Writing Prompt: “3rds” Song: The Right Time, by Warren Barfield (Click the song title to read lyrics and hear the song.) Album:“Red Bird” 3rd line in 3rd verse of 3rd song: “We were barely getting by” Note: From my view, I have chosen to count the chorus as a verse. To view the original Prompt & Rules, click HERE.
The Right Time
“We were barely getting by. Carlos liked to believe that everything was just fine, but me, I knew better. Seven days straight drinking cold water and wearing underclothes that were so filthy they could stand up straight on their own was not fine.
“Life’s too short to be gripping all the time.” Carlos managed to throw that line at me every time I looked like I was going to wage a complaint. In all honesty, there wasn’t anything that Carlos could do that he wasn’t already doing to make things any better. We had a roof over our heads, really it was a tent he had managed to pinch from some local store a few months back. He hated stealing, but he hated being cold more than that.
More than just being dirty, finding our stomachs growling louder than any conversation we could seem to have, what seemed to bother me the most was his optimism. I suppose one of us had to be the optimist. One of us had a whole long life to live and the other…well the other of us was on precious borrowed time, time that should never be spent with complaints, no matter how much clay gets caught underneath your fingernails.
Apart from the stealing, we did other things that weren’t always on the shining side of the law. All of it was harmless. Just two kids out pocking a joke or two with no cares in the world besides seeking a good laugh and make believing we were a pair of lost boys on Neverland.
That was mostly true.
There wasn’t much to care about besides living in that moment. At least I let Carlos believe that I believed that. That is what friends are for, to laugh with, cry with, and run away with when it seems there is no hope.
Homes for the un-adoptables. What is it that makes a kid unwanted, unable to be placed? What does being unadoptable even mean? Did it mean that Carlos and I, and a slew of others, were broken, mistakes, unfit for love?
Carlos somehow managed to not think so. He said it meant we were born free. It meant we were created without confines and made to live in the dreams that others would never get to live.
I had always been the realist, not so much a pessimist, but a guy willing to look at the facts and call a spade a spade. We weren’t wanted because we were too old. Thirteen isn’t cute and cuddly. Carlos said if age had anything to do with it then what made us not cute when we were babies in the system?
I kept the hard truth to myself. One of us wasn’t wanted because of sickness and a quick expiration date on life. Parents didn’t want that. They wanted to be grandparents. That meant their kid had to grow up. If they wanted to watch the beginning and end of a life in less than twenty years they would get a puppy, not a thirteen-year-old old boy.
That is why we ran away. That is why I ran away and I am so glad that I did because if I hadn’t done so, ten years ago, I would have never gotten to see Carlos reach the height of his life. I would have never come out of my shell and anger. I would have never been able to tell his grandmother, seven months after he passed, what a great kid he was. I would have never been adopted by her and become the man I am today if it wasn’t for Carlos.
I really enjoyed writing this and seeing how the story unfolded around that first line, “We were barely getting by.” I felt like I was taking a risk, hitting on a subject that is so sensitive to many, being an “unwanted” child, lost in the system. I hope I was able to bring the short tale full circle and create a tale that is uniquely its own apart from the song that lent its inspiration. Thanks for reading, and I will be posting my BONUS round next week!
~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!