As I grabbed the notebook I cried hard. Words poured out:

Dear God,

I am suppose to believe in you. You took my Dad and I’m very mad at you. I don’t understand and why won’t Nathan cry? What is wrong with him? How could you do this to my mother? Is it possible for you to provide me answers soon?

As I was writing this my mom yelled up.

“Allie is at the door.”

I threw down the pen and wiped my tears. I went downstairs to let Allie in. She said my mom called her mom to tell her the news. I could tell she didn’t know what to say.

“Are you going to school tomorrow?”

“No I’m not going but will go sometime this week. My mom said there was lots to do. I don’t know what she wants me to do.”

“Did she tell you next weekend you and Nathan are staying with us?”

“No she didn’t.”

“It will be fun.”

“Allie Do you believe in God?”

“Yeah I do.”

“Why would God take my Dad?”

Allie just stared at me for a moment.

“I don’t know. I can’t really answer that. Is your notebook full yet? You said you would write something every day.”

“It’s almost full. I wrote something today.”

“What did you write today?”

“Today I wrote a letter to God. I’m hoping he will get it soon and write back.”

“I don’t think that’s how that works.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well at church we are told to believe in him. I don’t think he gets mail in heaven. He doesn’t wait for mail. My mom always says things happen for a reason.”

“So are you saying God took my Dad for a reason?”

“I don’t think it’s that easy to explain Ben. He didn’t take him to cut grass in heaven.”

I didn’t understand what Allie was trying to say.

A few months had passed and everything appeared to be normal until a early Sunday morning. I woke up to the sound of my mother crying. I laid there in bed and it sounded like she was on the phone. It was barely seven in the morning and Nathan was passed out cold. I never heard her cry like that. It made me nervous. It was then that I saw the knob turn on my door and saw my mother wiping her tears away. I closed my eyes immediately and she sat on the bed. She placed her hand on my face and softly said my name. I opened them up and my mom was frozen.

“Ben I have some bad news.”

She stopped right there. She struggled to continue crying. It struck a nerve in my ten year old body. I could see she was in so much pain emotionally. I could see it at the age of ten. I begin to cry and felt my world was about to change in a drastic way.

“Ben your father was in a car accident and he didn’t make it.

I sobbed just as much as my mother. Nathan was still sound asleep. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. How am I suppose to go on without my Dad? I was so mad. I was so angry inside. I sat up and hugged my mom for life. It was hard to believe that I would never see my father. My mom left the room to make us breakfast and I had to tell my brother. I woke him up and told him. He didn’t cry, he just looked at me.

“So Dad won’t ever come home?”

“No.”

“He was going to fix my bike. Ben who is going to fix it?”

I didn’t have an answer for him and was confused that he didn’t show any emotion. Our Dad isn’t here and all he could do is think about his bike. I didn’t get it. How can he not show any emotion?

It was a gloomy Sunday. My mom called everyone she knew to tell them. She was in tears all day on the phone. I walked around my house imagining my Dad not being here in the house anymore. No more playing football. No more car rides. No more wrestling. Something came over me as I walked around my house. I ran to my room and grabbed that notebook.

We all played the rest of the day but my mind couldn’t sit still. We went home around dinner time and I was anxious to write in my notebook.

“Tell Nathan it’s time to eat.”

“Yes Mom.”

I sat down at the table with my notebook and started to write. I didn’t realize she was paying attention. I thought she was cooking.

“What are you writing Ben?”

I could see her pulling something out of the oven as she asked that.

“Stuff.”

“Do you care to share?”

“No not really.”

“Why not?”

“You won’t understand or like it.”

“Ben you shouldn’t assume, well why would you say that?”

“Allie thought it was boring.”

“Ben I will be in a second, you aren’t making any sense.”

My Mom brought in dinner and placed it on the table. She was running back and forth for a few minutes as I sat there writing.

“Ok Ben, please let me see your notebook.”

I stopped writing and handed it to her. She was fixing her hair with one hand as she read it.

“So what is the about?”

“I’m trying to write like Dr. Seuss. I’m trying to rhyme but this is hard and make sense.”

“Oh I see.”

She had a puzzling face and was trying to come up with something to say. It took her a while though.

“Well Ben the world doesn’t need two Dr. Seuss’s. We only need one. You be Ben and write what comes out. Don’t write like him.”

I understood what Mom said. I guess she is right. My father says she is barely ever right.

“Where is your brother, I told you to tell him it’s dinner time.”

We came downstairs and my Mom looked upset.

“What’s wrong Mom?”

“I’m ok, it’s just your father. He grabbed some clothes when you were next door. He has to travel again for work.

My mother always hated when he had to travel for work. She never seemed pleased to sit at the dinner table without him.

We all ran down to the basement to play. Allie and I sat on the couch. Nathan and Samantha begin to go through the chest to find something to play.

“Bring the notebook?”

I pulled it from my jacket as she laughed.

“Why did you put it there Ben?”

“My mom found it and I don’t know. I just did.”

“You must be shy about it.”

I didn’t say a word and opened it up.

“Here you go Allie, what do you think?”

She browsed and read this first.

The sad clown

went to bed.

No sounds

in his head.

Closed his eyes

He said goodbye.

All he saw was red.

“So what does this mean Ben?”

“I don’t know it just came to me.”

“You just started writing this stuff?”

“Yeah I kept on looking at Nathan’s books. Especially Dr. Seuss. I thought I would try to do what he can do.”

“Oh ok I see.”

“Why is this guy a doctor anyway? All he does is rhyme words. He doesn’t look at anyone’s tonsils or eyeballs. None of what he writes makes any sense.”

“Very true Ben.”

“So I thought maybe you can help me add words to it. This can be what we do for fun once in a while.”

“Yeah it’s different. But you want me to think and we aren’t in school.”

“Do you want to help or not?”

“Yeah I will help you.”

We stared at what I wrote for a few minutes.

Then she added more to it and changed a bit to it.

The sad clown

went to bed.

Too many thoughts

in his head.

Closed his eyes

He said goodbye.

Time to forget

all the things people said.

“Allie, that’s pretty good! That makes more sense.”

“Yeah it does but this seems kinda boring to me.”

It kinda made me sad that she said that. I’m not sure why that bothered me but it did.

I looked at my brother and Samantha. They were watching tv and making faces at one another. Apparently I was on my own if I wanted to write whatever I was writing. I thought Allie would like it.

“Let’s just watch with them.”

“Allie what do you want to be when you grow up?”

“I want to be a teacher.”

“Why is that?”

“They teach kids.”

“Remember my mom does that and she always says they don’t pay her enough for all the crap she does.”

“Ben you said a bad word!”

“Crap isn’t a bad word. I’ve heard my Dad say bad words and I can’t repeat them until I’m 21 according to my Mom.”

“Yeah I’ve heard my Mom say bad words too. But I got yelled at for using the word crap.”

“Ben, where is your brother?”

“He just went outside to play.”

“Didn’t I tell you last night you two needed to clean your room?”

“We did clean it.”

I was in the bathroom and my mom was in her room.

“So I can walk in there and check it?”

I was filling up the sink to see if the boat I had made would float.

“Yeah.”

“Ben Michael Masters your room is not clean!

One section of it is and the rest isn’t.”

“You meant the whole room?”

“Go get Nathan and clean the entire room, NOW!”

I tossed down my boat and ran down the stairs. I slammed the door out of aggravation and yelled his name. Nathan came running from next door. It looked like he was talking to Allie.

“We have to finish cleaning our room. I think Mom is on her period.”

I have no clue what a period is but my dad always said when she is cranky she is on her period. I’m only ten years old, but everything my dad says is true. We went upstairs to go clean our room and my mom stood in the middle of the room with her hands on her hips.

“Boys you know better, when I tell you to clean your room, I mean the whole room.”

“Yes Mom.”

“Ben what is that notebook on your bed, it’s open and it looks like you have written a lot?”

I snatched it and closed it right away.

“Nothing Mom.”

This was the age I begin to write. I’m not even sure if it made any sense but the sound of words rhyming somehow appealed to my little brain. I can’t even explain it. I threw it in my dresser drawer and had a feeling my mom would one day walk in here. She would search for it. Nathan and I cleaned our room.

I went to go look for my boat in the bathroom and it was gone. My mom did something with it. I was kinda mad but if I ask her she would tell me our toys can’t be laying around in the bathroom. She must be on her period. I need to find out what that means. The house needs to be clean when she is on her period.

“Ben, Allie is on the phone, come get it.”

“Hi Allie.”

“You gonna come over today like you said?”

“Nathan and I will be over soon. We gotta eat lunch first.”

“Ok. Bring your notebook over.”

“Ok.”

Allie is the same age. She moved here last year. There aren’t too many kids that live on my street. She has a sister the same age as Nathan, Samantha.

I put a jacket on and grabbed the notebook. I put it underneath the jacket so my Mom couldn’t see.

To be continued…