General Fiction posted July 19, 2017

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Sound story


by zanya

It was usually around 7p.m. The shades of evening were drawing in and the kids' bedtime was fast approaching. We closed the drapes on winter evenings and lit a log fire in the stove. Kids' books were scattered at intervals on the rug. In summer, we loved to lounge on the back porch, listen to the cicadas and sip homemade lemonade.

Ann, our youngest child, loved that snuggle time, perched on my knee with her favourite book or drawing. We explored fairytales and fantasy worlds. Ann revelled in the characters and colors. There was an air of expectancy. We both knew what was due to happen next.

Without warning, that sound we had been waiting for, was heard. It intruded on our reading adventures. Ann briskly turned her four year old expectant gaze towards the front door. Her large brown eyes lit up with anticipation.

There was the unmistakeable sound of a key turning in the keyhole. Dad was finally home. What a blessed sound for us. Not a symphony orchestra or the wind in the trees. Only the mechanical sound of metal in a Yale lock. Time to share and exchange tales about our day but most importantly to be together as a family. Pushing her book aside, she crawled or later raced to the front door, often tumbling over the King Charles Spaniel en route. Hugs and sloppy kisses were lovingly and eagerly exchanged . Ann claimed her dad at the end of the working day and Dad was only too happy to be the star of the show.

Dad dropped his brief case peremptorily. Before he had a chance to compose himself, Ann had begun to regale him with tales of the day and her favourite stories and characters. Now it was his moment to share snuggle time. She would have him all to herself for a precious hour or two. Sometimes he had to help put the finishing touches to a drawing or a piece of art work. Definitely not his forte, dad was more at home with numbers and calculations. But family time is creative time where dreams are made.

On sunny summer evenings the two of them would pack Ann's favourite green and blue bike into the car boot and drive to the local park. Dobby, our King Charles, a mere puppy at the time, whined until he too was invited to jump into the car and share in the fun. I watched fondly as they disappeared from view.

Sadly, a few short years later, when Ann was not yet a teen, tragedy struck at the heart of our family. Dad became seriously ill. Those moments of joy-filled living disappeared and faded into the realm of mere family lore. No more would Ann wait with an air of expectancy for those precious shared moments. No more would her eyes light up finally at the sound of the key in the keyhole. They were to be replaced on a daily basis by the very serious business of all the concerns surrounding a major illness. Despite dad's enormous courage, he passed away a few years later to our indescribable grief.

No more end-of-day expectation as we waited for the sound of Dad's key in the keyhole.

We soldiered on, bravely dealing with the unfolding of enormous grief and loss for our father and husband, our precious Tom.

Ann has, meanwhile, grown into the confidant young woman she is today. Soon she will graduate from College and take her own place in the world. One day, she too may experience the joy of being a parent, waiting at evensong for her beloved to return home following the day's toil.

Sometimes, at intervals, late in the evening, when she is home, we are often stopped, simultaneously, in our tracks. We think or imagine, or even hope we have once again heard that comforting sound -- the key in the keyhole at eventide -- and Dad was once again home.

But as Oscar Wilde said ; 'Memory the diary that we all carry about with us '.
We are eternally grateful to have this abiding, happy family memory logged in our diary as we carry it about with us.

Sound contest entry

Thanks to Galia G for Just a Door.

We treasure this sound memory of our beloved, deceased Tom's key turning in the keyhole
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

Artwork by GaliaG at

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