A Resting Place
An excerpt from a short story
Below is an excerpt from a short story titled "A Resting Place." It is a story about family dynamics and how that impacts people differently when dealing with grief. It is inspired by some of my own experiences and the neighborhood where I grew up.
Elizabeth sat alone in the corner back booth at Clyde’s Ale House, an Irish pub in Brooklyn. To her, the place was a rare gem of the past. It was modest in size but managed to have everything it needed. Inside, the wooden bar stretched to the back stairway, which led to the cellar. An assortment of unusual mugs hung from the ceiling, glinting in the candlelight. The middle of the bar was illuminated by the florescent-lit jukebox playing oldies her parents once listened to. Its familiarity was part of why she’d suggested to her sister on the phone that they meet here. She tried to take comfort in being in a friendly place even though the circumstances were unfortunate. But despite her efforts to be calm, she wasn’t. She felt the weight of every moment. Heavy like tree branches beneath a blanket of wet snow.
Even indoors, the December evening brought a chill that was hard to tolerate. She tried to stay warm, bunched up in a cobalt blue sweater, jeans, and mustard yellow boots. The only piece of jewelry she wore was a gift from her father for her thirteenth birthday—a pair of silver double-heart earrings that dropped an inch below her ears.
She wasn’t sure what to expect from meeting her sister. It had been years since they’d sat together in the same room and had looked each other in the eye. The last time they saw one another was when their father was in the hospital two years ago with pneumonia. Even then, there had been moments that Elizabeth would describe as tense. Although things between them had never been easy, meeting again after all this time might not be so terrible.
Outside, the snow had started floating down again. She stared at the menu between glances out the window. As her eyes moved toward the front door, Elizabeth noticed an Irish Claddagh wall plaque made of bronze. It featured a pair of hands, a heart, and a crown, symbolizing friendship, love, and loyalty. The plaque made her think of the gold Claddagh ring her father had always worn on his right hand. Since he had died two days ago, she had come across small reminders of him like this everywhere.
Just yesterday, Katherine had sent Elizabeth a text message about their father’s ring and his book collection, asking to take it before they’d even had a chance to discuss anything. His yellowed paperback books still smelled so much of him, resting on the dusty shelves in the dark hallway of his apartment. Of all his belongings, they were what Elizabeth would miss the most. They made her think of those rare moments when he was well enough to sit and talk about a book he had once read.
The miniature gold bell that hung from the door jingled abruptly, urging Elizabeth to look over. A familiar yet strange face appeared in the doorway. Katherine. She walked toward Elizabeth wearing a long black woolen coat, a green silk scarf, and red lipstick, her eyes hidden behind a pair of Ray Bans. She removed her sunglasses and looked down at Elizabeth sitting alone in the corner.
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About the author
I was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. I write contemporary fiction, nonfiction stories, and blog posts about life, books, and creativity. Connect with me on Twitter @jennwardwrites or find me here: https://jennifermarieward.com/