Wednesday, February 15, 2023

WEP - Gone With The Wind


Yeah, its been about 2 years. Had a lot going on in my personal life. And, I'm using a Samsung Galaxy 10 tablet to pack with me on my trips, and I've discovered it doesn't like to do anything but play games. And pay bills. And I'm posting this -  late of course -from a motel room that doesn't like to have plug outlets next to the desk. So I hope I can get this post going.

Yeah, yeah. Excuses . . .

I've decided to post a segment for WEP (Write, Edit, Publish) bi-monthly blogfest. This first post of 2023 is titled GONE WITH THE WIND. Since its February, Valentines, I'm assuming it should be a romance. But, I'm just not there in my mind. So I've taken a different interpretation, and focused on the "Gone" concept. After all, the overall theme of the book/movie is about Loss. Loss of culture, loss of life, loss of dreams. Loss of family.

Anyway, here goes. Full critique acceptable. This is a one-and-done, not part of a larger work.



“I want to talk to Dad.”

“Why, you got something broken at the house?” My daughter never talks to her step dad without something broken at the house and needing fixed. And, Dad. Real trouble.

“Something like that.” And her voice sounded quaverly, hurt.

“What’s up Lori? What’s wrong, really.”

Desperation. “Just let me talk to Don.”

Usually he’d already be out on the tractor or sanding that dead jeep in the garage. But he was moving slow this morning so he was still in the house. He looked frustrated when I tried to hand him my phone.

“Why didn’t she call my phone?”

“You never carry it on you. She sounds stressed, just talk to her an tell me whats up.”

“Yeah.” Then silence. “Uhm, yeah.” More silence, with sidelong glances at me. Then he turned his back on me. “Ok.” Then he hung up and handed me back the phone.

“Ok. So what’s up.”

“Not sure yet. She’ll call again later.” Then he sat next to me on the couch, reached across and tenderly held my hand.

He’s a loving man, but not in an affectionate way. He won’t look at me. I squeeze his hand and stare at him until he looks at me. I’m not affectionate either. I can tell its bad. Really bad was nine months earlier when my middle son shot himself. Nothing else can be that bad. Can it?


“Not sure yet.”

The phone rings and I let his hand go. Its Robert’s best friend. I didn’t even know he had my phone number, but I’m not really surprised. That psychic mommy-vibe has been pinging all morning. Kinda woke me up early for a Sunday.

“Whats wrong Zack?”

“Hey Mom.” All my kids’ friends call me Mom. At least the ones that have been hanging out since grade school. Zack is new to the group, only been around five or six years, but he hangs with Roberts long term friends so just fell into the habit with the rest of them.

“Fu—ing whats up Zack.”

“Ha, probably nothing. Hey, I can’t find Robert. He’s not answering his phone. Jenna is freaking out because she lost contact during a phone chat this morning.”

Of course he was texting and driving. Its barely after 9a. “So, how early were they talking.”

“Well, not talking exactly. She was sleeping, but he sent her a bunch of songs. Love songs, haha. She didn’t get the messenger pings until about an hour ago and the last message cut off mid sentence. He’s not answering, so she called me.”

I don’t hear well on the phone, so I have it on speaker. Oddly, my husband isn’t staring at me with a look that says “get a hearing aid so I don’t have to listen.”

“Do you know where he is.” Stupid question, I know, but I’ve already hit the home button and clicked on Life 360 to see where my son is.

“Well, that’s why I called you. Lori doesn’t know either – sorry I woke her up. And the baby.”

“He’s somewhere in Yuba City. Weird. Not really sure where he is. Been there since about 5:32 am. Who lives in Yuba City?”

Silence. My hubby is looking at me now. Hope in his expression.

“Uhm. Nobody. I don’t think.” 

Zack would know everyone Robert knows. But, since his brother’s suicide, Robert has been drinking himself into a grave, and not all his friends have been willing to follow him down that self destructive hole. Zack is a recovering addict and won’t go everywhere with his best friend in an effort to keep visitation with his seven year old daughter. Zack hasn’t abandoned Robert, but some of his choices have left Zack behind.

“When was the last time you saw Robert?” I asked, trying to be delicate.

“Yesterday. Well, I talked to him on the phone after he left for Sac. He was going to a Rave with some buddies of ours. I couldn’t go, had plans with my daughter.”

“Sure,” I say, proud of Zack despite my growing concern for my son.

“Anyway, people are looking for him on Facebook, and I’m getting worried.”

“I haven’t heard anything,” I said, catching my husbands eyes. He didn’t look away. “I’ll call Lori and see if she knows anything.”

“I called her before I called you. Said her phone was blowing up.”

“Yes, I know.” I’m trying not to sound angry. Anger is better than fear. Isn’t it?

“Look, Mom –“

“I’ll call you when I find him Zack. You do the same, Ok?”

I hung up and pulled up my Facebook account. I’m not friends with many of Roberts clan, but I might see something. “What did Lori want to talk to you about?”

“Well,” My hubby said. Thinking a minute. “She thinks Robert may have been in an accident. His phone hasn’t moved since about 5:32 this morning, and people are calling her because they are worried.”

Just then I clicked on a Newsbreak link Jenna posted with question marks after Robert’s name and asking for info. There was lots of comments telling how he left the Rave. I couldn’t read all the comments because I’m not friends with all his friends. But everything I saw had links to the Newsbreak with updates on the vehicle accident that took a 32 year old Oroville man’s life at 5:32am in Yuba City.

A car pulled up to the gate just as my youngest son crashed through the front door. He lives in a travel trailer on the property. He didn’t even have his shoes on. “Lori called?”

“Yes, and Zack,” my hubby said.

“Zack’s here. We’re going to Robert’s last Life 360 GPS.” He ran out the door, kicking the dog and his ball out of his way.

Four hours later a Sheriffs patrol car pulled through the open gate. It was open because I already knew. Face book told me my son was gone.

word count: 1000