First Available Cousin

First Available Cousin

A Story by Delmar Cooper

It had still been dark when we were called.  It wasn't a pajama run; I was dressed, but still slept a few miles in the car.  There were no cousins for me to play with this time.  We lived closest, most available for urgency, first on the scene.

I couldn't wait on the big porch, too much winter for that now.  I missed the wooden swing, missed the creaking and mesmerizing motion of the thing.  Last summer we rode, four cousins abreast in that swing for hours of false alarm.  My oldest cousin told of broken swing chains and loose eye bolts that, in some parallel child universe sent chubby pink tots, not unlike myself, sailing in full pendulant moment, sailing loose in the air before finding the steel spikes of the wrought iron fence well below porch level.  A lucky one missed the fence to be crucified in the mock orange bush.  She was saved, as the tale went, by an uncle by marriage, and only had her eyes gouged out by thorns for her trouble.  We cousins loved that swing, relished the idea of it and I longed for the day I could be the oldest cousin and tell the tale, with improvements.

Now, it was winter and I waited in stale stifle too near the gas logs in the parlor.  When there was a full complement of cousins the parlor was off limits, too many fragile memories to be exposed to rough usage of youth. One was an acceptable number though.  I sat on my hands avoiding the sensuous feel of Dresden figurines and the other flotsam of irreplaceable family history.    

There was, almost lost in the repeating pattern of pink roses, a painting, a woodcut really.  Japanese, I suppose today, assuming the future role of older cousin.  Blue ink and black, with a touch of red in the eye of a rampant, distant sea risen dragon, an icon of the storm in the foreground.  The real hero of the drawing was the wave about to crash down on a frail boat.  There could be no possible reprieve from that wave.  It was a wave of inevitability.  I watched the wave until I could hear a phantom wind, smell spectral salt and rotting squid.  I watched the wave until...

" Your Grandmother has passed on."  The words woke me.

"Do you understand what I mean? Do you understand death? Your Grandmother is dead."  

Of course I understood death.  That's why we were here, wasn't it?


© 2014 Delmar Cooper



Author's Note

Delmar Cooper
Your reading and your comments are appreciated.

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Featured Review

There are any number of wonderful visual touches here--the Dresden figurines, the noting of a painting being "a woodcut really". The juxtaposition of pajama-clad youth and the death of a granpdarent, not to mention the rather odd but inventive notion of hierarchy/succession for cousins. This is all put together with great skill, and it's not the kind of thing that happens by accident; this is top-shelf craftmanship.

Posted 3 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

Delmar Cooper

3 Years Ago

kortas, thank you for your comments. I like the notion of craftsmanship - flattering and appealing.. read more



Reviews

I was lost while reading, lost in a good way, in your words. The childhood moments written here are nostalgic for me; we kids used to play on the tire swing, which was the safest of our times together. We came close to danger in other places that we weren't supposed to be--I think everyone can relate to that. The last full paragraph was beautifully written and poetic. The ending was especially poignant for me as I was once awoken before dawn and put on a plane, not knowing why until we arrived, that my Nonno had died. Thanks for sharing.

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Delmar Cooper

2 Years Ago

Thank you for reading. In my heart of hearts I believe children are the most bloodthirsty people ar.. read more
So very well written. As WK says, this is craftsmanship, and of the highest order.

'There could be no possible reprieve from that wave. It was a wave of inevitability.'

The child understood without the need to be told.


Beccy.

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Delmar Cooper

2 Years Ago

Beccy, thanks for reading my piece and for your very gracious comments.
Some expectations intersect with realities at odd angles, others coincide with frontal impacts. This one came in via a HALO drop - chuckling here.

Some Grams you miss, others you remember as patterns of life-side events. Some weren't even old photos moldering in an album.

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Delmar Cooper

2 Years Ago

Thanks for reading and your comments. I agree with the low opening end of that comment for sure.
I enjoyed this story, I like how you explained things and painted visual pictures for the reader to imagine. I think this story could even be fleshed out more. good story

Posted 2 Years Ago


Very interesting balance between developing a character and painting a vivid scene of memories... extending to the objects themselves. I absolutely adore your final lines, that really brought this together into a masterstroke finish. I love how detached it all feels, and the blunt statement of the obvious. Considering my love for a strong final line, this one leaves a good taste on the tongue so to speak. My only complaint here would be a lack of variation in punctuation, I think you overuse commas... several of them should probably be semicolons or hyphens. I doubt you need an explanation of how these work, considering your own skill, so pointing it out should suffice. Sorry, been a bit busy with work so I have not had much time to spend on here.

Posted 3 Years Ago


Delmar Cooper

3 Years Ago

Thanks for reading and your gracious comments. I'll review the punctuation. My spinchter knots up .. read more
Nusquam Esse

3 Years Ago

Ah, well, the secret is to keep it as -- rather than allowing it to be a full hyphen. Sorta irritat.. read more
sadly Delmar (and you know my story) I read prose only to see what i'm doing wrong by it.
Perhaps in that highly absorbent way, or ardent desire, to get it right. You always
get it right. Each time. Each story......I hate you.

But only because, as the years pile up, one never forgets how to be jealous. You're a wonderful
writer.

Every time.....
Love always......dana

Posted 3 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Delmar Cooper

3 Years Ago

I sometimes smile at the little Siskel and Ebert thumbs displayed at the bottom of a reviewer's comm.. read more
I've got a lot of cousins, but never have been so close. The image of the wooden swing is very good. I can picture me the porch in the evening with a lot of cousins, swinging and drinking a beer out of the bottle. Very nice. Liked it. :)
Rudi

Posted 3 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Delmar Cooper

3 Years Ago

Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts. Even little stories need to be told, I think.
I like the way this flows and reads -- a little colloquial, quaint -- I would love to hear you read it.

Posted 3 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Lyn Anderson

3 Years Ago

Sometimes that is true, sometimes not.
Delmar Cooper

3 Years Ago

It was true for Isaac Asimov. What an accent!
Lyn Anderson

3 Years Ago

I would read for you but I don't know what the accent is -- I am relatively good at some, but not su.. read more
oh, wow! kortas invited me and he never disappoints. Looking forward to reading more of you, definitely!

Posted 3 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

Delmar Cooper

3 Years Ago

Thanks for reading and your kind comments.
Really, really enjoy this piece Delmar. I love the setup originally, as someone who is close with his cousins as well you painted an excellent image and then the last 2 sentences are eerie but in a good way.

Posted 3 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Delmar Cooper

3 Years Ago

Thank you for reading and commenting. I was a bloodthirsty child and therefore assume all children .. read more

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Added on June 13, 2014
Last Updated on June 13, 2014

Author

Delmar Cooper
Delmar Cooper

Trussville, AL



About
I write- a little. I don't write to reinvent the wheel, or discover fire. I just drag along from sentence to sentence hoping for a spark. more..

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