The Window

The sun beats through the water spotted window. Dust floats and dances in the stale air, settling gently on the coffee table cluttered with crusty dishes, food wrappers, and spilled juice. A fan buzzes and rotates in the corner, wafting hot air throughout the quiet room.

The boy wakes from his nap. He stretches and rubs his eyes. He wiggles his legs over the side of the bed. His dirty feet touch the floor. He walks sleepily into the living room and feels the stagnant air envelope him.

The creamy, rough smell of alcohol immediately hits his nose. He knows that the smell is coming from his mother, who is sleeping in the old, torn recliner. Her fingertips still grasp the bottle that they went to the corner mart to buy last night. It is empty now. She is snoring gently. A lit cigarette is slowly burning in the ash tray, which tells him she hasn’t been sleeping long. He puts it out and takes the bottle from her hand, setting it on the table next to the chair. He wants to touch her, but he know that he won’t. Good things never come when she wakes up after drinking from the bottle.

He can hear laughter from the street below. He goes to the table and pulls one of the chairs over to the window to see what’s going on. He climbs onto the chair and his knees stick to the vinyl. He puts his arms on the window’s ledge, and rests his chin on them.

The kids below are running around and squirting each other with hoses and water guns. Somebody has pulled a large plastic pool onto the sidewalk and the kids climb in and out of it. They dunk each other under the now-warm water and splash so much that a lady pulls the hose over and refills it.

Moms are sitting in lawn chairs watching the action, gossiping. Dads stand in the street talking about the upcoming football game and drinking beer, while making sure that cars slow down when approaching the impromptu pool party and that the little ones don’t try to dart into the middle of traffic.

The boy wants to go down and play, but he knows his mother won’t be up until dark. It will be too late to play in the water then. He looks down and sees a mom chasing her little boy around. The little boy is laughing and running. The little boy stops, turns and chases his mom around the sidewalk.

The boy looks over at his mother. He looks back out the window, up into the sky and the slowly moving clouds. He wishes that just once, his mother would take him down to the street to play. He wants to run and laugh and feel the cool water hit his face and soak his clothes. But his mother says “Those women are whores and the men all just come up here to drink my liquor and use me. They get me to do the things their whores won’t do. We are not going out to sit in the heat and play nice with those assholes. If those whores knew what there fat husbands were up to, they might not look down their noses at me everytime I walk out of this hell hole to get some fresh air.”

The boy looks back down to the street. The mom is chasing the little boy again. This time, the mom catches him. She picks the little boy up and swings him overhead. The boy is laughing as a neighbor sprays him with the hose. Then the mom pulls the little boy to her chest and kisses him. He kisses her back and hugs her. She sets the little boy down and smacks him playfully on the behind while he runs away to go play in the pool with his friends.

The boy wishes that just once, his mother would love him like that, too.

I wrote this fictional piece. It was inspired by this week’s writing prompt over at the red dress club. I was also featured there this week! You can check out my feature post here.
And so it goes…


  1. Oh my goodness gracious, I absolutely loved that. You are a gifted writer! I felt like I was right there with that poor little boy. It's so sad, because this scenario is so true for children in every city. Thank you for writing this for us to read! Keep writing about it and make at least a longer short story about it. I'd read it! (BTW, I thought I was following your blog already, but I guess not. I'm going to change that now!)
  2. Bitter Betty says:
    Never say that you aren't a writer, because you are. Especially after this piece!
  3. Well done, Natalie! Beautiful piece. Vivid imagery and full of I'd swear I was there emotion.
  4. Well damn now I'm sad. This is said in a good way. It means that your writing touched me. It allowed me to escape for just a moment to see and feel what this poor little boy is going through. Sadly, I know there's a little child out there who is really going through something like this.
  5. honey, I had no idea you could write like that! bravo!
  6. blueviolet says:
    His childhood is slipping away from him. So sad. Beautifully written!
  7. Brought me to tears...thanks.
  8. Great writing. I want to hear more!
  9. Awesome! Just awesome!!!
  10. Very moving. I want that little boy to have the wishes of his heart. That's good writing, when the reader FEELS for the characters. I want to buy a blow up pool for him. :) thanks for sharing your talent.
  11. Just Another Mom of 2 says:
    Oh my goodness, I was ready to tear up, I almost forgot it wasn't real! Great writing girl!
  12. So Who Is The Crayon Wrangler? says:
    Um hello..that was GREAT! You have a beautiful writer's "voice" that encourages you to keep reading, paints pictures and touches emotion! Well done!
  13. Oh, so sad.

    Plus, rubbing alcohol sounds so, so yucky.
  14. This is great, and of course it helps that my story line is somewhat similar :)
    but what I really love about your writing is the way it flows.
  15. Rebekah C says:
    Awww, so sad! Poor lil guy.
  16. Isaiah Ketterhagen says:
    Fantastic insight!

    Very nice written piece!
  17. The Empress says:
    Natalie, Natalie, Natalie:

    Why do you hide your light under a bushel like that?

    This was powerful from the very first sentence.

    And you know why you're a writer?

    Because I wasn't bored for a second.

    And, now, I am very sad.

    Your words moved my emotions.

    You were worried about nothing.

    Now we know what you can do, so, yeah, the bar just got raised a bit higher.

    This was just excellent, Nat. The kind of writing I enjoy: immersing from the beginning.

    Not a single thought of "when will this be over."

    Captivating, and felt like I was a peeping tom. That's how vivid this account was.

    I can't say enough...

    So much said in so few words...that is something I"ve always admired in writing. Few words: much said.

    And, with that, I'll shuttup.
  18. The Blogging Goddess says:
    That was wonderful...I loved it and seriously..wanted it to go on and on. It would be a book I could not put down.
  19. You.

    Why have you not been writing fiction before now? This is lovely and sad and dreamy and exquisite. I hurt for the little boy. Felt the bitterness beneath the words of his mother.

    Felt the sharp edges of her broken dreams cut and slash at the dreams of her child.

    As he stared out the window.

    Seriously . . . So lovely, Natalie.

    I am all impressed.
  20. Wow, I'm impressed!

    Although now I'm feeling a little sad--well done!
  21. Way to go...beautifully written, I could picture it!
  22. The Drama Mama says:
    I am so happy to see that you've participated this week too. Your story brought tears to my eyes. It's beautifully written, poignant and I could feel every emotion that boy was feeling, and I could see through his eyes too. Incredible writing. Seriously.
  23. Worth the wait, well done!
    How you find time for such creativity while keeping up your kids astounds me.
  24. The Flying Chalupa says:
    Once you're a mother, reading something like this just cuts you to the core. Poor, poor little boy. You set the scene beautifully.
  25. Circus Daily says:
    I easily related to the mother chasing her toddler on the street and pitied the mother passed out in the room....I came to your blog through a link regarding "anonymous" just left me a negative comment, and laughed at after reading this, I'm hooked, which I guess in the blog world means...following.

  26. Very touching work.

    Great writing. Keep going. You're awesome.
  27. Aging Mommy says:
    Very nice Natalie. There was a very similar story to this today but yours for me was especially good, simply written, letting the emotions speak through your words. I hope we get to see more of your writing, you have a talent and should nurture it (although I appreciate that time in which to do so for you is very limited!).
  28. Sarah Halstead says:
    I loved this. So touching. Very well written.
  29. Keep writing your story is awesome!
  30. Elizabeth Flora Ross says:
    Really well done! So poignant. I am always fascinated to see all the different directions these writing memes can go in.
  31. Wow, that is very well written. I could see it very clearly in my mind. It is so sad though. I want to pick that little boy up and give him a hug. The worst thing is, you know there really are kids in situations like that out there. Anyway, I think you have a talent!
  32. Eileen @ Bringing Up Bronwyn says:
    Each word is captivating.

    I am impressed
  33. I just used rubbing alcohol on get rid of her temporary tattoo Craig not-so-wisely put on her right before our trip...
  34. ericka @ alabaster cow says:
    Sad story but you've touched on a hard cold fact: not everyone loves their children like they should.
  35. Sheena Simpson says:
    It took me three different times to get through this post. The emotion behind it is heart wrenching.
  36. WHERE have you been hiding all this? This was really great. I totally felt the longing and the heartbreak of this little guy. I am SO glad you stepped outside your comfort zone - bravo!
  37. oh, my heart is twisting in sorrow for that little boy! This is so filled with emotion!

    Great piece
  38. Lori @ In Pursuit of Martha Points says:
    Dear, dear woman...

    What were you afraid of? What?

    You keep doing this. Or I will swat you.
  39. Good for you, Natalie! And you claimed to NOT be a writer....well, my dear, you ARE. I felt for that little boy, wanted to go get him and let him play.

    Wonderful stuff, and you have to keep at it! Pushing yourself out of your zone is a good thing, and you already have a captive audience.

  40. moveovermarypoppins says:

    That was great!

    I love that you're trying your hand at fiction!

    More fiction!
  41. L. Eleana Johnson says:
    You're a great writer! I loved reading this. Your descriptions make me feel like I'm right there in the story. I love how you don't come right out saying she's a drunk, it sounds very real from the little boy's point of view.
  42. Wow...just wow! Natalie, that was beautifully written....girl, you just jumped in with both feet. You need to write a book, seriously.

    In just those few paragraphs I felt attached to that little boy, so sad for him. I actually have tears in my eyes.

    Keep writing...please!!!!
  43. WTH am I Doing? says:
    This was really lovely - I mean in a painful, sad way - but lovely. :)
  44. You are an amazing writer- continue on with that story, please.

  45. PartlySunny says:
    That scared me for a little while because I thought it was autobiographical. Jeez. You're too good for your own good.
  46. Natalie!
    This is amazing! I can't believe this is your first piece of fiction. It's incredibly poignant and well-written. You filled it with emotion but held back instead of over-writing

    I want to go cry for this little boy now. He's that real to me after reading.
  47. Serene @ MomFood says:
    That's a wonderful vignette. Thank you!
  48. MommaKiss says:
    congrats on your feature today - this is a gorgeous story, nat. gorgeous.
  49. I ache inside. His wistfulness is so real. And this is fiction? Brillant!
  50. Oh how this tugs at my heart. Makes me want to go pick up my oldest from elementary school a little early.

    All children should be loved. Such an easy thing to do.

    Very nicely done.
  51. The Drama Mama says:
    I'm glad you used this for your feature. I remember how it wowed me the first time I read it. I'm so glad you have chosen to keep writing.

    Yay for being featured on TRDC too!
  52. If SHE can figure it out.......... says:
    Wonderful piece Natalie! You are a wonderful writer and I'm so lucky to have found you!!
  53. MsBabyPlan says:
    Great writer. Very nice.
  54. still as deeply affecting as it was the first time around! I hope you flex those fiction writing skills again in 2011 :)
  55. Oh, I want to go wake up my girls and hold them tight. This was so poignant and powerful, Natalie. Bummed I missed it before, but glad the RDC featured it to give me a second chance!
  56. By Word of Mouth says:
    Morning, read this while my coffee was still brewing and I did think that it was a 'real' story ... so moving and so sad, made even more so when you realise what a reality that is for some children out there.
    This would be a great story to punt to someone making like a mini movie on alcohol, like one of those youtube video's against drunk driving ... your friends here would help you go viral :)
    Well done, beautiful writing.
    and ... Can't wait to meet you in a few short weeks!
  57. Beautifully written and full of heartache. Thank you for sharing!
  58. The Girl Next Door Grows Up says:
    Oh my. I got tears in my eyes. This is absolutely beautifully written.


  1. [...] my mind. But I can give you a glimpse of a couple of the characters…check out these posts: The Window and Her to meet two characters that have me creating my their story. So during the month of [...]
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