“Once Upon a Time…”

I’m not a fairytale-type of person, which is weird considering a have two kids under the age of five. But after reading a post from The Write Practice, it got me thinking about how we write our stories. Sometimes, the easiest way to start a story is the phrase, “Once upon a time.” So, I decided to run with it and share a story I wrote in about twenty minutes. (Usually, the exercises encourage writers to write for fifteen minutes, but I hate leaving anything incomplete.) Anyway, here’s the story. I hope you like it.

Once upon a time, a dad and his son exited the stadium. They pumped their fists in excitement. The home team won the final game of the season. Lance looked at Eric yell at the top of his lungs. He lifted him on top of his shoulders. This was the most energetic he had seen him since the divorce was finalized four months ago.

The divorce was rough. Lance and his ex, Mandi, fought over everything from intimacy to religion. One day, she discovered he had a secret account. He didn’t make enough to support the family, she thought. She came to the conclusion that he was being unfaithful. Though he denied it many times, the deceit stung and she felt she had no choice but to file for divorce. The judge awarded Mandi full custody of their son, allowing Lance to visit him on alternate weekends.

“Great game, huh?”

Eric yelled again. The excitement was too much to be contained. Then, his voice turned serious.


“Yes, Eric?”

“Do you love me?”

Lance’s face grimaced. He set Eric down from his shoulders. He kneeled down toward him.

“Of course I do.”

“Then why are you and Mommy not together?”

Lance was at a loss for words. He couldn’t tell him the truth. He believed he wouldn’t understand. But he couldn’t give a boldface lie. Eric was too smart and too intuitive. He rustled his loose ebony curls.

“Well, son,” Lance said, “Mommy and Daddy fought a lot. And we didn’t want you to be in the middle of it. We want what’s best for you, and sometimes that means letting either Mommy or Daddy raise you. And some people decided Mommy was better.”

Lance saw a tear oozing from the corner of Eric’s eye. He wiped it away. He told Eric about how he he grew up without a father. His parents divorced when he was twelve, but his father wasn’t there.

“But I don’t want you to think that I don’t love you. I am always here for you.”

Eric’s face glowed. So did Lance’s. It was moments like these that he wished for. He got them with his son.

“I love you, Dad.”


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