A Father's Wings

A Father's Wings

A Story by Eric Richard
"

A young girl dancing on the beach on September 11, 2001.

"

The air breathes of salt and seaweed on this cool crisp September day, neither dry nor humid and feels cool to the skin. It brushes through the auburn hair of a young girl as she frolics among the sea creatures being seen only by a blue heaven.

            The chilled waters from Long Island Sound ripple onto the shoreline to mix with the cream-colored earth to take a new life form in between the young girl’s toes. She twirls and teeters into the sand faltering with each step; a movement that brings minor blemishes with never ending giggles. The girl rises to her feet to go into an immediate circular motion only to collapse yet again. This would be her last chance to appreciate a late summer Tuesday morning alone for next year she would be enrolled in kindergarten at Saddle Rock Elementary School. As the sun shimmers atop the slow soothing waves, which mellow onto the coast, a sparkle glistens from the eyes of the young girl, an aqua that mirrors the ocean.

While she sits in the midst of the gentile breeze she remembers her father who would hold her up on the edge of his toes in order for her to be able to feel the maneuvers of each step. The young girl recoils for a beat breaking all eye contact to focus on the mucky surface; her head cowers into her father’s shoulder.

            “It’s alright. I got you Nix,” Charles McDowell embraces the young girl and lifts her into the sky. “I’ll never let you go; never. Daddy is always here for you.” She comes out and c***s her head; he meets her with a smile. Their eyes lock as if it is her way of saying I am ready to try again.

            “Nix, you don’t have to be afraid.”

The father lowers her back onto the edge of his toes and moves at a laggard pace. An unforeseen wave washes onto the beach and knocks them onto the shore.

            “Can we do this everyday daddy?” she asks with her eyes fluttering as they laugh together, her immature body rests in her father’s arms.

            “Well, we can do this until the end of the summer when daddy goes back to work…” the father lifts his head up and runs his fingers through her hair.

            “Why do you have to go to work daddy?” she blurts out and stares off out to sea.

            “So my little girl can have everything her heart desires,” the father says in an attempt to gain her attention.

            “Do you like going to work?” the girl turns to meet her father’s eyes.

            “Well, it is the best way to provide for my family and to keep you safe,” the father pats the young girl on the head to emphasize his statement and even going as far to bop her on the nose with his forefinger.

            “I wish you could stay here with me by the…the…osshhh…by the water daddy.” The young girl stretches out her arm and points towards the ocean, a word she has yet to master. The waves appear to crawl onto the shoreline at low tide and articulate around and under them. The father raises the girl to prevent her from being wet although allowing him to become a mess.

            “What’s it like at work?” she adds with a curious demeanor.

            “It’s like being on top of the world overlooking the greatest city ever built.”

            “Overlook?” the girl asks with a look of confusion.

            “Too look over…,” he turns his head back towards the house far off in the distance, “to look over like the balcony looking over the ocean.”

            “Oh I see,” the young girl smiles, “so you’re in a tall building and it ‘overlooks’ the city….New York?”

            “That’s right Nix, a very tall building so high that there is nothing but sky, birds, and the clouds. In fact it’s the tallest building in all of New York City and the fifth tallest in the entire world. The people at street level look like miniatures.”

            The girl turns away and her eyes drift off towards the ocean she says the unfamiliar word to herself; miniatures. She hesitates on asking for clarification on the word’s definition but pushes it away from her mind.

            “I would like to see New York with you daddy?” she asks her stare set on the calm ocean, a breathless image that inverts into one littered of city streets, cars, buildings that soar to scrape the sky, and people. The girl envisions individuals walking down a busy street perhaps on their way to work in buildings as high up as her fathers; however, instead of walking she imagines the figures to be dancing to a pulse of the city.

            “Nix…Nix, Cora, you there?” the father calls out as the scenery of her surroundings restore to view. “You will along with Mommy, when you’re old enough. Can’t have you getting lost in The Big Apple now can we?” 

            “Daddy, I’m a big girl,” she cries out storming up to her feet.

            “Yes you are Nix; though you will be even bigger next summer.”

            “So we be able to go.” The girl asks as her eyes twinkle underneath the sunlight. The father nods in response. “And I will be able to dance there?” 

            “You bet your whiskers.” The girl heads closer to the sound, the father struggles with thirty years of old age working against him to get up, she turns around to see his hand reaching out towards her and follows suit with the offer helping rise to his feet.

            “We still have to visit the ocean like you promise.” The girl insists.

            “Of course we will.” The father embraces the girl, a moment they share among them and the sea creatures. The sun is a bright orange glow on the horizon, the sky darkening. “Well it is getting late, we better head back soon”

            “Show me once more daddy?” The girl pleas; she steps on her father’s toes. 

            “Alright,” the father lifts her up, “Steady now. Are you ready?” The girl shakes on top of his toes she tries with all her might to hang on.

            “I think so,” she manages to squeak out; her only hope for survival is that her father does not shuffle his feet.

            The girl finds herself alone on the beach returning to reality, the sun just above the horizon to suggest early morning. She jumps to her feet and mimics the movement of her father’s feet with accuracy causing her heart to melt in gratification, and then races through the refreshing tide cheering. Although she did not have her father’s feet to wobble over, both supporting her and causing her to fumble she believes she could stand afloat next time resting on her father’s toes and anticipates his arrival home from work this evening. She runs the shoreline back to the house originating ideas on how to break the news; maybe she can fake him out by pretending to still shy away when he places her on his toes or maybe she could show off or better yet she could show her father that she was no longer afraid.

            As the girl darts back to the house; the southwestern sky turns sour from a clear crystal blue to a gray cloud and then complete darkness. The girl scampers up the wooden planks of the deck and turns the doorknob when suddenly Nancy McDowell opens the door.

            “You’re done already sweetheart?” The girl rushes past almost knocking her own mother down and stomps up the stairwell. “Is everything okay?” the mother yells back and steps onto the porch only to find soot filled smoke miles away; it rises from nothing blackening everything in its path intensifying as it draws near. The mother turns back into house and heads to the living room searching for the remote, surely someone must know something.

            As the mother rummages through the drawers the phone rings abruptly, she steps back and picks up the phone from its cradle.

            “Hello?” the mother shouts into the receiver. At first there is no answer. “Hello?” the mother calls out again finally a response.

            “Hi Nancy,” responds the voice of Susan Carney, the neighbor from the down the road who has watched the girl on numerous occasions.

            “Susan?” the mother interrupts almost barking, “Has there been a fire?” She walks down the hall glancing up the stairs to make sure the girl is not in earshot before making her way back to the living room.

            “There has been a terrible accident…. Nancy…a terrible accident…it’s on the news…its on CNN…well, it’s on all of them…. Nancy please whatever you do don’t let that sweet angel see the television” Susan’s voice is erratic. The mother slams the phone down and runs to the stairs; her first thought is of her husband, Charles, the young girl’s father.

            “Cora…. Cora,” the mother screams in hysterics up the stairs trying to sound calm, but not convincingly  “Why don’t you go back outside and play, you were done so quickly. Wouldn’t you like to practice dancing on the sand some more?”

            “I’m finished” yells back the girl. “I’m waiting for daddy to be home. I want to show him I am no longer scared.”  The girl’s voice blares from the stairs.

            “It’s still early, Cora. That gives you plenty of time to show off outside for daddy.” She knows she should not have made this statement, especially when she does not know the exact nature of the calamity, or whether or not the girl’s father is safe, but at any rate at the moment she has to get the girl out of the house, it’s the only way to save her innocence. The girl climbs down the stairs and exits out the back door. The mother returns to the living room to gather the remote and turns on the television. As she watches the news her entire body falls cold and her knees could drop below her at any moment.

            On the top left had corner of the screen the word “Live” is superimposed over the likeness of black smoke arising from a building in New York City while its twin is unscathed. The mother curses, why could not her husband, the man she has been with for almost five years work only a few feet away in the other building. The blaze continues to fill the screen, smoke showering the once dazzling skyline of Manhattan, but today it was by far the most devastating. A loud roar rings throughout; the modern day shot heard around the world then a loud boom. A ball of fire engulfs through the second building now, the one pervious unmarked. The mother draws her attention away from the screen towards the phone hoping for it to ring momentarily. The picture of the buildings standing side by side fade out, cutting off the screams and wails from the sirens and the people down below. The mother realizes, along with the rest of the nation, that America is now under attack. She walks towards the back door to keep her eyes on the girl.

            The mother has a smile on her face as she saw the girl continuing to play on the sand, thankful she was too young to worry and that she could be happy thinking her father was coming home. The mother returns to the living room and sits down on the couch eyeing the phone keeping the girl in the background, the mother thinks the girl is safest out back not understanding the horror of what happened this morning. If only Charles would pick up the phone.

            The girl stands in the sand by the shoreline continuing to twirl and move about thinking of a routine to show her father later that evening. She kicks and manages to do a complete cartwheel. Her mother gazes upon her from the back window sitting by the phone frantic. As the mother watches the girl from the window, the little girl’s movements improve little by little. The mother feels warmth, her heart melts she has never been more proud of this girl. Even if the movements of the girl’s dance had taken the pain away only momentarily it assists in coping. The time seems to flow by as the mother continues to watch the girl remembering the summers ago where she herself as young girl were to play out in the sun the warmth of a young day glowing up her face. Suddenly, she feels distance from her husband; she needs to know what is happening if not for herself then for the sake of the girl at least. The mother walks towards the back door.

            “Stay close to where I can see you Cora,” the mother shouts out unsure if she is being heard. The girl continues to dance even if it’s under a darkened sun. The mother forces herself to switch on the television and the buildings reappear full of flames and smoke rising across the New York City skyline. The mother’s mind floods with worry why hasn’t Charles called, why hasn’t he made contact?

            The phone rings, the mother picks up not allowing the phone to go past two rings.

            “Charles, is that you. Where in god’s name are you.” A voice responds, a side of the girl’s father she has not heard before.

            “Nancy, thank god you are alright. I need you to look after Nix, and I need you to be strong, but please don’t put her on I don’t want her to go knowing me this way.” The voice speaks through the phone. The mother cuts him off.

            “Where are you Charles? Please stop talking like this you will be fine. You need to find a stairwell, a path down…” the mother cries, pleading with god for the father of her little girl to be safe; “Cora and I need you.” Tears stream down the mother’s cheeks.

             “Oh god, its getting hard to breathe the smoke is really thick….” The father’s words are lost through the static of the phone; “I love you… I love both of you; you guys have been the greatest thing that has ever happened to me…ever. I just wanted you to know that.” The phone dies out and his voice is gone, the voice of her husband and father to the girl lost forever. She tries to stabilize herself with the chair, anything to keep her balance. She remembers her little girl continuing to gallop among the dolphins and the sea stars. On the television she sees the South Tower of the World Trade Center slowly disintegrate pan caking floor-by-floor smoke and debris escalating into the sky. The mother turns off the television once more sitting by the phone waiting for instructions from the man she married, the man who only loves one other person just as much as she, the girl. She walks back outside and watches the girl dancing, trying to figure out when the best time to tell her daughter the man she loved is never coming home. She paces the room back and forth ideas spinning in her head on the best way to approach the situation. She turns on the television once more as if waiting for a miracle, the one tower continues to stand for a little bit, the smoke and embers spitting out onto the city streets and just then her heart sinks and her body becomes numb as the last standing building falls out of the sky.

            The mother hesitates on whether or not now is the time to tell her, but she decides now is as good as any what good could it do the man they both love and cherish would not be coming home this evening or any after that. “Cora…Cora…” she screams out the back door until the girl finally hears her.

The girl stops mid twirl and races towards the house. She walks through the door witnessing the blank expression on her mother’s face, the tears pouring out of her eyes.

“Mommy, did you see me dance today?” the young girl asks in an attempt to get rid of her tears.

“Come here, angel.” The mother says waving the girl over, she does so sitting by her side wrapping her body into her mother’s.

“What is wrong, mommy?” the girl asks faintly.

“Daddy, won’t be coming home” the mother responds, “some very bad people took him away from us.”  The young girl nears her mother.

“Did daddy do something wrong?” the girl asks.

“Of course not, Nix.” The mother stops realizing this is the first time she calls the girl nix as before then it had been a name reserved between the girl and her father. “Say hun, do you know what a phoenix is?” the mother asks.

“You mean like what daddy would always call me?” the girl asks her body quivering and her face white.

“That’s right dear.”

“Not really mommy.” The girl takes comfort in her mother’s arms.

“Well, you see a phoenix is animal that shows overcoming impossible odds and rebirth…like you with your dancing.” The mother holds the girl embracing her knowing she is the last love she will ever have.

“I wished daddy stayed long enough to watch me dance” the girl states not really understanding.

“Cora, Cora.” The mother embraces the girl tighter, “Daddy did see you.” Nancy McDowell holds the girl up in her arms; “he gazes down on you from heaven.”

“Daddy overlooks me,” the girl says, “he overlooks me from heaven.”

“This is just another impossible odd that needs to be overcome and we will face it together. I am always here for you no matter what happens. ”

“Promise?” The girl asks her face ready to burst to tears.

“I promise you sweetie.” The mother says, “one day we will join daddy again maybe not someday soon, but someday and we will have a rebirth just like a phoenix.”

A tear streams down the young girl’s face as their heartbeats join together as one.  

© 2013 Eric Richard


My Review

Would you like to review this Story?
Login | Register




Featured Review

"being overlooked only by a blue heaven." I'm not sure if 'overlooked' is the right/best word here, but aside from that, I thought the first paragraph and setting was wonderfully done.

'This would be her last chance to really appreciate a late summer Tuesday" I actually think the sentence would be stronger if 'really' was omitted. To me, it would sound more final, more ultimate, as if it is the last time ever because of forces she can't help, rather than using really which seems like she can still enjoy and appreciate the morning, but just not "really." If you want to go with the more ultimate feeling, I think leaving 'really' out will better give that feeling.

"she reminisces on her father" Reminisces 'about' her father perhaps. Also, if she is going into kindergarten, only 4 or 5 years old, having her reminisce about her father seems a little off. Personally, I think the verb used should be simpler, indicative of what I 4/5 year old would do. She "remembers" her father. "thinks about," maybe.

Also, I would break the part where she reminisces into a new paragraph. I thought the sentence about her reminiscing was the end of that memory, remembering being taught to walk, but the next sentence and on is still the memory. It caught me for a second, I thought she was back to the present until her head cowered into her father's shoulder. Maybe just start that 2nd sentence with "She remembers," or something else to let the reader know the memory/flashback continues.

The whole first 3 paragraphs are really fantastic in their imagery and feel. The descriptions are just great and very serene. Afterlife-ish a bit. It really has a powerful, eternal feeling; like a memory that is never forgotten and has broken down into the most simple and important details.

"can have everything her heart desire," Add an 's' to desire.

“No but it the best way to provide for my family and to keep you safe,” This is going to be completely up to you and how you see the father character, but I kind of want him to say all of this, but without saying, "No." Starting with something like, "Well, I work so you can be happy, it's the best way to provide..." I think if written that way, the reader interprets for himself that the father doesn't "like" to work, but then understands just how powerful his love is for his family and daughter. It's maybe a little more subtle, and is just a personal preference of mine. So do with it what you want. Ah, also just noticed this, but there should be an "is" between 'but' and 'it' in that sentence.

"The father raises the girl to prevent her from being wet although allowing him to become a mess." Feeling out the theme or undertone of this story early on, I think this sentence has the potential to nicely parallel the father working, even though he doesn't like it for his family. He sacrifices himself, working/getting messy so his family can be safe and protected. It's a really minor thing, and perhaps this sentence was intended to parallel the father working and further go to show his character, but just minor tweaking will make it a really strong parallel that reinforces the character of the father. If intended, it's probably good enough as it stands and readers will probably pick up on it, but sometimes I overestimate what I think is obvious in my writing.

“What it like at work?” Add 's to what's or 'is'.

"In fact it’s the tallest building in all of New York City and the fifth tallest in the entire world. The people at street level look like miniatures.” I have a sinking feeling about the story, not that I didn't pick up on a bit of a somewhat tragic vibe earlier.

“You will along with Mommy, when you’re old enough can’t have you getting lost in The Big Apple now can we?” Should probably be broken into two sentences between 'enough' and 'can't'.

“So we be able to go.” Add "will" into sentence.

I like what you did with the Nix and dancing in two sentences. Maybe this wasn't intended, but just from her imagining the people moving/dancing to a pulse in the city and asking if she her dad if she'll be able to dance, the reader sees that she most likely has a passion for dancing and rhythmic movement.

"The girl finds herself alone on the beach when she reappears from her haze" Not sure if 'haze' is the right or best word here. Or 'reappears' for that matter as she's just come out of a daydream.

“Do you know anything, why the sky has darkened….” I'm not totally sold on this dialogue. Actually, I thought the dialogue between the father and daughter was really good, believable, all that. For some reason, this line seems off. Maybe something like, "Susan, has there been an accident?" or "Is there a fire?" If she sees the smoke, she has to know there has been some kind of fire, explosion, accident, simply because there are pretty much those few causes as to why the NY skyline would be filled with smoke.

Cora? Nix? I'm possibly unfamiliar with shortened names or nicknames, but I'm a little confused on what the daughter's name is.

"Wouldn’t you like to practice dancing on the sand some more?” Dancing again, nice.

"Her entire body falls cold her knees could drop below her at any moment." At the least, add 'and' between 'cold' and 'her'. I would maybe start the sentence with, "As she sees the news..." The first part of the sentence is fine to "cold," but then it kind of sounds fragment-y with the second part added, so something added or moved around will make this sentence better.

"smoke showering the once was dazzling skyline of Manhattan," Omit 'was'.

"keeping the girl in the background, the mother thinks the girl is safest out back not understanding the horror of what happened this morning, that will all change if only Charles would pick up the phone." First, I would start a new sentence after "background." Second, I'm not sure if that new sentence sounds right. I'm okay with the mother thinks the girl is safest out back, not understanding or maybe knowing, realizing, the horror of what happened. That makes sense, but then to modify that thought with, that would all change if Charles would pick up the phone...I'm not sure if that makes sense. To me, it says she's safe out back, not knowing what's going on, but that will change if Charles answers the phone. The way it's written makes it sound like if Charles answers the phone, the girl will no longer be safe or will no longer be safe from not knowing. I think that section needs to be changed a bit.

"The girl stands in the sand by the shoreline continuing to twirl and move about thinking of a routine to show her father later that evening...The time seems to flow by as the mother continues to watch the girl remembering the summers ago where she herself as young girl were to play out in the sun the warmth of a young day glowing up her face." The whole paragraph, really lovely stuff. Also, was that Nancy reminiscing about her father then at the beginning? I guess I'm still confused as to the name thing, and that would possibly make sense if Nix is a nickname for Nancy.

"Suddenly, she feels distance she needs to know what is happening if not for herself then for the sake of the girl at least. The mother walks towards the back door." Not sure if 'distance' is supposed to be in there. Could be a remaining word from a prior sentence. I could be not getting what you're trying to say though, but if it is supposed to be there, the sentence kind of reads weird there.

"The girl continues to dance even if it’s under a darkened sun." While I don't think this sentence or story for that matter is supposed to be about sort of the human nature to move on, in a good way of course, and "dance even when it's darkest," the sentence does speak to something really powerful about human optimism perhaps, and the ability to deal with tragedy.

"don’t put her on I don’t want me to go knowing me this way.” The first 'me' is probably supposed to be 'her,' and I think there's some other words missing that need to be added to get the right meaning.

"You need to find a stairwell a path down…” the mother cries, pleading with god for the father of her only daughter, the little girl to be safe;" I think there are too many modifiers here after the dialogue. The mother cries, pleading with god, for the father of her only daughter, the little girl, to be safe. It gets a bit muddled with who she's wishing to be safe and for whose sake. At the very least, I would drop "the little girl," or make it, "the father of her little girl," and drop "her only daughter."

"the voice of her daughter’s father lost forever" Again, I think it might be better if it was simpler. The voice of Cora's father or the voice of her husband and father to Cora. Personal taste though. Up to you.

“Mommy, did you see me dance today?” Oh geez, did you have to go and do that, haha. That kind of situation gets me every time. The child is still happy, oblivious to the tragedy and you just know in a few more seconds she's going to be devastated by news she can't even comprehend. One moment, her world is a happy place, filled only with thoughts of dancing and twirling, and the next her whole world is completely destroyed, filled with true tragedy for the first time. That sentence hit me hard.

Ah, the name thing explained. I don't have a problem with the explanation of what Nix stands for this far into the story, but perhaps the best way to keep it that way is to have the father call her Cora just one time earlier in the story or have something to tell the reader Nix is a nickname or another name her father calls her.

“Say hun, do you know a phoenix as in nix?” the mother asks." Also, I think this sentence is missing a few words, or is just incorrectly phrased. My understanding is the mother is asking if Cora knows where the Nix name her father uses comes from, if she's familiar with what a phoenix is. So I thought the sentence should be something like, do you know why your father calls you Nix? It's from phoenix, do you know what that is? Or something along those lines, maybe shortened down to one sentence or whatever.

I would love to see the word "overlook" in the last few paragraphs. Maybe after the mother explains he's watching Cora dance from in the sky, she says something like, "He overlooks me." Something not quite using the word right. Again, personally, that sentence would hit me so hard emotionally.

I was really touched by the story. I thought it was very good, the emotions and feelings I think you intended the story to give were just right. I'm also impressed with the subject matter, in a way. Your story about this event is so individual, small-scale really. Just dealing with how the tragedy affected 3 people. I liked that angle that you took.

One final point of emphasis, I really connected with the first half of the story, specifically the father and the "work" part. I know it was short, and maybe not intended to be much more than what it was, but it personally connected with me, perhaps because I am going through my own situation similar to that, and I actually think a situation most people whose passion is writing go through. All the time we have to do things we maybe don't want to do or don't like doing, but we're okay with doing those kinds of things if it means we'll make other people happy. It's a really powerful theme that if you go back and add on stuff to the story or ever try to work more into, is one I'd like to see expanded on.

I mean, if I were to split the story into two parts, the first half and the second half, that's what the first half is kind of about, from the father's perspective. Sacrifice, love for his daughter. He'll get dirty for her. He'll work a job he doesn't like for her, if it means she's happy. And then, the second half should keep the phoenix theme, and man, I really would love to see Cora use "overlook" at the end. If there's any suggestion I had that you take into consideration, let it be that one.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

A very sad and beautiful story. 9-11 took a lot of good people. Many families lost people and were left with little answer to what happen to them. I like the vision of the girl dancing for her father. Thank you for sharing the excellent story.
Coyote

Posted 8 Years Ago


Wow! Love it! I could see this as a short film!

Posted 9 Years Ago


"being overlooked only by a blue heaven." I'm not sure if 'overlooked' is the right/best word here, but aside from that, I thought the first paragraph and setting was wonderfully done.

'This would be her last chance to really appreciate a late summer Tuesday" I actually think the sentence would be stronger if 'really' was omitted. To me, it would sound more final, more ultimate, as if it is the last time ever because of forces she can't help, rather than using really which seems like she can still enjoy and appreciate the morning, but just not "really." If you want to go with the more ultimate feeling, I think leaving 'really' out will better give that feeling.

"she reminisces on her father" Reminisces 'about' her father perhaps. Also, if she is going into kindergarten, only 4 or 5 years old, having her reminisce about her father seems a little off. Personally, I think the verb used should be simpler, indicative of what I 4/5 year old would do. She "remembers" her father. "thinks about," maybe.

Also, I would break the part where she reminisces into a new paragraph. I thought the sentence about her reminiscing was the end of that memory, remembering being taught to walk, but the next sentence and on is still the memory. It caught me for a second, I thought she was back to the present until her head cowered into her father's shoulder. Maybe just start that 2nd sentence with "She remembers," or something else to let the reader know the memory/flashback continues.

The whole first 3 paragraphs are really fantastic in their imagery and feel. The descriptions are just great and very serene. Afterlife-ish a bit. It really has a powerful, eternal feeling; like a memory that is never forgotten and has broken down into the most simple and important details.

"can have everything her heart desire," Add an 's' to desire.

“No but it the best way to provide for my family and to keep you safe,” This is going to be completely up to you and how you see the father character, but I kind of want him to say all of this, but without saying, "No." Starting with something like, "Well, I work so you can be happy, it's the best way to provide..." I think if written that way, the reader interprets for himself that the father doesn't "like" to work, but then understands just how powerful his love is for his family and daughter. It's maybe a little more subtle, and is just a personal preference of mine. So do with it what you want. Ah, also just noticed this, but there should be an "is" between 'but' and 'it' in that sentence.

"The father raises the girl to prevent her from being wet although allowing him to become a mess." Feeling out the theme or undertone of this story early on, I think this sentence has the potential to nicely parallel the father working, even though he doesn't like it for his family. He sacrifices himself, working/getting messy so his family can be safe and protected. It's a really minor thing, and perhaps this sentence was intended to parallel the father working and further go to show his character, but just minor tweaking will make it a really strong parallel that reinforces the character of the father. If intended, it's probably good enough as it stands and readers will probably pick up on it, but sometimes I overestimate what I think is obvious in my writing.

“What it like at work?” Add 's to what's or 'is'.

"In fact it’s the tallest building in all of New York City and the fifth tallest in the entire world. The people at street level look like miniatures.” I have a sinking feeling about the story, not that I didn't pick up on a bit of a somewhat tragic vibe earlier.

“You will along with Mommy, when you’re old enough can’t have you getting lost in The Big Apple now can we?” Should probably be broken into two sentences between 'enough' and 'can't'.

“So we be able to go.” Add "will" into sentence.

I like what you did with the Nix and dancing in two sentences. Maybe this wasn't intended, but just from her imagining the people moving/dancing to a pulse in the city and asking if she her dad if she'll be able to dance, the reader sees that she most likely has a passion for dancing and rhythmic movement.

"The girl finds herself alone on the beach when she reappears from her haze" Not sure if 'haze' is the right or best word here. Or 'reappears' for that matter as she's just come out of a daydream.

“Do you know anything, why the sky has darkened….” I'm not totally sold on this dialogue. Actually, I thought the dialogue between the father and daughter was really good, believable, all that. For some reason, this line seems off. Maybe something like, "Susan, has there been an accident?" or "Is there a fire?" If she sees the smoke, she has to know there has been some kind of fire, explosion, accident, simply because there are pretty much those few causes as to why the NY skyline would be filled with smoke.

Cora? Nix? I'm possibly unfamiliar with shortened names or nicknames, but I'm a little confused on what the daughter's name is.

"Wouldn’t you like to practice dancing on the sand some more?” Dancing again, nice.

"Her entire body falls cold her knees could drop below her at any moment." At the least, add 'and' between 'cold' and 'her'. I would maybe start the sentence with, "As she sees the news..." The first part of the sentence is fine to "cold," but then it kind of sounds fragment-y with the second part added, so something added or moved around will make this sentence better.

"smoke showering the once was dazzling skyline of Manhattan," Omit 'was'.

"keeping the girl in the background, the mother thinks the girl is safest out back not understanding the horror of what happened this morning, that will all change if only Charles would pick up the phone." First, I would start a new sentence after "background." Second, I'm not sure if that new sentence sounds right. I'm okay with the mother thinks the girl is safest out back, not understanding or maybe knowing, realizing, the horror of what happened. That makes sense, but then to modify that thought with, that would all change if Charles would pick up the phone...I'm not sure if that makes sense. To me, it says she's safe out back, not knowing what's going on, but that will change if Charles answers the phone. The way it's written makes it sound like if Charles answers the phone, the girl will no longer be safe or will no longer be safe from not knowing. I think that section needs to be changed a bit.

"The girl stands in the sand by the shoreline continuing to twirl and move about thinking of a routine to show her father later that evening...The time seems to flow by as the mother continues to watch the girl remembering the summers ago where she herself as young girl were to play out in the sun the warmth of a young day glowing up her face." The whole paragraph, really lovely stuff. Also, was that Nancy reminiscing about her father then at the beginning? I guess I'm still confused as to the name thing, and that would possibly make sense if Nix is a nickname for Nancy.

"Suddenly, she feels distance she needs to know what is happening if not for herself then for the sake of the girl at least. The mother walks towards the back door." Not sure if 'distance' is supposed to be in there. Could be a remaining word from a prior sentence. I could be not getting what you're trying to say though, but if it is supposed to be there, the sentence kind of reads weird there.

"The girl continues to dance even if it’s under a darkened sun." While I don't think this sentence or story for that matter is supposed to be about sort of the human nature to move on, in a good way of course, and "dance even when it's darkest," the sentence does speak to something really powerful about human optimism perhaps, and the ability to deal with tragedy.

"don’t put her on I don’t want me to go knowing me this way.” The first 'me' is probably supposed to be 'her,' and I think there's some other words missing that need to be added to get the right meaning.

"You need to find a stairwell a path down…” the mother cries, pleading with god for the father of her only daughter, the little girl to be safe;" I think there are too many modifiers here after the dialogue. The mother cries, pleading with god, for the father of her only daughter, the little girl, to be safe. It gets a bit muddled with who she's wishing to be safe and for whose sake. At the very least, I would drop "the little girl," or make it, "the father of her little girl," and drop "her only daughter."

"the voice of her daughter’s father lost forever" Again, I think it might be better if it was simpler. The voice of Cora's father or the voice of her husband and father to Cora. Personal taste though. Up to you.

“Mommy, did you see me dance today?” Oh geez, did you have to go and do that, haha. That kind of situation gets me every time. The child is still happy, oblivious to the tragedy and you just know in a few more seconds she's going to be devastated by news she can't even comprehend. One moment, her world is a happy place, filled only with thoughts of dancing and twirling, and the next her whole world is completely destroyed, filled with true tragedy for the first time. That sentence hit me hard.

Ah, the name thing explained. I don't have a problem with the explanation of what Nix stands for this far into the story, but perhaps the best way to keep it that way is to have the father call her Cora just one time earlier in the story or have something to tell the reader Nix is a nickname or another name her father calls her.

“Say hun, do you know a phoenix as in nix?” the mother asks." Also, I think this sentence is missing a few words, or is just incorrectly phrased. My understanding is the mother is asking if Cora knows where the Nix name her father uses comes from, if she's familiar with what a phoenix is. So I thought the sentence should be something like, do you know why your father calls you Nix? It's from phoenix, do you know what that is? Or something along those lines, maybe shortened down to one sentence or whatever.

I would love to see the word "overlook" in the last few paragraphs. Maybe after the mother explains he's watching Cora dance from in the sky, she says something like, "He overlooks me." Something not quite using the word right. Again, personally, that sentence would hit me so hard emotionally.

I was really touched by the story. I thought it was very good, the emotions and feelings I think you intended the story to give were just right. I'm also impressed with the subject matter, in a way. Your story about this event is so individual, small-scale really. Just dealing with how the tragedy affected 3 people. I liked that angle that you took.

One final point of emphasis, I really connected with the first half of the story, specifically the father and the "work" part. I know it was short, and maybe not intended to be much more than what it was, but it personally connected with me, perhaps because I am going through my own situation similar to that, and I actually think a situation most people whose passion is writing go through. All the time we have to do things we maybe don't want to do or don't like doing, but we're okay with doing those kinds of things if it means we'll make other people happy. It's a really powerful theme that if you go back and add on stuff to the story or ever try to work more into, is one I'd like to see expanded on.

I mean, if I were to split the story into two parts, the first half and the second half, that's what the first half is kind of about, from the father's perspective. Sacrifice, love for his daughter. He'll get dirty for her. He'll work a job he doesn't like for her, if it means she's happy. And then, the second half should keep the phoenix theme, and man, I really would love to see Cora use "overlook" at the end. If there's any suggestion I had that you take into consideration, let it be that one.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


Stats

527 Views
3 Reviews
Rating
Shelved in 2 Libraries
Added on July 13, 2012
Last Updated on April 12, 2013
Tags: 9/11, Dancing, New York City, Twin Towers

Author

Eric Richard
Eric Richard

Palm Coast, FL



About
Been interested in writing since as long as I can remember. I hold my Bachelor's degree in creative writing and my associate's degree in General Business. I took a creative writing course which .. more..

Writing
Liberty Liberty

A Poem by Eric Richard


Chapter One Chapter One

A Chapter by Eric Richard



Related Writing

People who liked this story also liked..