THE WIND’S BETRAYAL • by M. P. Rossi

I burned your name in blue fire and released it to the wind. The wind twirled it around the lemon trees in the yard, swirled it around the bougainvillea draped over the brick fence and carefully carried it out. I watched as your name drifted gently down the dirt road towards the village, knowing that when the wind reached you, you would hear my voice in it, and then you’d come back to me.

Late that afternoon I sat alone on the wicker swing, sipping wine and watching the hummingbirds drain nectar from the bleeding heart flowers along the front porch. Your father and I used to do that. We used to sit together, swinging quietly and holding hands. You would play at our feet, kick your ball around the porch, run around the yard picking flowers and tangling them in my hair.

“You’re so pretty, mommy,” you would say, and I would pull you to me and wrap my arms around your little, giggling body.

When the doctor told us why you were losing so much weight, I slapped him, letting my nails scrape his shaved skin. I yelled and shoved your father as he restrained me, as words that I will never repeat again, words of disease and despair, invaded my life. You were five, a boy full of smiles and cuddles and sweet innocence.

I stood on the porch for hours after you left, until the moon shone above me and the chill of the night infiltrated my skin and dug into my bones. Your father moved out the following week.

***

I gave the wind three days to find you. The wind is fast, and by then, I knew it had taken my voice to you. I showered, brushed my teeth, got in the car. I drove down the dirt path of our house, turned right when I reached the paved road, and made my way into town. I pulled into a parking lot and stepped into our favorite café, the one where the three of us liked to eat brunch sometimes. I was smiling.

Then I saw your name, resting gently on the hanging violet bush in the café’s terrace. I sipped my coffee, took a small bite of the sandwich I had ordered. Glancing up, I saw your name again, at the corner, floating playfully over the dangling traffic light. It was twirling gently in the breeze down the street, and it was trapped underneath the windshield wipers of a car.

I saw, then, the wind’s betrayal. It had taken your name up the mountain and down the valley, up the river and down to the sea. It had taken your name and thinned it down so that you would never hear it, never hear my voice calling you back to me, sprinkling it everywhere so that it would be there for me to see every time I looked. I left without finishing my food and a tight, throbbing knot in my throat.

I fled to the deceitful safety of the house that was no longer ours but belonged only to me. And when I opened the door I saw your shoes, still placed carefully at the entrance, waiting for you to put them on to go run through the yard. I saw your ball, sitting in the hallway, waiting for you to pick it up and kick it around. I went to your room and saw your bed, the sheets still holding the shape of your body. I saw the photographs of us, saw how you had had my chin and my eyes, your father’s forehead and his lips. In the half-open door of the closet I saw all the clothes we had bought you last Christmas, the ones you were meant to wear but never did. And in the left corner of the window, floating gently, was another piece of your name.

I lost the bit of food I had eaten. I gulped air but couldn’t breathe. I stumbled to your bed and crawled under the sheets, goosebumps on my back, my ears ringing, my body trembling violently. And now, two days later, I don’t think I will ever rise again.


M. P. Rossi, engineer by day, was born and raised in Costa Rica. After years of living in beautiful Philadelphia she currently resides in Portland, OR, where she seems to have adjusted to the dreary rain.


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Rate this story:
 average 4 stars • 1 reader(s) rated this

Every Day Fiction

  • Terrific first paragraph. Truly got a smile on my face. In fact I was impressed with most of this, the exceptions being that the floating name got old, and something personal at the end, a quicker death.
    Look forward reading more from M.P. Rossi.

  • Terrific first paragraph. Truly got a smile on my face. In fact I was impressed with most of this, the exceptions being that the floating name got old, and something personal at the end, a quicker death.
    Look forward reading more from M.P. Rossi.

  • Alie Bell

    Beautiful. Something about the lady sentence doesn’t work for me, though.

  • Alie Bell

    Beautiful. Something about the last sentence doesn’t work for me, though.

  • Jen

    This had a wonderful feeling to it from the very beginning. The writing style was just beautiful. I’d also love to see more by Ms. Rossi.

  • Jen

    This had a wonderful feeling to it from the very beginning. The writing style was just beautiful. I’d also love to see more by Ms. Rossi.

  • Sarah Crysl Akhtar

    It’s rare to express, with beauty, such devastating loss. Exceptional work. Five stars.

  • Sarah Crysl Akhtar

    It’s rare to express, with beauty, such devastating loss. Exceptional work. Five stars.

  • MPmcgurty

    Takes a lot of talent to so succinctly express loss and emotion in such lovely language. Looking forward to more from this author. 5 stars.

  • MPmcgurty

    Takes a lot of talent to so succinctly express loss and emotion in such lovely language. Looking forward to more from this author. 5 stars.

  • Paul A. Freeman

    Done to death – forgive the pun.

  • Paul A. Freeman

    Done to death – forgive the pun.

  • Diane Cresswell

    Extraordinarily written. And I find it even more extraordinary is that the mom didn’t see what the ‘wind’ was telling her. Written by one who has been touched by the deep sense of loss which your words did poignantly.

  • Diane Cresswell

    Extraordinarily written. And I find it even more extraordinary is that the mom didn’t see what the ‘wind’ was telling her. Written by one who has been touched by the deep sense of loss which your words did poignantly.

  • Struggling Writer

    Charming and emotional, but like the wisps of names floundering in the trees, it never quite takes flight. I’m at a loss to know why the husband left, I am

    Some of the images are mesmerizing, but at the same time, I count three “gently,” two “carefully,” a “playfully.” a “quietly,” a “violently” — while I am not a complete adverb Nazi, I think stronger adjectives might have served better. The “I left without finishing my food and a tight, throbbing knot in my throat” needs another connecting word unless she means she also didn’t quite finish that throbbing in her throat.

    Emotion is vital in a story, and this is piece draped (“gently”) with sadness and loss, but I think it needs more than just a pull at the heartstrings.

    There are clearly hints that this writer is talented and very creative, but this still didn’t quite connect with me as well as I wished it might. However, I do look forward to reading more of the writer’s work.

    • Carl Steiger
      The husband SHOULDN'T have left, but I believe a lot of marriages do not survive this kind of trauma. I presume he just didn't have the strength to stay, but running away after only a week is giving up way too soon, I'd say.
      • S Conroy
        I actually imagined that she wanted him to leave, or that it may have been mutual.
  • Struggling Writer

    Charming and emotional, but like the wisps of names floundering in the trees, it never quite takes flight. I’m at a loss to know why the husband left, I am

    Some of the images are mesmerizing, but at the same time, I count three “gently,” two “carefully,” a “playfully.” a “quietly,” a “violently” — while I am not a complete adverb Nazi, I think stronger adjectives might have served better. The “I left without finishing my food and a tight, throbbing knot in my throat” needs another connecting word unless she means she also didn’t quite finish that throbbing in her throat.

    Emotion is vital in a story, and this is piece draped (“gently”) with sadness and loss, but I think it needs more than just a pull at the heartstrings.

    There are clearly hints that this writer is talented and very creative, but this still didn’t quite connect with me as well as I wished it might. However, I do look forward to reading more of the writer’s work.

    • Carl Steiger
      The husband SHOULDN'T have left, but I believe a lot of marriages do not survive this kind of trauma. I presume he just didn't have the strength to stay, but running away after only a week is giving up way too soon, I'd say.
      • S Conroy
        I actually imagined that she wanted him to leave, or that it may have been mutual.
  • joanna b.

    this story has a lot of strength to it.

    i particularly liked the paragraph that started “When the doctor told us why you were losing so much weight…” it might have made a good opener to the piece.

    i’m afraid the emphasis on the wind and the child’s name just didn’t do it for me. it seemed too much of a literary device rather than a truth about mourning.

    this is in contrast to the excellence of the next to last paragraph, the poignant description of the child’s room. that certainly reached me.

    3 stars.

  • joanna b.

    this story has a lot of strength to it.

    i particularly liked the paragraph that started “When the doctor told us why you were losing so much weight…” it might have made a good opener to the piece.

    i’m afraid the emphasis on the wind and the child’s name just didn’t do it for me. it seemed too much of a literary device rather than a truth about mourning.

    this is in contrast to the excellence of the next to last paragraph, the poignant description of the child’s room. that certainly reached me.

    3 stars.

  • Carl Steiger

    I hereby retract whatever I have said regarding the writing skills of engineers. This was marvelous.
    And yet I’m not going to vote. Just not feeling in the mood for grief today.

  • Carl Steiger

    I hereby retract whatever I have said regarding the writing skills of engineers. This was marvelous.
    And yet I’m not going to vote. Just not feeling in the mood for grief today.

  • S Conroy

    This got to me. I lost my mother unexpectedly a couple of weeks ago and it struck a chord. Beautifully written.

    • Sarah Crysl Akhtar
      It's a unique grief we are never prepared for. I knew I had never truly understood anyone else's loss until I lost my mom--so you have my very deepest condolences.
    • Camille Gooderham Campbell
      Very sorry for your loss.
    • Pia Rossi
      I'm very sorry for your loss, S Conroy.
  • S Conroy

    This got to me. I lost my mother unexpectedly a couple of weeks ago and it struck a chord. Beautifully written.

    • Sarah Crysl Akhtar
      It's a unique grief we are never prepared for. I knew I had never truly understood anyone else's loss until I lost my mom--so you have my very deepest condolences.
    • Camille Gooderham Campbell
      Very sorry for your loss.
    • Pia Rossi
      I'm very sorry for your loss, S Conroy.
  • Joseph Kaufman

    This reminds me of the movie “Rabbit Hole” with Aaron Eckhart and Nicole Kidman.

    How do you recover? Where do you even start?

    I did wish the narrator found some solace, but entirely, regrettably, also understood why she could not. Damnable wind.

  • Joseph Kaufman

    This reminds me of the movie “Rabbit Hole” with Aaron Eckhart and Nicole Kidman.

    How do you recover? Where do you even start?

    I did wish the narrator found some solace, but entirely, regrettably, also understood why she could not. Damnable wind.

  • Wow. I found this story to be incredibly moving. It’s wonderful the way the writing is so lush, yet about loss. You achieve a delicate balance of creating sadness, without it being maudlin or melodramatic. Well done!

  • Wow. I found this story to be incredibly moving. It’s wonderful the way the writing is so lush, yet about loss. You achieve a delicate balance of creating sadness, without it being maudlin or melodramatic. Well done!

  • Ife Olujuyigbe

    Yeah. That first paragraph killed me. This is beautiful poetic story-telling. I like.

  • Ife Olujuyigbe

    Yeah. That first paragraph killed me. This is beautiful poetic story-telling. I like.

  • A lot of emotion packed into the word count. A story of loss. My only wish is to have more of the struggle in the marriage.

    Thanks for the story.

  • A lot of emotion packed into the word count. A story of loss. My only wish is to have more of the struggle in the marriage.

    Thanks for the story.

  • JD Evans

    Started well but kept more of the same. Too much reliance on emotion, not enough action to suit me.

    • Delta
      The writer and the story did a stellar job in conveying the emotions in a subtle manner. I think story didn't need to have a lot of action. Too bad, such a moving story didn't work for you. Looking forward to read more stories from this writer.
  • JD Evans

    Started well but kept more of the same. Too much reliance on emotion, not enough action to suit me.

    • Delta
      The writer and the story did a stellar job in conveying the emotions in a subtle manner. I think story didn't need to have a lot of action. Too bad, such a moving story didn't work for you. Looking forward to read more stories from this writer.
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