Checking the pulse of a loved one…
At first, the worst of it?
The image, the image of discovery. Or as my therapist surmises, “PTSD.”
The image of brains, knowing the color of death.
I battled this image every night.
Years’ worth of nights.
Discovering him that day impacted me so negatively I felt compelled to become a writer, just like him.
My grammar is poor, my intelligence lacking, and my creativity’s default setting simply reads “Limited.”
On Dec. 8th 1943 he was born a Scott-Jackson.
Somewhere in between they moved to the States from across the pond and
dropped the ‘Scott.’
Assimilation? I guess so.
His publisher preferred Jackson sans Scott, that’s for sure.
His publisher? Ye ol’ Doubleday.
Mine? The Internet. And even then, only on special occasions.
[Apple falling, running furiously far the fuck away from the tree]
Every Christmas I stuffed his stocking with Allsorts black licorice, and
he wore his house slippers so damn much we had to buy him a new pair most years.
I swear, the dude jogged in ‘em,
grocery shopped in ‘em,
married in ‘em.
He’d read any book on chess strategy,
forcing me to peruse his endless collection prior to gifting him another.
Honestly, Christmas seemed like the only time he ever left his office,
the only time he ever stepped away from his computer cave.
That’s why, these days,
I hate the holidays.
Now I never see him.
Lately however, things have changed. The image has become somewhat fleeting.
*Bits and pieces here and there? Sure, but fleeting nonetheless.
Now I cannot seem to get over how detestably honest suicide can be.
Now I wonder if blowing your brains out with an over-the-counter pop pistol is a viable option.
Dad did look peaceful there, where I found him in the field,
opened eyes directed upwards at endless lines of cirrus,
Warblers chirping amid the morning dew.
Today I battle the fact that death lurks with omnipresence,
that it can be called upon in an instant if you so choose,
that it sadly might be better than this,
better than life.
My kids keep me here;
by day, their love more than distracts me.
But when the Sun punches her time card and pitter patters dissipate,
this is my battle.
Months’ worth of nights.
Some pour out alcohol for the dead.
Every December I scatter Allsorts amongst the dandelions.
*Pun absolutely intended. Hey, it’s my tragedy; I can joke about it if I wanna.
Prewitt Scott-Jackson’s work is a mutation of sorts, a ménage à trois of poetry, prose and flash fiction. The University of California Santa Barbara alum grew up on Southern storytelling prior to achieving degrees in Native American Studies and Religious Studies.
Do you have a holiday-themed Misfit Document? Here's the submission call.