think I could fall apart any more than I had when we’d been told my baby sister had died from the accident, but every bone in my body gave out watching Ninas world fall away from her so fast. That was a year ago, Cooper and I were all she had now.
If It's Not Unconditional, It's Not Love
I consider myself insanely blessed in this life. For a multitude of reasons, but the main reason very readily jumps out in my mind, and that reason is my father.
- First Place in The Night Owl Challenge
I wasn’t supposed to be on that motorcycle, the one my brother died riding, yet there I was, driving down the California highway, not knowing when I’d stop. It’d been sitting in the driveway two months untouched when I turned the keys in its ignition and left. I just couldn’t stand the sight of mom drinking her tea that morning and maybe I thought I would finally cry if the wind hit my face fast enough but all I wanted to do as I started driving was scream into that salty summer sky.
Just A Man
He wasn’t the man she had created him to be in her mind over all of those years. It took time for her to unravel the theories she once smiled curiously, pondering while he would teach the class with his purely acquired life experience.