Here is a short story that I wrote a few years ago based off of a writing prompt. The prompt was, “Having the strength to tell your parents_________.” I hope you enjoy the story as much as I enjoyed writing it.
A Pale Metal Steed
Written By: Frank Cormier
A Black & White taxi sat idling in front of 1525 Hope Lane, a large white Colonial style house with royal blue shutters. A decorative mailbox painted with the name “Taylor” on each side framed the left side of the driveway. The morning dew clung to the front lawn, a bright sun unable to burn it away.
“This isn’t going to be easy,” the hack said to his fare, a military man in his late twenties. He was decked in full Marine dress uniform, sat rigid in the back seat, eyes closed, offered no response.
“I bet you’ve seen more of the filth this world has to offer than guys twice your age,” he continued. “Most people don’t know what life is at your age. And they certainly don’t know about death.”
The cabbie peered into the rearview mirror and noticed that the young man’s hat had slipped over his eyes. He studied the colorful ribbons and medals decorating the uniform. What a great looking uniform he thought, impressive.
“All of that training you go through,” he said, shaking his head. “You know the basic training, the hand-to-hand combat, the specialty weapons schooling, the inspections, and the daily physical workouts; all of it. I mean, like, WOW!
“You are trained to be the best. Handle any situation. Don’t crack under combat pressure. You know, ALL of it.
“I never served in the military,” he said as he turned toward the back seat. “I’ve been driving a cab longer than you’ve been alive. Never have done nothing else. And it’s too late for me to do something new now.”
He read the name tag on the uniform aloud, “Taylor.” The young man’s shoulders had slumped a bit since they had parked. He looked out of the passenger window and spied the mailbox. “Well, I guess we’re at the right place,” he said to the young man. No response. He thumbed a white envelope as he contemplated his next move.
“I know you must be tired and all from the traveling. Let me go and see if anyone is at home.”
He quickly exited the cab, crossed over to the driveway and surveyed the house for a moment. He removed his hat and scratched his head as he studied the flagpole. The flagpole boasted an American flag at full mast. The flag was limp.
He put his hat back on then marched up the driveway to the front door. He was presented with the choice of ringing a doorbell or using a fancy brass doorknocker with the name “Taylor” emblazoned on it. He reached for the doorknocker then pulled his hand back deciding the doorbell was the better option.
A gray haired man, late fifties, clean shaven, dressed in tan khakis, loafers, and a ribbed white sweater opened the door. The taxi driver handed him the white envelope without explanation. With a puzzled look on his face, the gray haired man accepted the envelope; “Mom & Dad” was written on the outside.
As he opened the envelope his wife silently approached. He held the letter at arm’s length and read it to his wife:
“Dear Mom & Dad,
I hope you are both well. I have some news to share with you about me. Please know in your hearts that you are both excellent parents that any son would be proud to call his own.
It truly breaks my heart to have to tell you what I am about to share and I apologize that it has taken me this long to find the strength: I am dead.
It is my wish that you always keep a place for me in your hearts and thoughts. I miss you.
Your loving son,
Michael J. Taylor, Jr.”
Copyright (C) 2015 by Frank Cormier. All rights reserved.