A Story by C.T. Bailey

Written from the prompt word "magical" as given by the group Spark's Diner on another writing site.


The tiniest of appendages wriggle reaching for something unknown.  His head moves to and fro in the most convincing of depiction - peering into the eyes that peer upon him; were they not tightly sealed by the newness of his emergence I would be convinced that he might have bore witness to the complete process.  And I gasped when she turned towards me, extending her arms with this delicate package resting in her outstretched hands.  I was mesmerized by this child.  I watched his mouth open to reveal the tip of his tongue. I saw his nose twitch and heard the cooing softly resonate from his lips.  The midwife roused me from my hypnotic gaze.

“Ok dad, he’s all yours now.”

“Yea…ok...yes, yes he is.”  I stuttered and babbled.  “You want me to take him now?”

“Yes silly, take him…he won’t bite”

And I took him.  Then I noticed the strangest of desires:  To hold him so tightly so as not to drop him, but then to hold so gingerly that I could allow him to move freely.  


“Two more days dad!  Two more days until I’m fifteen.  You know what that means don’t ya?”  Excitement filled the teenager’s voice.  He knew all too well that I understood what he was alluding to.  Of course the lad would be testing for and then receiving his Learner’s Permit to drive.  

“Yes son, I know, I know.”  I tried with all my might to act nonchalant about the whole deal.  But here we are at this precise point in time that I had looked toward with inexplicable dread…knowing that this was in fact…just the beginning.   It was his rite of passage - the time when he left the old age of boyhood for the youth of adulthood.

“Dad, I wanna get to the D.O.T. early.  They open at seven.  I want to be there at seven.”  He stood before me now actually looking me in the eye.  They all tried to tell me how fast these years would pass by.  I listened to them, but then again, I didn’t.  


We were up at six and in the truck by 6:30.  I cast a glance in his direction as we left out of the driveway.  

“You sure you’re ready for the test?”

“Dad…”  Ben offered a response that hinged on annoyance.

We didn’t speak the rest of the way to the D.O.T., not because there was nothing to say, but more because I think he sensed how I was struggling with “letting go.”  I couldn’t help but feel as if I were awaiting sentencing for some heinous crime while I sat patiently in the waiting room.  I walked over to the double doors leading to the testing area and peering through the windows, I could see him.  He was sitting there fixated on the screen and keying answers into the computer with such a vengeance that I thought I might have to replace the keyboard before they handed him his permit.  I took my seat again.

“Mr. Bailey,” a sharp toned voice belonging to the woman who had met us at the service counter and assisted as we filled out the preliminary paperwork called for me.

I suppose since she was wearing a uniform, she merited my most gentlemanly East Tennessee response, “Yes ma’am.”

“Benjamin is through with the exam and has passed with flying colors.  Are you ready for a new driver in the family?”

“I don’t know about that…seems like yesterday I was holding him right here.”  I clasped my arms together so as to illustrate the boy resting in them.

“Yes, the way they grow up is magical.  So fast, so doggone fast,” she was trying to comfort me.  

It was at this time Ben burst through the double doors waving a yellow form in his left hand.  He was all grins.  I had to suck it up.  I matched his grin with my own and then offered him my hand in congratulations.

The woman turned to me and said “Ok dad, he’s all yours now.”

And at that moment I pulled my son into me with the hand that I was shaking and my handshake became a hug.  Then I noticed the strangest of desires:  To hold him so tightly so as not to drop him, but then to hold so gingerly that I could allow him to move freely.

© 2010 C.T. Bailey

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A deeply touching story, Todd! I was struck by the parallelism expressing your "strangest desires" both at his birth, and at the acquisition of his Learner's Permit. You will feel that paradox again, just after he gets his diploma, and just before he takes his vows. But if he in fact "...sensed how (you) were struggling...", then you can take solace in the fact that you have reared a sensitive, perceptive young man.
Two incidents of wrong word you might want to deal with:
"...he might have bore..." should be "borne";
"...right of passage..." should be "rite";

Posted 13 Years Ago

yes, I saw it on the other site, and want to say it is a wonderful piece.

Posted 13 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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2 Reviews
Added on December 27, 2009
Last Updated on July 2, 2010
Tags: Children, child, aging


C.T. Bailey
C.T. Bailey

Bristol, VA

C.T. Bailey has authored a number of professional articles which have been published in various industry trade publications. He is also an award-winning and published writer of poetry, prose, and fic.. more..