Carry Me Too Far Away

Photo Joules Freiboth

The editors at Trifecta have given us a photo prompt this weekend. We are responding to a picture of a man carrying a shit-ton of luggage through some kind of a terminal, and for me, the central question is “Why does he have a carseat?


Julie would have met him at the airport. Brian could have turned around and been on the next flight. But it eased things for all of them if he took one extra day to say goodbye. Macy’s carseat thumped every time he swung his arms. But by bringing it to use in the rental, he held onto her fruit candy scent a little while longer after he went back home. Three months wasn’t enough.

At Julie’s, the kids threw themselves at their mother, then dashed out into the back yard with her giant dog.  Julie said, “It sounds like they still get along really well with Cerise. Not as much of an adjustment as when I married Mark.”

“Like a house afire.” But Brian remembered those ‘adjustment’ calls. Trying to calm Josh from four hundred miles away without denigrating either his ex-wife or her new spouse to the children they held between them.

“That makes what I need to tell you a little easier, I guess.”

“And what would that be?”

“This travel is bad for the kids, Brian. We need to make it stop. We need to change our custody arrangement.” A thousand protests rose into his mind, but before he could voice them, Julie continued. “Mark starts a new job in October. It’s all travel. We’ll barely see him. It doesn’t matter where we live. We’re moving.”

“Moving where?” Brian tried to keep his voice level, but he knew it rose.

“To Galveston.”


“If it wouldn’t make you and Cerise uncomfortable, we could even come to the same neighborhood. And I think it would be best for Josh to start the school year with you, even if Mark and I wind up living on the other side of town.”

Brian concealed his shaking hands by gripping Julie’s counter. The car seat. The luggage. Never again. In that moment, he loved his ex-wife more than he had for years before their divorce.

About jesterqueen:
Jessie Powell is the Jester Queen. She likes to tell you about her dog, her kids, her fiction, and her blog, but not necessarily in that order.


Carry Me Too Far Away — 27 Comments

  1. I love this story! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all divorces had this kind of an ending! The world would certainly be better for it! 🙂

    • I think a surprising number of divorced parents do put those needs first, although I fear they’ll never get the center stage they deserve.

    • It would be very cool indeed, though I think it happens more than we’re aware of. It’s just not the way that gets the most attention.

    • Oh very much so – and sometimes, you don’t have two reasonable human beings, as is the case here. Sometimes, bad for the kids or not, travel is the best option. If Mom works in one place and Dad in the other and neither can move, then the best thing is surely what this pair of exes has been doing, shuttling and longing. Sometimes, you have a parent who is literally fighting for the safety of the children, and the kids’ best interests mean isolation from an abusive figure. Other times, you have two otherwise good people who act like assholes and harm their kids in an effort to bandage their own wounds. Divorce is one of those — I think it was Tolstoy? — situations? Because the happy families are boring, but the torn ones are so much more writeable.

  2. Whew! I didn’t see that coming. Nicely done.
    It’s been my happy experience to witness friends and relatives doing just this – putting the children first – and seeing the results. Thanks for another grand story.

    • Indeed. I think in the long run that if parents CAN put aside their own hurts and work together to present a united front for their kids, it works out for the best all around.

    • Thanks! I wanted it to convey a sense of how tense things have really been for these two and how much Julie is really offering here. Even a year ago, I suspect that this wouldn’t have worked for this couple. But things have settled down so that as Julie’s family enters a transition, she can make a huge change and take a risk to make things work out better for the kids.

    • I think that’s what happened in his stomach, too, when she said we’re moving. I think he was imagining having to go to Europe every year and get his kids, or else instigate a hopeless court battle to keep Julie from moving. She really pulled the rug out from under him by offering to move CLOSER to him.

  3. I am happy for the kids, and for Brian. 🙂 I hope they can stay close to each other.

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  4. I’m commenting on your dog post of which I only received two (so far!) but both have disappeared. He looks absolutely adorable, welcome to your new addition! He rather looks like he has some Staffie in him from the pictures (I could see the post in my email but not on your site). Try carrots for the chewing. 🙂
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    • The e-mails looked fine, but then, they vanished online. No idea what was wrong, but I\’m having to startover with a new theme to fix it!!!!! Thanks for commenting. I\’m grateful to know I wasn\’t publishing into the ether!

  5. Oh my god! I loved this. Such a beautiful, heart warming story, without feeling too sweet or like I've heard it a million times. Just Beautiful.

    • Thanks! I always worry when I have a happy ending, especially in these short pieces. My instinct is to the broken and macabre, and I've had a couple in a row here where they all worked out happy. I always worry about going soft!!