Logan Thomas Patnode, Cranberry Lake NY
The Writing Contest for Young and Adult Writers
Runner up in Category: Creative Nonfiction
When I was three years old my parents got divorced and my mom,
brother and I were forced to move into a really small house on a
street called Mechanic Street. That wasn't too bad, except that
I didn't get to see my dad very often.
The little house was yellow with green shutters. When you walked
into the front door, you were in the living room. To the left of
the living room, the bathroom made a half-way wall that separated
the living room and the kitchen. That was a pretty interesting corner.
We had lived in the house for a few months when I began doing something
a little strange.
It was about seven o'clock one night when I did it for the first
time. I would stand looking in the corner by the bathroom.
"Hi," I said. Then I turned to my mom, who was sitting
on the couch, and asked, "Mom? Who's that man standing in the
corner?" She was reading and plainly not really paying attention.
"I don't know," she replied. I knew she wasn't paying
attention and decided not to question her further. I just stood
there staring at the corner.
Every night I would stand in the corner, staring at the wall. And
every night I would ask my Mom, "Who's that man standing in
the corner?" And, every night she would reply, "I don't
This went on for a few weeks before she got tired of it.
"Mom?" I asked. "Who's that man standing in the
"Logan," she said, "there is no on standing in the
"Then how come I can see him?" I asked.
"Alright, what does he look like?" she asked sarcastically.
"He's real tall, and has a big nose and ears. And he doesn't
have a lot of hair but it's gray," I replied. She just looked
at me, and then into the corner, and then at me again. Then, she
went back to reading. Every once in awhile she would look into the
"We're going to grandma's," my mom said one day. We went
to grandma's every once in awhile. I think she helped my mom cope
with the divorce.
It was a two-hour drive, and when we got there we had dinner. After
dinner mom talked to grandma in the living room, while grandpa,
my brother and I looked at old photo albums in the dining room.
When we came to an old black and white photo of the family, I grabbed
the album and ran into the living room shouting "Mom! Mom!"
When I showed her the picture I said, "That's the man in the
"Who is it?" my grandma asked. Mom showed her the picture,
and they both stared wide-eyed at it. Evidently, grandma had heard
the entire story.
The next morning we started for home and that night I said, "Mom,
the man is here again."
She looked in the corner, then said, "Ask him what he wants."
"What do you want?" I asked the wall. After a few seconds
I turned to my mom again. "He wants to know if you're all right."
She sat back. When she sat forward again, there were tears in her
eyes. "Tell him yes," She said.
"She said 'yes," I told him. I turned to face her and
said, "Mom, he's gone." She started crying.
It turns out that the man I saw was her grandfather. He died before
I was born, and I had never seen a picture of him, though I described
him perfectly. I never saw him again after that night, though I
looked for him many times. My mom always seemed better about the
divorce after that, and I was glad that he and I were there to help.