Wednesday, November 27, 2013

She Shook My Hand

Peas.  I was feeding him peas.  Paw prints.  There were blue paw prints on his bib.  The rest was a blur.  A blur of brown sweaters dotted with dancing glasses filled deep with red wine.  The house was warm, cozy, I guess, and swimming in a din I did not discern.  All I could see was my very young son in a very old high chair eating chunky baby food.  All I could hear was everyone else enjoying themselves.

"Shaun and his new girlfriend are here."  My husband's voice snapped my glazed eyes into focus and I turned my head toward him.  He looked so good in a fresh cranberry pullover and dark blue jeans.  I needed to go shopping.  I had nothing nice to wear.

I returned my attention to the pureed peas.  My cousin always had someone new to show off during the holidays.  I was not particularly amused and I pretended my interest was not piqued.  When they finally entered the kitchen for introductions, I leaned back in my chair, crossed my legs and casually waved the baby spoon.   

"Hi, I'm Lindsey!" She was impossibly tiny and tan, busty and blonde.

"Hi."  My eyes met hers.  They were blue, too.

After a rush of pleasantries flush with compliments, the air settled and I could smell the peas, again.  My husband leaned in close and whispered, "What was her name?"

"I already forget.  It's not like we will need to remember.  He'll bring someone else to Christmas."

* * * * *

Peaches.  I was feeding him peaches.  Snowflakes.  There were gray snowflakes on his bib.  I was sitting near the radiator and could feel both its warmth and the draft from the window.  My hands were cold.  The radio had just begun to play "White Christmas" when the phone rang.  It was my dad.  

"Sweetie, I have some terrible news.  Shaun and Lindsey were in a car accident."


"Shaun's new girlfriend.  You met her on Thanksgiving."  My dad paused, probably displeased.

"I remember her, of course."

"Shaun is fine, well, he is not hurt, but Lindsey...they flew Lindsey to Shock Trauma.  She is in a coma."

My mind reeled in rewind, replaying that one moment I met her.  Her hair was in a bun.  She put her arm around my cousin.  She kissed my baby on the head.  She shook my hand.  She smiled.  Her eyes were blue.

"They were on their way to Aunt Sherry's for dinner or something.  It was last night, when it was raining.  Shaun was driving his truck.  It happened on Highland Parkway and Front Street."

I couldn't process what he was saying.  I shook my head to make sense of the words.  He was driving.  She might die.  But, I would never forget Lindsey's name now.


"On Highland, in front of the Dunkin' Donuts."

From that day forward, every time I drove past that street corner, I thought of her.


This piece is a work of fiction loosely based on a true story and written in response to a weekly writing prompt.  Four and a half years ago, my cousin and his new girlfriend were in a car accident.  The real life Lindsey is alive and well, but I am unclear how well she is.  All I know was that her head injury was severe and her recovery process long.  She and my cousin did not remain together.


  1. Kristin! It's so nice to see you back at the Speakeasy!

    This is a great story. So tragic, but I love the way you've captured that "parent of a baby" blur. And such a great use of the prompts!

  2. Wow, this was fantastic! I loved everything about it, how you presented the two scenes, how the character didn't really notice the details about Lindsey until she thought about it later. Really great story.

  3. Good job! Loved the transition in time with the baby food and bib - kind of like it really is when you have a little one! Really enjoyed this.

  4. I like how both segments began with the baby (the bib, the food, etc.) When babies are young, their world pretty much revolves around food, so it makes sense to attach those moments to memories.
    I'm sorry this was loosely based on actual events.

  5. Great story, Kristin! I really like how you used memories of what the baby was eating to help tell it.


  6. It's such a sad story,I liked reading it,thank you.

  7. Yay Kristin's back! Such a sad story. I love how her memory completely changed after the accident.

  8. Sad. Something about the blue eyes really caught my attention. Like I could see them too.

  9. Terribly sad... It's pretty remarkable that several of us ran with the accident theme. Hope it sends a message that all should be careful this holiday season. Well done!
    Elizabeth, Speakeasy Participant.

    1. Hi again,
      I forgot to sign out of my blogger account when I left my comment above. For some unknown reason, your blog is not accepting my WordPress account and listing me as Anonymous! Strange... You could add the name/web site box to your comments, make life easy. Anyway, I wrote mine on my WordPress account @ :-)
      Elizabeth, Speakeasy Participant.

  10. I love your character's narration. Something odd about her. The first paragraph drew me in and I knew I would like your story... I did.