Imperfect Love

He had heard it said that happy families are all alike. They are warm and safe, an environment that people want to be in. He scoffed to himself because that wasn’t true. Not that his was a happy family. Happy families tend to lose their warm domesticity when the husband has been labeled a Ponzi-schemer.

Under normal circumstances, Everett Jones’s family would have been happy. Even after he was a wanted man, he told himself his wife and daughter could live a normal, if detached and roaming life. “I’m not in trouble, we’re just on vacation.” he said as the three of them clustered around a small campfire away from the city.

His scheming mind fought with his conscience, trying to justify his actions. But within his own mind was the only place he was justified, and a chorus of sirens screamed out all around them in the night. At the same moment, flashing lights lit the night on fire, and tires screeched over the earth. Cold, merciless handcuffs were latched onto his wrists, and he was pushed into the back of an armored car, leaving his family to stare after him in teary-eyed shock.

***

The outcome of the trial was a foregone conclusion. The hate in the jury’s eyes scorched Everett’s back through all the proceedings. They weren’t about to allow the next Bernie Madoff to tarnish the world as a free man. When questioned about his motives, he said nothing of his sick daughter, instead saying simply, “I did it for me.”

***

He was terrified of prison. His entire body shook as he was loaded off the bus, clad in orange, chained at the ankles to a line of criminals. He shouldn’t have been there. He wasn’t like these people.

He was served lunch on a tagged steel plate, heaped with unpalatable gruel, and left to find a seat amid the gangs in the mess hall. As he made his way timidly to a vacant corner, someone abruptly stood and turned into him. Their trays clattered together and their clothes were smeared with food. Before he even understood what had happened, Everett was on the floor in agony as a mass of bodies pummeled and kicked him. A whistle sounded dimly over the racket, and through wincing eyes, he saw several pairs of boots rushing toward the crowd.

***

“What have they done to you?” his wife whispered into the phone.

She was staring at Everett through the thick glass partition in visitation. His face was discolored and swollen, with two lines of stitches along his scalp. He said nothing into his end of the phone, joined to his wife’s side of the glass by a cable. He simply bowed his head as he was racked with uncontrollable pains throughout his head and torso. In a way he was glad for the spasms; they helped to hide the fact that he was weeping.

***

Everett died in that prison, alone, terrified. He was stabbed to death in a gang brawl he had no part in. Mrs. Jones was sitting on a park bench when she got the call. The phone slid out of her grip and struck the ground as she held her face in her hands and wept. A ways off, her daughter played gaily on a swing set. After a time, Mrs. Jones raised her shining eyes to her daughter. The girl’s multi-million dollar treatments had worked, and she was now in remission. She was her father’s legacy, alive now because of his imperfect love.

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11 thoughts on “Imperfect Love

  1. I liked how I became like the main character of everyones story. I also liked how you described the bruises on his face.
    I would suggest changing “daughter” to “dollar” in the second to last sentence.
    Good Job Phillip!

  2. I liked how you didn’t just say Everett loved his daughter but proved it through his actions. It was kinda sad how he died at the end but it added to the overall mood.

    I would suggest telling us about what the dad did just so we aren’t left wondering.
    great job as always:)

  3. Avi Hurst says:

    I liked- the descriptions of all the small things and that you didn’t outright write that the characters felt such and such.
    I would suggest- saying how the mom didn’t/did know about his dealings because what did she think her husband did as a job. And I was curious on how the prisoners got hold of a knife. Altogether it was good story!

  4. Aww! this is so sad! I really liked your last paragraph where you described Mrs. Jones crying over the loss of her husband while her daughter happily played on a swing set unaware of her father’s sacrifice. That really concluded your story perfectly and left me sitting here crying (well…almost haha). I would suggest mentioning the girl’s sickness sometime before you say it during the paragraph about the trial. That would just help emphasize that Everett was sacrificing himself for his daughter and was not just some awful criminal. Good job, Phillip!

  5. I liked your vocabulary, it was perfect. Also the last sentence was inspiring.
    I wondered what the lie was. Was it the fact that he didn’t mention his daughter in court or something to do with being a Ponzi-schemer? Just making that more clear would be good.

  6. I liked the way you changed a lot in the part we did in class, to put it in your own words but to still keep it recognizable. I also thought the last paragraph was fantastic and pulled the whole thing together.
    I suggest maybe adding something before the part done in class, to make it clearer about his daughter’s disease and to introduce the story better.

  7. kchick316 says:

    I liked that you didn’t tell us why the man did it. That really made the ending worth it.
    I would suggest describing more of how Mr. Jones family was with him in prison

  8. shreddedwheat2013 says:

    I liked that he didn’t mention his daughter in court
    I would suggest maybe having a little more of the story spent in his cell

  9. I liked how you tweaked what you wrote in class.
    I would suggest telling us what Mr. Jones did to get put in jail.

  10. Beautiful line: “His scheming mind fought with his conscience, trying to justify his actions. But within his own mind was the only place he was justified, and a chorus of sirens screamed out all around them in the night.” I initially that the sirens are all in his mind, which would have been cool too. Bernie Madoff– yes, a serious writer will research (unless you just knew). Either way- kudos. I like the mute, misunderstood, Christ-character that you’ve created here. The theme of sacrifice can be the most powerful. Have you read A Tale of Two Cities? There is a nice little moment like this.

  11. Sorry I’m so late commenting!

    What an emotionally gripping paper. I liked how well written it was. I also liked how the main character had good intentions and wasn’t just a dirty crook. The whole misunderstood sacrifice thing was really well done.
    I would suggest putting a little more backstory at the beginning, maybe before the part you wrote in class?

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