When I got home that night, I noticed the smiling jack-o-lantern in my front yard was crushed.
And I was as crushed as the lantern. Yes the pumpkin had gone way beyond its life expectancy. It was wrinkled beyond recognition, the flies had long stopped buzzing around it. The flies had moved on, it was my turn. This was our last thing. Our last project together. Was I ready to move on?
Were the neighborhood kids teaching me a lesson? Bobby was gone, and I knew they missed him as much as I did. The crazy ball games on the street, and the late night popcorn story telling were everybody’s favorites. Was I crushed beyond repair?
I picked up the pieces, and piled them by my doorstep. I could still hear him laughing as he went on and on about the character inside the pumpkin wanting his own life. Begging for his own life. The crackling voice he made “Give me life Bobby! My fate is in your hands,” he said over and over again carving out the toothy grin. “My fate is in your hands,” became his mantra. He took on different voices, placing the pumpkin in front of his face, “my fate is in your hands!” We laughed. He had me dance with the pumpkin. Made me promise to give him life.
We naturally decided the pumpkin was a he, but we never gave him a name. He was just Pumpkin. I pulled the trash bin by my front door and looked at the dismal pile of decayed pumpkin at my feet. I was ready to move on. But I didn’t use the trash bin. Instead I dug a hole in my garden, and buried Pumpkin in a shady spot. I made a promise, and I intended to keep it.
To this day I still carve a new fresh pumpkin every year, always Pumpkin’s offspring. And I silently laugh inside giving each new jack-o-lantern a new story, a new character, a new voice. Bobby lives on.
I published this on medium.com from a writing prompt. I read the prompt, opened a window, and wrote this story. I have never lost a living child. I don’t know a child called Bobby. I don’t even know if Bobby in this story is a child, or potentially the narrator’s lost mate. This is purely fictional. I’m not keeping the medium’s blog platform.