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 6 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

Delmar Cooper

6 Years Ago

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



Reviews

death rides a porch swing:) to put so much into such a brief storyline is a wonderful gift I am stunned by it! the funny part for me is my great uncle's house had a swing just like that that did in fact swing over a rot iron fence and I and my cousins would ride it together all of the time, so my memory was very in tune with your story:)

Posted 6 Days Ago


Delmar Cooper

6 Days Ago

When I was a child I thought every grandmother had a
porch swing.
Thanks for reading... read more
I enjoyed strolling through this memory with you, though I have nothing to compare it to. (I had a few cousins, but almost never saw them. Dad was the black sheep, so relatives didn't visit) I do relate to the young Delmar, and how he viewed his world. I think he knew grandma's passing was an end to certain things and that the world was going to be a bit different from that point on.

Posted 3 Weeks Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Delmar Cooper

3 Weeks Ago

All first person point of view narratives are held by the reader to be a reflection of the writer. .. read more
There’s a kind of magic when a childhood memory is remembered by his adult perspective. I say magic in trying to ascertain if the child saw things as written, or the gestalt whole of the childhood experience translates into the memory above. The permutations are endless, yet always end in a kind of magic. Therein I think lies a person’s mythology and legacy. Well done D.C.

Posted 2 Months Ago


Delmar Cooper

2 Months Ago

I appreciate your comments and that you read this piece. This was the first part of a three part bio.. read more
I can't help but feel that all his remembrances, his fixation on the Dresden figurines, and times past were an attempt to forget the real reason he and all the others were there, the death of his grandmother.

Very poignant story. Take care - Dave

Posted 2 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Delmar Cooper

2 Months Ago

Thanks for reading and for your comments. I like your idea that the boy was looking everywhere exce.. read more
Sad moments come wrapped with memories of happy moments bygone....
something of life dies when a loved one dies, in ways to never return again.
The wild, terrifying swing anecdote was so thrillingly relatable!
Beautifully written story!


Posted 2 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Delmar Cooper

2 Months Ago

Thank you for the empathy you show my character. I really think it is wasted on him. I don't see th.. read more
Dhara_Ditzy Kat

2 Months Ago

Yes of course! Its not their nature to be sad for long. And that's how it should be with all kids.
Wonderful, wonderful. You have the gift of evoking enchanted memories, the kind that stick with you forever.

Posted 2 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Oh, God. This is so beautifully written it hurts.

Posted 3 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Delmar Cooper

3 Years Ago

I like this one too. There is such a woodcut, about a hundred years old, Mt Fuji is in the backgroun.. read more
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 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Delmar Cooper

5 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 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Delmar Cooper

5 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 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Delmar Cooper

5 Years Ago

Thanks for reading and your comments. I agree with the low opening end of that comment for sure.

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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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