red writing hood — the role of fate
This week, write a fiction or creative non-fiction piece where fate plays a prominent role. You can write from the position of a complete belief or absolute disbelief in the role of fate in our lives or the lives of our characters.
The word limit was 400.
My mother told me about a benevolent, benign, white-bearded Father. I relished Him, since my own father was nothing more than half a face in one curling photograph. My father was a cautionary legend told through clenched teeth and averted eyes (the moral: don’t turn out like him), while everything I heard about God in Sunday school was stained glass and miracles.
Apparently, one of my parents’ great battles was about religion. My earthly father’s tribe believed in totems and nature, so I imagine the idea of a universal CEO with stern eyes made the hair on his arms stand on end. My mother, uniformed in Presbyterianism, needed me to accept the ordered universe as she understood it. Her God wanted confessions of wrongdoing in order to forgive. Her God had already decided how we would all end up, although we should certainly keep trying anyway. What she believed – that everything happens for a reason, that God is demanding and merciful – was how she loved me. As a child in her house, I didn’t want to test her capacity for forgiveness. It was easier to just be good.
“Step slowly, honey.” The voice is vaguely familiar, like a character in a movie I watched once, years ago.
“Lots of rocks out here, maybe even a snake.”
It’s a kind voice. It should belong to a round face with smooth cheeks, but I can’t make out anything through the black cloth tied around my eyes.
Sweat is collecting in the corners of my eyes, but when I start to wipe it away, I realize my hands are bound behind my back. A firm hand, presumably attached to the voice, grips my upper arm. I take a sharp breath as a slow panic roils in my stomach.
Dear God please protect me. Please let this all be a dream.
It is such an old prayer; a child’s prayer, reflexive. “Bright, God helps those who help themselves,” I hear the voice of Sister Veronica, my religion teacher in fifth grade, admonishing me.
My face is soaked with sweat now, and I feel the sun burning the top of my head. A pain is building behind my eyes. I try to steady myself before I speak, too politely.
“Excuse me.” I clear my throat. “Who are you? And what’s happening?” Panic tips up my final word.
“Oh, Natalie, it’s me… your mother.”
Thanks for any feedback you are willing to share.
Here’s to keeping our eyes wide open to the inspiration all around us. Thanks, as always, for showing up.