Broken Glass

Jake groaned as the alarm went off on his phone. The man quickly rolled over to turn off the offending sound. Then, in the dark, he patted the nightstand beside him, looking for his glasses. Before he stood, Nancy whispered for him to stay in the warmth of his bed.

“Go back to sleep,” he told her as he kissed her cheek.

The tired man shuffled to the kitchen, knowing his morning coffee would be waiting. He grabbed his favorite mug from the cabinet, the one that said “world’s best dad.” It had been a gift from Holly when she was about eight. Or was it nine? It was hard to remember. He worked so often that the days and years blurred together like the broken glass of a kaleidoscope, only he felt as if he missed the true beauty of life’s designs. He heard about his family’s day trips as they explored museums or hiked in local forests. On homemade videos, he watched Holly’s dance recitals and volleyball games but promised not to miss graduation.

Sighing, he poured a cup of coffee and tiptoed to the living room, a habit from when Holley was little. The father didn’t want to wake her as he readied for work. He turned on the lamp next to his recliner, grabbed the remote from the table stand, and clicked on the fireplace. The cheery warmth chased away the chill in the room, but it did nothing for his somber mood. He’d had been a horrible husband and father that only shared parts of himself with his wife and daughter. Rationalizing, he told himself he only wanted to provide for them.

But all the overtime was not necessary. Did his family really need the condo in Breckinridge? Moreover, Jake worked so often that he rarely took the time for weekend ski trips, the ones his girls enjoyed.

He always thought he made up for his absences with lavish gifts. So for Holly’s eighteenth birthday, he surprised her with a brand new Wrangler with a big red bow and parked it in the driveway. She squealed when she saw it. “Thanks, Dad. Let’s go for a ride. We can take it over Tincup Pass. Let me change.”

He remembered how her voice wavered when he told her no.

“Let me guess,” she sighed, “You have to work.”

With tears in her eyes, Holly placed the keys in his hands and walked away. She never even drove it. That was over two weeks ago.

Jake needed to change and quickly. Holly would only be home until the fall before heading to Berkley. He didn’t have much time. So even though it was a Saturday, the father decided to call off sick and cancel his appointments for the day. He phoned Mia.

“Hi, Mia. I am taking the day off. No, No, I am not sick. I am taking my girls on an adventure. Yeah, we are taking a day trip over to Tincup. Cancel my appointments. Tell them something came up. You take the day off too and enjoy. I will still pay you for your hours. Thanks, Mia!”

Jake smiled. He stood and walked to the kitchen to pour another coffee and begin preparing their lunch. He remembered Nancy had a picnic basket somewhere, probably in the pantry.

The man chuckled. He didn’t think his girls would mind waking up early to go on an adventure. Tincup Pass would make for a perfect day.

He placed his mug on the counter and walked to the pantry. Stepping in, he glanced at the shelves. On top of one, he spied the basket, so he grabbed the step ladder, climbed up, and reached for the item.

Suddenly, a pain wracked his body, and then another. He couldn’t breathe or even call out. He tried to steady himself and grabbed a shelf, but as he fell, the top racks tumbled down along with Nancy’s Christmas china. As the plates fell, they hit cupboards and counters, and the dinnerware shattered. The shards rained down over his limp body.

Before losing consciousness, he looked at the broken glass. The slivers of shattered china glittered like snow. “Lovely,” he thought before he took his last breath.

Writing Prompt:

For today’s prompt, let’s write about a workaholic.

Photo by Jessica Johnston on Unsplash

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