Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Blog (10/20/11)
TITLE: The Empty Chair
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“How can you know, Mom?”
“My heart tells me he’s alive.”
“My heart tells me he’s dead.”
“Please, don’t say that.” Mom gives me a little peck on my cheek.
“Your efforts to find him have been unsuccessful.” I offer her my opinion.
“One day, he’ll come home. You mark my words.” She sits on her chair and turns back to her crochet.
Mom continues to crochet. She is now 85 years old, her hair is completely white, the lines on her face are much more pronounced but her eyes are still alive. Twenty years is a long time to wait for the return of a son.
Every day she reads the newspaper from cover to cover, searching for my brother; analyzing contents of news stories, even strange stories from other countries. When she’s done with the paper, she goes directly to her blog and sends out messages that is meant for my brother. Her blog contains heart-warming words like, “Benny, it’s Mom again. Do you remember when you were little, climbing your tree house that Dad built in the backyard?”
That’s all she says in her blog, one memory at a time of his boyhood at home. Mom reckons if my brother is in a hospital and has no idea who he is, may be her blog would find its way to him.
“How did you know about blogging, Mom?” I am puzzled how she quickly started blogging.
“Darling, there are blogs every where. I became fascinated with the word and decided to do a research.”
“So, that’s why you bought a computer?”
“Of course, my dear. It’s a very interesting way to know about neighbors, foreigners, and even people who get lost.”
Mom stays up late most nights, going through her blog, scrutinzing other blogs, and sending out messages, all for my brother. She seems to have found a second life, just blogging and reading blogs. I have a suspicion she will dedicate the rest of her life to find my brother.
One day I got home from work and found Mom very excited.
“What’s up, Mom?”
“I think I found your brother!”
“Where, when, how?”
“I read a message at someone’s blog that sounded like it came from your brother.”
“What did the message say?”
“It said, ‘I’m lost and unable to remember who I am. Can anyone help?’”
“That could be from any body, Mom.”
“No, no, I’m sure it’s from your brother. I took a chance and answered his blog. I’m waiting for his reply.”
“Oh, Mom, you’re just going to be disappointed again.”
“No, no, sweetheart, I’m sure this is your brother.”
“Do you think he’ll remember you at your chair, crocheting?”
“The last time he said goodbye I was crocheting.”
Weeks and months pass; then a year, two years, five more years. Still Mom continues to wait, to read, and to blog. She still crochets but her fingers are starting to gnarl with arthritis. Her eyes are still alive but there are moments when I look at her and I catch her wipe a tear or two from her eyes. She doesn’t say much any more although she still reads the paper, goes to the library to go over magazines, and continues to blog, one memory at a time, one loving remembrance of a boy’s life at a time.
One day there is a knock at the door.
“Yes, who is it?” I stand behind the closed door.
“It’s Benny, I am home!” His voice sounds young.
“Benny who?” I am trembling with excitement. Can it be my brother at last?
“Benny March!” He practically shouts his name.
I open the door. I spread my arms to hug him. Then I stop. I rub my eyes, once, twice. I stare hard at the man looking down at me. I see a wrinkled face, salt and pepper bushy eyebrows, stooped shoulders, and a man as thin as a bamboo tree. His hair is completely white but his eyes resemble that of Mom’s, alive.
“Well, how about a hug, little sister? Does Mom still crochets?”
When I regain my composure, I hug him. Then, I lead him to the living room. He follows with anticipation. I point at the chair that is worn, with crochet needles and yarns, newspapers and magazines spread out on the table beside it.
“The chair is empty!” He screams and falls on his knees, sobbing.
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