Catch Me And Gone

Winner-Booksie 2020 Flash Fiction Writing Contest Winner - Booksie 2020 Flash Fiction Writing Contest

Reads: 3705  | Likes: 30  | Shelves: 4  | Comments: 13

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic



Third day of spring. 1947. 

 

Two years now since he’d returned from Germany. I could just catch the slight tremor if I looked closely. Loud noises still dismantled him, his knees buckling, eyes wide. But he was better. Definitely better.

 

Or so I thought. 

 

A new job in California. Land of eternal sunshine. A brown-haired girl waiting there. Sarah. They’d shared letters and photographs. He’d even telephoned her once, in spite of the terror his stutter might return. Watching him form the words had been wrenching. 

 

“Promise you’ll call as soon as you arrive, David. I just want to know you’ve made it safely. Then you can hang up to save the expense.”

 

He smiled at my worry, his eyes the same pale green as his father’s. 

 

“I promise, Mother. My first official act as a citizen of San Francisco will be to telephone you and let you know I’ve arrived. Soldier’s honor.”

 

I looked up into his face, the new hat we’d scrimped to buy cocked just so on his head. It covered the long horizontal scar that ran across his scalp, a jagged reminder of how close death had been. “My only souvenir from Germany,” he would say as he stared at it in the mirror.

 

The light in the train station was pale yellow and soft. Faces appearing and then fading like ghosts around us. We stood unseen, unremembered. 

 

I was strong, or tried to be. Tears upset him. I’d promised to be brave. Although the station was bustling and crowded, I never felt more alone. Letting him go seemed too soon. For most of that first year home he’d hardly left his small bedroom. The curtains always drawn. Lights off. Music had saved him. “Jazz”, he called it. It made little sense to me, but somehow the bright, jumbled notes found their way over the wall and softened the fearsome dark.

 

“Do you have your ticket?” He smiled again and showed it to me as he’d done just minutes before. “Food. Did I pack you enough?” He lifted and lowered his well-worn briefcase as if it weighed fifty pounds or more. “I’ll be the best-fed passenger on the entire train.”

 

The whistle blew. We stood there. I saw a smudge of chocolate on his chin. Wiped it and kept the handkerchief to hush my rising tears. He kissed my forehead. Touched my lips and then put the same fingers to his own.

 

I watched as he walked toward the train. He didn’t look back.

 

When the phone rang later that night I already knew. Had felt the window open. Felt him go.

 

“Mrs. Brown. There was a terrible accident. Your son…I’m so sorry, ma’am. He fell from the back of the train. He kept saying ‘catch me.’ And then he fell.”

 

Catch me, Daddy. Thirty years earlier. The day his father left. Same train station. Different war. The last words my husband heard his little boy say as David jumped into his arms. 

 

Catch me.

 

 

 



Submitted: May 06, 2020

© Copyright 2022 Scott Livingston. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:

Comments

Janine Lieber

Hi! I really enjoyed your story. It spoke to my soul. ‘Twas very well done. :)

Thu, May 7th, 2020 9:23pm

Author
Reply

Janine - thank you so much! I appreciate your kind comments. Happy writing!

Thu, May 14th, 2020 2:40pm

K S MOFLEY

Congratulations, Scott! Loved your story!

Mon, July 6th, 2020 5:30pm

Author
Reply

Sweet! Thanks so much - glad it connected with you.

Mon, August 3rd, 2020 12:15pm

Daniel Hardman

Very nicely done, Scott. But my heart hurts for David and Mrs. Brown...

Fri, July 10th, 2020 6:27pm

Author
Reply

Thanks Daniel! Does that mean it worked? ;-)

Fri, July 10th, 2020 11:47am

ChicagoStarBaby

Wow! Excellent story! Shivers down my arms! So sad! Congratulations!

Tue, July 14th, 2020 10:48pm

Author
Reply

Thank you! A good story should always make us feel something, right? Your kind words much appreciated!

Tue, July 14th, 2020 4:03pm

Jessymel Thomas

Too short, too short. It hit me too soon. Oh, my heart.

Sun, August 2nd, 2020 3:56pm

Author
Reply

Jessymel - thank you for sharing!

P.S. Sorry about your heart. Hope the damage isn't permanent ;-)

Mon, August 3rd, 2020 12:16pm

KIT 78

Excellent, enjoyed.

Sat, August 15th, 2020 6:00am

Golden Dragon

wow that is deep

Mon, November 9th, 2020 2:18pm

Ad Adi

Sun, November 15th, 2020 4:04am

Ad Adi

One empty comment,and now one filled with words. Not to many words,because it's difficult to recycle all the grammatical mistakes. So,my shortcut comment is as follows: I took no pleasure by reading this story. It didn't extend my imagination to a new level,it didn't inspire me,and I don't think I will write my story based on the one I just read. Characters here are all ghosts,they act and speak like they are already dead,and when the real death is anounced it makes no impression. Should I feel sorry that a dead guy just died by jumping or falling? If the author would write in the end that the train was a ghost train,the station a ghost station,and the people dead passengers,maybe it would make sense. This is a grey story,much better than some multicolored stories I have read,but still not what I expected from a winner. ..I am dissapointed.

Sun, November 15th, 2020 4:19am

AJ Sea

I enjoyed this very much. Congrats on the win!

Mon, May 31st, 2021 8:20pm

Lisa Gayle

Beautifully sad.

Thu, October 14th, 2021 11:25am

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