Response – JSW Prompt 7-26-2021

The JSW Challenge is open to anybody who wishes to participate. Using the writing prompt, write a flash fiction no longer than 500 words and post to your page. The Challenge starts on Monday and runs through Sunday each week. Please remember to link your story back to this post so everyone can read your entry.    

copyright csknotts 2021

He turned into the driveway. Home at last! Relief swept over him as he glanced back at the remnants of his little family. What the hell would possess her to die, for one thing, and, secondly, leave the kids under his guardianship? He was barely more than a kid himself and, frankly, the responsibility of a family scared the crap out of him.

Later, as the two toddlers played in the living room, standing in the door of the kitchen watching, he asked his mother the same question.

“I’m sure she didn’t plan to die,” she said flatly, “But she made plans for any eventuality, knowing she could trust you to take care of them.”

He shot out a laugh. “Then she didn’t know me very well at all.”

“I think she knew you quite well, Chris, whether you want to admit it or not.”

He shrugged a shoulder. “I just don’t have the time, Mom,” he said, eyes still on the children. “Things are going so well. I can’t stop now.”

“No one is asking you to stop,” his mother said, “only to divide some of your time.”

“Divide my time? It’s so divided now that I don’t know if I am coming or going.”

“Surely some of the others can handle some of your responsibilities?”

“No,” he replied just as flatly. They each had their own responsibilities in the band, but if he wanted things done right, he had to do them himself. So he did and nobody else seemed to mind.

“Don’t put them in foster care.”

“Mom, I wasn’t planning…”

“But you thought about it?”

“Yes.”

“So don’t. You can’t come back from that. For the rest of their lives, even if they never meet you, they will wonder why you deserted them.”

“I’m not planning to desert them, I just need… someone to take care of them while I work.”

“Hire a nanny,” his mother advised, “unless you are planning to move back here so I can help.”

“I can’t do that. I have to be in California right now.”

“Then hire a nanny.”

Later that night, he stood in the doorway to his old room, watching the two of them curled up in his big bed, asleep. No, he hadn’t seriously thought about putting them in foster care, but he had thought about it and that made him angry. Not at them, or her, but at himself. He could handle this. Just like everything else, he would handle it.

Moving back to the living room, he sat down at his keyboards, slipped on his headphones and started to work.

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