Volume 2 Issue 5: Sticks and Stones

Boxed Collection

Kelli J Gavin

Adam and John grew up in a small town, in a small neighborhood, in a small family. Adam was only 11 months older than John, but he never let anyone forget it. Their mother, Cindy, died giving birth to John. She bleed more than she should, and the doctors apparently tried to save her, but there was nothing more they could do. John had always been a melancholy child, even a bit morose. Who could blame him? Their dad John Sr. had told the boys that John Jr. being born was what killed Cindy. In a drunken rage, he had yelled, “You killed your mother just by being born! The doctor’s should have saved her, not you! I didn’t need another mouth to feed!” John was only 4 years old.

John always kept to himself. He had admired how Adam had always made friends so easily with the other boys and even the girls. During recess at school, it was always Adam who coordinated the racing games, two on two basketball, or four square. Adam had a wonderful laugh and an infectious smile. John felt happy just being near his brother. 

Adam was a natural athlete and joined track in 7th grade. John found himself with much more time by himself as Adam would stay after school for track and take the activity bus home each evening. John loved to read and watch TV after school when his chores were done. Mostly, he just tried to stay out of his dad’s way. He would quickly turn off the TV and race to his room when he heard his dad’s truck sputtering up the driveway. Dice and jacks, and army men and discarded comics could be found tucked in every crevice. Marbles and GI Joe action figures were stepped on in the night is John and Adam were not careful. 

When John Sr. became angry one night, he threw away every toy in sight. It didn’t seem to bother Adam. He played with friends and rode his bike when he was home. John was hurt deeply. Yet the lack of toys forced John to discover the amazing imagination he already possessed. Small, medium and large sticks and stones took the place of the toys he once played with. Small sticks were people. Medium sticks were trees. Tall sticks made houses and buildings. Small stones were animals. Medium stones were cars and trucks and big stones were hills and mountains to explore. Sticks and stones replaced his beloved toys. They also brought him so much joy. Joy that had never been experienced before. 

Adam stumbled upon a boxed collection under John’s bed one evening when searching for a discarded shoe. A smile spread across the brother’s face. Adam knew exactly why they were being stored in the box under the bed. He quickly pushed the box far under the bed as not be discovered by their dad. Adam loved his little brother John and knew this collection was to be protected.


Kelli J Gavin lives in Carver, Minnesota with Josh, her husband of an obscene amount of years and they have two crazy kids. She is a Writer, Professional Organizer and owns Home & Life Organization. You can find her work with The Inner Circle Writers’ Group, The Ugly Writers, Sweatpants & Coffee, Writing In a Woman’s Voice, The Writers Newsletter, Writer’s Unite!, Academy of the Heart and Mind, The Rye Whiskey Review, Spillwords, Mercurial Stories, 121 Words, Hickory Stump, Rabid Oak, HerStry, Ariel Chart, The Basil O’Flaherty, PPP Ezine, Southwest Media, Otherwise Engaged, Story Pub, and The New Ink Review, among others.

Find Kelli on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @KelliJGavin
Blog found at kellijgavin.blogspot.com

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