When You Can’t Sleep At Night

For Creative Writing Club, this month’s focus is music inspired stories (and a perfect focus for a music lover like myself). As a result, we are encouraged to find an instrumental and write a story based on what we feel. The song I chose for the assignment itself is “Shadows” by Lindsey Stirling, but I want to share that in the next meeting, so afterwords I’ll post it. This is not an instrumental (well, if you count voice as an instrument it is), but I still felt the strong need to write a story about it. This is “When You Can’t Sleep At Night” by Of Mice & Men, and it’s an extremely pretty song.

Here’s what I wrote about it.

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“Mommy,” my seven year old daughter Cecilia confessed. “I’m scared.”

“I am, too, darling. Everything will be okay, it just takes some time.” I beckoned for her to lie down in the same bed that held her father, just six months ago. She smiled and found my stomach a pillow.

“Where’s Daddy, mommy?” Her innocent little voice asked, unaware of the utter truth that I couldn’t bear tell her until she was older.

“Remember when Daddy had to go far away to protect us?” I heard a soft “mhmm”, so I continued. “Well, he had to go away again, but-” I choked, but recovered before she questioned, “he’ll be back, I promise.” I didn’t dare tell her that his last words told me, “Even though I’m miles away, I can still feel your warm embrace. I love you, and little Cecilia too. I’ll come home soon, I promise.” Broken promises, my husband and I make. I tried to change the subject, to avert from my eyes becoming full of grief and bear the ocean’s wave. “So, what did you do at school today?”

“I made a picture of Daddy doing his job, fighting aliens instead of people because I don’t want people to die.” I smiled, scolding myself to keep the flow away from my eyes. “Mommy, what’s wrong?” I must have allowed a tear to fall.

“Sweetie,” I started, then wondered how to tell her. I don’t like lying to my daughter, especially about things like this. “Your father, he’s-” I fought, but as my husband has fallen, so has my will. I let the tears crash around me, wanting no more to keep them a secret. I had gotten the notice three months ago, and I have been hiding my face ever since. I couldn’t face my daughter with the truth, I couldn’t ruin her innocence with the truth. If I am to tell her, I will never have my daughter the same way again. She will be cursed, never wanting to play. She will cry, and not tears because her favorite toy is broken, because of something no one can prepare for. She will age, and never be the playful little kid I’d hoped out of her for as long as possible.

“He’s what?” She asked, curious. She rose to look at my face.

“He won’t be coming home. He’s- he’s-” I couldn’t get the word out. All I can remember is the soft hugs, the love he and I shared, and to know it will never be the same, I will never get to hold him, to even speak to him, I started to sob a little louder, trying to keep it as quiet as possible.

“Mommy, why are you crying?” Cecilia asked.

I decided to tell her the truth because I couldn’t hold it in anymore. “He’s- He’s dead, Cecilia. I’m sorry, but Daddy won’t be coming home.”

The look my daughter gave was a mixture of sadness and anger. I was afraid of how she’ll react. I found her eyes growing glassy from the water welling up. She returned to her previous position and began to cry. “You mean he’s really dead? I won’t be able to tell him I love you anymore?”

“I’m afraid so, darling. He wanted me to tell you that he loves you, with all of his heart. And he wants you to know that he will always be in here.” I pointed to my own chest, to motion the heart.

“He died protecting us, right?” she asked, while her tears found my shirt.

“Yes, he did.” I whispered.

“Then why did we let him go?”  I was caught by the throat with her words. A new wave of tears had found themselves, while I nurtured our child as she coped with the truth. I had taught her to never be angry, but in this, I feared she would get tempered at me, or worse, herself.

“It’ll be okay, Daddy is still protecting us.” I told her.

“He is?”

“In a very different way, but yes, he is still protecting us. He has grown wings too. He’s watching us from up there.” I pointed towards the moon, through the window. “Up there, he can protect us from things like bad people too.”

“He’s in heaven?” she asked, curious yet again.

“Yes, he’s in heaven.”

She paused for a moment, then whispered to me. “It’s okay now. I can still tell Daddy I love him, and so can you.”

“Yes,” I replied, remembering where my love is, where he will always been and belonged. “Yes, we can.”

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It’s was a bit sadder than I had initially planned it on being, but I hope you guys liked it!

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2 thoughts on “When You Can’t Sleep At Night

  1. Ahhh listening to this song while reading the story really hit me in the feels. I loved this, the emotion was quite raw and the ending was all too bittersweet. Wonderfully done!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you very much, Grace!

    Liked by 1 person

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