Declan dragged his feet as he walked into the door of his apartment, and as the door closed, he realized he had forgotten to stop at the grocery store. He let out a deep frustrated sigh, picked back up his keys, and opened the door to go out again. He could hear his father yelling, "How could you forget to stop at the store? It was one thing!" He remembered the summer after his mother died. His father yelled a lot. It did not matter what he did, good grades - Dad yelled. Cleaned his room - Dad yelled. Made the game-winning score - Dad yelled. He knew his mom's death was hard on his father. He could not understand why his father didn't realize how hard it was on Declan too.
Declan was so distracted in his thoughts he almost walked past the grocery store. He slightly chuckled to himself at his absent-mindedness. *sparkle* It was still in there, that sparkle. The tiny light inside that allows us to smile, even at the little things. Declan's sparkle had been so smothered by the ashes of anger, fear, and frustration over the years it was difficult to know if it would ever be able to dig itself out again.
While he shopped, he noticed a woman with three small children. She looked overwhelmed. He didn't have children, but he recognized that feeling. The children were all over the place, laughing, being loud, and then the youngest knocked over a display. The child looked shocked and was just about to cry when the woman came over, knelt beside the child, and said, "Oops!? I guess we have to pick this up and fix the display for the next clumsy Caden to bop it over, don't we?" She booped the little guy on his nose, and he smiled. "I'm sorwey, Mommie. I'll be mored carefulled." Caden called to his sisters, "Hey girlies, we need to stop, Mommie can't get her chopping done if we are acting like animuls." The sisters stopped and ran over to help Caden and their mom.
Declan enjoyed this interaction. He did not have time to enjoy it for long though because he, again distracted, bumped into a man in uniform. A crotchety captain who had no patience. "Watch where you are walking, soldier!" Suddenly, a flash of his life back in the army popped in his head. He joined as soon as he could to get away from his father, but it was not the escape he had hoped it would be.
Declan was quite smart and athletic. He wasn't at the top of his class in school and the military; however, he was near the top. That was not good enough for his father, and it never seemed good enough for his Lieutenants either. He put his time in, and just like when he tried to get away from his father, he did not reenlist. He was ready to leave the military. He had saved all he could while in the military. The other joes picked on Declan because he didn't do much when he was on leave like the rest of them. Declan learned computer technology during his stint and did very well at it, so he found an apartment and a job relatively quickly upon being discharged.
Work-life was much like growing up and the military. Nothing he did seemed good enough for his boss either. He had just gotten to the point where he felt this was life. You go to work, you keep your head down, and you pay your bills. This was Declan's existence. He wasn't necessarily unhappy, but he for sure wasn't happy. Declan was unaware of any sparkles in his world.
Would he ever find them again?
I hope you are enjoying learning more about Declan. Ellie will return the first Monday in March. Come back next Monday for the next installment of The Grammar Police.
Love Lots; Smile Often