It’s that time again! Word Play, yay! I have to admit that I look forward to writing these little shorts. I think up of all kinds of stories throughout the day. I wish I could spend all of my time at my computer writing, but I have to pay the bills.
The word play challenge for today from Miss Cookie is: Charismatic. Alright, here we go!
Mister and Misses Davenport were always busy working. That was just how they were raised, work hard to provide for your family so that your children can have a better life. They were good at it. Mr.Davenport was an attorney for a small law firm in a medium sized town. He enjoyed the work and never complained to his wife about the long hours. She, in turn, never complained to him about the long hours. Instead, she took care of the house, as her generation was want to do. They had two children, at first. A girl, Melody, and a son… David.
David was a bright boy, always curious. Too curious. He passed away in dreadful circumstances, wanting to explore places that little children should stay away from. The Davenports decided to have another child to soothe their grief. They automatically assumed they would have another son.. they had a daughter instead. Melody was a beautiful bundle of joy. She was always getting compliments on being so bubbly and just downright cute. Her charismatic ways usually allowed her to get what she wanted with most people.. except her parents. They tried their best to love their little girl, but it just wasn’t the same.
Mr. Davenport would buy Melody things for Christmas like BB guns and Cowboy hats. She would cry. She had wanted a doll that you could feed and would wee itself. Mrs.Davenport would discipline the child for crying and they would go on about their lives, little Melody feeling as though she didn’t quite belong. That is how it was growing up. She tried to please her parents, but her father was never really home. All she got out of him was the strong sense that Melody ought to be a boy and that her mother would never challenge this idea. It was difficult, to say the least.
When Melody left for college, she finally felt free. For a time, but the demons of her childhood soon caught up with her and she fell quickly into Depressive swings, often needing hospitalization. The Davenports didn’t understand Mental Illness and often put it down to her being a girl. Melody was fortunate to find a group of supportive friends and was able to move away from her parents. She found a job she enjoyed, and started going back to school for nursing. She wanted to help others because of the way she was not helped growing up. Melody was blossoming.
And then the Davenports received the phone call. Melody’s body had been found on a hiking trail just outside of the town she lived in. The trail led up to a pretty high mountain and it seemed to the police as though she fallen off the cliff. The police seemed to put a certain emphasis on this last part, as if they knew of Melody’s past. As if she hadn’t really fallen.. the Davenport’s knew the truth as well. They hadn’t heard from their daughter in years, but they knew. They knew she jumped. She had done just what her brother before her did, gone somewhere she shouldn’t have and..
It wasn’t easy for the Davenports after that. Mrs.Davenport got a part-time job outside of the house to keep busy. It seemed like every little thing in the house reminded her of her two lost children. Of the son she never had a chance to know and the daughter she .. It was often too painful for her to think of the way she had treated her little girl. Her mind was always flooded with “what ifs” and “if only”s. She stayed busy to keep the thoughts and feelings at bay. She volunteered at the local church and ran some charities. People were always commenting on all of the wonderful things she was doing for the community, but this just made her feel worse. She wasn’t doing it for them, she was doing it to forget. To forget the horrible ways she treated her own daughter that made her take her own life.
Mr. Davenport threw himself into his work, at first. He saw the effect this was having on his wife and came to a realization, hew as going to have to hold them together now. No more playing house.. it was time to get down to the nitty gritty. He made some changes in his work habits and tried to be home more. This often backfired as his wife was hardly ever home. He even tried to take time off for some vacations, but this led to more arguments. They were always arguing. It would start with something small like a dish being left out in the living room but it would always come back around to the crux of the matter: the children. Mrs.Davenport blamed her husband.. for not being there.. for not helping to keep an eye on their son. And why was he always trying to turn their sweet little girl into a boy when she was fine the way she was? Why did she never tell her how beautiful she was? Why didn’t they try harder to keep their daughter from killing herself? This often led to slammed doors and crying.
Mr.Davenport did everything he could to try and keep the marriage together. He would buy gifts out of the blue, take his wife on surprise dinners.. but nothing fixed the problem. There was always a lingering sense in the background, a tension that kept any form of intimacy from occurring.
When they had to go identify the body of their daughter, the police had given them her belongings. They had hired someone else to go in and sell off the belongings in her apartment, but they had kept the old backpack.. kept it in the back of a closet. Every now and again, Mrs.Davenport would threaten to get it out. She would want to go through everything of her daughter’s, but Mr.Davenport wouldn’t let her. He had to hide it. He put it in the attic, moved it to the garage.. anywhere his wife wouldn’t find it. He was afraid of the unspeakable, afraid she would lose herself in those belongings and end up just like Melody, just like their son. It was like some deadly secret he had to keep from her, as if it contained a contagious plague that made anyone who touch it kill themselves too. He thought of burning the thing, but couldn’t bring himself to do it. Instead, he just told his wife he had. This did not go over well.
Finally, time passed and so did Mrs.Davenport. Mr.Davenport should have felt alone now, but he felt relieved and fulfilled. He had worked his whole life to keep his family together, and he felt as though he had succeeded. He stood in his living room at some point after the funeral, staring at a picture of his wife. He had taken to speaking to this picture as though it were really her. In it, she was smiling, something he hadn’t seen her do much of in years passed.
“Well Missus, it looks like another sunny day…” he turned and looked out the window, looked at the garage. His thoughts wandered to what was inside. The backpack. He looked back at the picture. “I guess maybe it’s time to put everything to rest, at last.” He put his drink down and went outside. He was able to locate the backpack easily, it was hidden behind a panel in the wall. He pulled it out and dusted it off. He dare not bring it in the house. Even with Mrs.Davenport gone, he still felt as though he would be yelled at for bringing so much dust indoors.
Instead, he knelt down and put the zipper between his thumb and forefinger. He stayed like that for a few minutes, kneeling on the hard, cold cement.. the zipper in his fingers. It was as if it were a forbidden treasure chest. He wasn’t allowed to open it. He finally exhaled, not realizing he had been holding his breath and tore the zipper open. A flurry of dust took flight. Mr.Davenport coughed and sneezed, waving the dust away. He didn’t know what he expected to find, he didn’t know why he was surprised by what he did find..
Inside was a camera and a tripod, a lightweight jacket – purple – and a journal. The journal had drawings in it, mostly of nature. He wondered if his daughter had drawn them, it seemed unlikely to him, for some reason. He took out the tripod and examined it, then set it aside. He slowly took out the camera. Images of what he might find on it flooded his mind. He wasn’t sure he wanted to see..
He took the camera inside and hunted around for some batteries. He still wasn’t sure he wanted to see what was on it, and every now and again, he’d stop and stare at the thing as if it would answer his questions. He finally put batteries in it and pressed the power button. The little screen blinked blue and said “Powering ON”. Worry flooded his veins. He almost turned it off out of sheer fear. Then, it started playing.
It was a wonderful day for a hike. Melody adjusted the heavy backpack and made sure she had her balance before continuing. The hot sun beat down and a warm breeze blew. She stopped to stare up the sky and absorb some of the Nature’s remedy: sunshine. She felt like a completely different person than she had just a few short months ago. She used to spend her time hiding under the covers, thinking of all the ways people had done her wrong. Life wasn’t fair and she used to wallow in it as if it was some kind of drug. It took a lot of hard work, but through therapy and perseverance, she was able to start enjoying life again.
She put her backpack down and opened it up, looking for the camera. This view was too good to pass up. She set up the tripod and put the camera on top, making sure the camera got the entire view. Suddenly, she had a wonderful idea. She set the camera on “video” and pressed start.
“Hi Mom and Dad,” Melody began, “it’s me, your daughter.” She turned and looked at the gorgeous view again. “I know you’ve been worried about me lately, so I just wanted to send you this video to let you know that everything is fine now.” She smiled and posed for the camera, shifting her weight a little. “I’ve been working hard and slowly coming out of my Depression. I’ve gotten a new hobby, as you can see.. HIKING!” With those last words, Melody flung her arms wide open as if to embrace the whole view entirely. That’s when you saw her foot go over the edge, her face contort, and her arms flail wildly. She had slipped. She was grabbing at air, she was screaming inaudible noises.. she was falling. Mr.Davenport just stood there, staring at the screen.
She slipped. Slipped.
© Chelsea Roush. Unauthorized redistribution and/or reproduction is prohibited.