For May I’m pulling from my short story collection, The Futility of Loving a Soldier.
It’s eleven stories about veterans and their relationships with family and friends.
Today’s excerpt comes from the second of five related stories, “A Family Tradition.” This one is about Maarten, a man who served during WWII and has spent his life battling his father Joos’s legacy, as conveyed by his single mother, Ophélie.
In this excerpt, continuing from last week’s, he’s just arrived home from a Scouting trip with his sons, to find a strange car in the driveway. Once inside, he comes face-to-face with his father, whom he hasn’t had any contact with in over thirty years.
* * * * * * *
“You have such a beautiful family,” Joos said once they were gone, “such a beautiful home.”
“What are you doing here?”
“I was passing through town, and I thought I’d stop…” he started, but his voice trailed off under Maarten’s withering stare.
“How’d you get this address?”
“Your mother sent it to me, years ago, and I’d always meant to stop by, but with work, and not wanting to intrude… and I never got a response to all the letters I sent you, when you were growing up.”
Maarten’s eyes narrowed as he said, “I never got any letters from you.”
“I sent them—every six months or so, birthdays, Christmas.”
“I never got them.”
“I sent them.” Joos’s jaw clenched and Maarten’s thoughts turned to the one picture he had of his father, taken on his parents’ wedding day, where Joos’s fist was clenched in the picture, a sign of his anger, as Ophélie had often pointed out, and his quick temper; if she’d known he was a fighter, a liar only after her for the money he thought she had, she’d told her son again and again over the years, she never would’ve married him.
* * * * * * *
Read more about Maarten’s and his son Artie’s struggles by picking up a copy of The Futility of Loving a Soldier, then post a link to your eight sentences blog entry, or join the fun at the Weekend Writing Warriors website.
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Sounds like Maarten doesn’t know the entire story about his father. I wonder what the truth is.
Sounds like Maarten’s mother may have harbored some anger of her own and withheld the letters. Love can turn so quickly to hate. Nice snippet!
Hmmm, why do I have a feeling the mother might not have been telling the whole story all these years? Intrguing ecerpt, well done!
Oops, two typos! Sorry! Intriguing excerpt :)
I wonder if the father is as bad as Maarten thinks, or if the mother painted him to be worse than he is.
It could be the truth the mother told, but I’m always wary of people who bad-mouth someone’s reputation to children.
So conflicting. I wonder how he can know the truth?
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