Skipping Stones | J.B. McGee
Expected publication September 17th 2013
They say there are five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
Not everyone will grieve in this order, nor will everyone go through every stage. It’s during the stage of denial when Alex Hart meets Andrew Foster. He takes her one-step closer to acceptance: the stage when new, meaningful relationships are formed. The stage when the realization occurs that this is now the new state of normal.
Just when Alex thinks she is on her way to healing, she enters the bargaining phase. That’s the phase where you wonder what you could have done differently. You wonder “what if?” Specifically, what if the ones you loved hadn’t left you?
Leaving…this is what makes heading off to war so difficult and frightening for Alex. She knows all too well what it’s like to be the one on the losing end of life, which is why she’s made it her personal mission in life to save as many lives as possible. The extreme high she gets from treating trauma victims turns into Alex’s own form of therapy, or so she thinks.When faced with her world being turned upside down, Alex may just find that her true therapy is in the one who has always saved her.
He pulls my arm back like a slingshot and as we’re gaining momentum to release the stone, I hear, “Alex!” being proclaimed through the entire neighborhood. It causes my already racing heart to speed out of control. I lose complete concentration, virtually spinning myself around as the stone is released, plummeting me into his arms, our lips just mere millimeters away from each other.We stare into each other’s eyes. Speechless seems to be my middle name for one reason or another today. I blink. “I…”“You can’t skip a stone to save your life, can you?” He smirks.I breathe for what seems like the first time in five minutes and start to laugh. “No. No, I can’t.”He brushes a piece of hair out of my eye. “You will. I’ll teach you.”“I am not sure I’m teachable. Been trying for years with Papa.”“Come back to me. I’ll teach you. If it’s the last thing I do…” His entire face lights up. “I’ll teach you everything I know.”I feel him, every inch of him. I know there’s more to that statement. I must admit that I’m curious. “Everything you know, huh?”“Everything.” He caresses my cheek, just below my eyes. “Come back to me. I’ll teach you how to deal with those beautiful tears of yours. I’ll teach you how to breathe again. I’ll teach you everything.” He looks down to his pile of rocks. “I’ll share those with you. And I’ll teach you how to skip stones. It’s a promise, and I don’t break promises.”