prompt: I see you

Try writing from the perspective of the person watching. For example:

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Every night he sits right there, and I stand just here. Watching. If he knew I was here, he wouldn’t thank me. Sons are blind when it comes to the sacrifices a mother has to make. He’ll never realize the danger he’s in, or what I have done — what I must do — to save him.

You think I’m being melodramatic, but you have no idea. You see that birthmark on his upper arm? Michael had the exact same birthmark. He wouldn’t believe me, either.  I told him that the devil would come for him if he didn’t rid himself of it. I begged him to have it removed. He smiled at me with that know-it-all smile, just exactly like his father’s.  I could see the thoughts behind his eyes. His father’s eyes were the same shade of misbegotten blue.

His disrespect was bred in the bone.  But still, a mother is responsible for her child’s welfare. A mother must see danger and stop it. He wouldn’t take action, and so what choice did I have?

It was too late for Michael, but I won’t make the same mistakes again. Tonight, just before closing. I understand how to use the scalpel now and I’ll save him, no matter the cost. He’ll thank me afterward, wait and see.


6 Replies to “prompt: I see you”

  1. Ooh, your bit gave me the willies!
    Tyler stood in the exact same place he had last Thursday, and felt the same jolt of fear and excitement he experienced then. The man had the little boy with him again, and they were both engaged in a book about dinosaurs. Tyler squeezed his eyes shut and wondered what the man would say if he just ran up and spilled his guts.

    His mom worked late into the evenings and so he spent his afternoon here, at the local library. Last Thursday had been just another afternoon with Goosebumps, until Tyler had stood to go use the bathroom and caught site of this man and his little son. He knew right away he had seen that man before, and seconds later he knew from where. Crumpled up, in the bottom of his mom’s sock drawer, was a picture of this man taken eight years ago. The day Tyler was born.

  2. this doesn’t seem to be posting for me, so my apologies if it shows up as a duplicate post

    Reading the shelves was Jenny’s least favorite part of working in a library. She loved the books, considered them old friends. She especially liked the lost and neglected volumes, musty with age, and could picture countless bibliphiles before her enjoying their stories. But reading the shelves–looking for books out of place and returning them to the spot in which Melvil Dewey hath decreed they belong–that caused her eyes to cross and her senses to leave her. Until tonight.

    A hold in the shelves between the 673.4s and the 673.5s revealed him. Not just any him. Him of the party Margie had dragged her to six weeks ago. Him of a common love of early 80s British punk and hot artichoke dip. Him of too many tequila shots and a desire for the comfort of human connection. HIm of a quick thrill and momentary release. Him of escape from Jenny-the-Librarian-World, where the pet cat and favorite authors offer lonely company each evening. Him who was provided with a wrong number when it was requested, to avoid the awkward morning after conversation and obligatory sober date, where they would agree they were both great people but just not great for each other. And now, him of two pink lines and a queasy stomach. Him of a future inextricably linked to hers, separated only by a four foot metal bookshelf holding volumes on, appropriately, the elements.

    thanks, this was a fun break from “real work.” And isn’t this funny, I just pulled that number out of my head and then looked up what it stood for… zinc and lead.. the elements, how funny! I love it when things come together!

  3. So that’s his game. Waiting for Jill in the kids’ section. I can see how he’s thinking it’ll work. She walks in to tidy up, with her quick neat steps. She’ll pause, puzzled that an apparent grad student is sitting on the too-small chairs, no children in sight. She’ll start to wonder what’s wrong, and then he’ll put on the act. Like he can’t quite make out the words. If I wasn’t sick in love with Jill, I’d be able to see the humour, right? Or maybe. Maybe she’ll see him for what he is, and call him on it. It’s pathetic, he actually looks like he’s trying to make out the words. Asshole.
    [Pardon, but the watcher is just so insecure and small-minded that he had to swear. Jill will never end up going out with him. They are library interns and she’s destined for great things. He’s destined to wish for them. Ralph Waldo (call me Rafe) over there on the kiddie chair is destined to take her out waterskiing once. Not her cup of tea, but a thoughtful lover.]

  4. Håkon — thank you, for (1) taking the picture, (2) allowing me to use it, and (3) the link. That is indeed a funny coincidence. Maybe he’ll come by and write something about watching himself.

  5. You look almost content sitting there, tinkering with the keyboard, Are you typing in your journal maybe? Are you writing of how you feel? Of how it feels to be suddenly trapped in a wheelchair, doomed to forever rely on others for your minutest needs. For someone less active in his previous life it may not have been such a shock, but for you,- the world champion white water rafter, veteran of over one hundred death-defying base jumps, the quintessential “dangerous sports” enthusiast – it must seem like the end of the world.
    I have tried many times to imagine your pain, your frustration, and your anger at this turn of events, but I suspect I have not even come close. Do you not seethe with hatred for the man who took your legs away? Do you not boil with impotent rage at the memory of that moment, that split second, when it could have gone either way; when the child ran out onto the road in front of that car, and you could have hesitated, frozen to the spot in panic as many would have done, instead of launching yourself out there and into the path of the car. Yes, you saved the child and you are the hero, but who would have expected you to go that far?

    I have observed you secretly for many months, and have not seen you cry, I have not seen you vent your anger or show pain. I am amazed at your calm, but is it only on the surface? Is there a well of molten lava emotion that needs only the smallest trigger, that tiniest little acknowledgement, to summon it up from the depths, to erupt into being and overwhelm you with it’s power and pain? Anyone else watching you might say “No, he’s handling it all so very well,” but I am not so sure.

    For so many years I wondered abut you, missed you, searched for you. You were my dreams while I slept, and my every waking question. I swore I would leave no stone unturned in my search and I didn’t. It may have taken me over twenty years, but I did find you. Even then, once I knew where you were, who you were, and came to see you in the flesh; still I could not bring myself to make myself known to you. I ached to know you, to have your acknowledgement. My soul burns to see your eyes light up with recognition when you see me. But long ago decisions have prevented that and set the ball rolling and now I must stay hidden and imagine your thoughts while I watch your life unfold without me in it.

    She knew what she was doing all those years ago, she knew that taking you from me would rip my soul apart, but she did it anyway. She must have had her reasons, but I was never consulted, or told what these reasons were. I only knew that you were gone, and that there was no trace of you just as surely as though someone had wiped your existence from this world. One day you were in my life and the next you were not. Simple and clean cut. And permanent. No matter who I asked, where I looked, not one clue was ever found. I had nothing to go on, and everywhere I looked there was no trace of you. I never gave up, but my search became more frantic, as it became ever more pointless. It was only when you grew up with your new name and your new country, and your whole new life and you became famous for your love of all things dangerous that I found you again. There was no mistaking your likeness to my mother, no mistaking the birthmark I saw in photgraphs of you. I did my research on you, and then I knew for sure, and I came here to this place.
    I know now she told you I was dead. I know that he is your father now. He seems like a good man, and heaven knows I can see how solidly he has stood by you in your time of need. I would have liked him in any other situation. I can even reluctantly concede that he is a better father than I would have been. Except that I am your father, and in my heart I know he cannot ever love you as I have.

    I wanted to make myself known to you. I planned to, and watched you day after day, observing everything I could about you while I tried to summon the courage to walk back into your life. It was a daunting prospect though. I didn’t know what to say, how to approach you, so I continued to follow you around like a stalker as you lived your life unaware of me. I probably would have spoken to you by now; in fact I’m sure I would have. If the accident hadn’t happened.
    I saw the whole thing, I still do as it plays over and over in my mind, a never ending circle of pain I will always live with.
    I was watchng you as always, as you got out of the car with that pretty girl and waved goodbye to your friends. I saw your smile, was imagining it directed at me, but while my eyes were on you I didn’t see the little girl; not until it was too late. But you did, and you leapt in front of my car to save her. She is safe now thanks to you, but my car took your future away.

    The press made much of the young hero who’s life was ruined by a hit and run driver, but how could I stay and let them all know who had caused this in your life? How could I introduce myself to you this way? I ran and retreated under my rock, racked with pain and guilt and disbelief at what I had done; a true coward, and unworthy of you.

    So now I continue to watch you as it seems I am destined to do always. We won’t ever know each other, but I will know my guilt for the rest of my days.

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