My friends are all with me.
My friends are all with me.
Dad was taking me on a tour of Savannah, his hometown, stopping in front of a grand French-style home. Grand Historic Home – Tours Daily read the sign. A group of tourists milled about.
“Our family lived here for generations,” Dad said.
“Lived here? They were rich?” I asked.
“No, honey. They worked here. They were slaves, then, after the war, they were servants.”
I remembered the stories I’d learned in school. People in chains, treated as less than human, subjected to all manner of inhumane treatment. I stare at the tourists snapping photos and laughing, confusion twisting my face.
The last time, everything fit in three duffles. She was getting greedy. Robbing banks was just supposed to be a means to an end – a way for her to get enough money to move away from the podunk town where she’d been born and get out of marrying her childhood sweetheart. Everyone there had the exact same life. No one ever left. But she wanted to be different. She never thought she’d get addicted to the thrill. Now she was infamous, robbing banks up and down the Florida coastline, eluding the police. This would have to be her last haul.
She barely got all of her money into the duffle bags, she would have to count it later, then ran to her car, tossing the money into the backseat. She would miss the hotel. It was gorgeous, right on the water. Her favorite hideaway so far. As she drove away, four cop cars, sirens wailing, zoomed past her in the opposite direction. She’d left in the nick of time. The car would have to be ditched next. And then she’d start her new life.
“I can do this,” she whispered to herself, taking deep breaths as she retrieved the oatmeal cookie from the floor. She didn’t know it would be so hard just to get her son to talk to her. Her beautiful boy was trapped inside himself. He hadn’t spoken all day. With a smile, she held up a fresh cookie, kneeling next to her son.
“Darling, let’s try this again.”
The prompt for the Six Sentence Story challenge this week was can.
Zadie awoke with the sensation of tiny, prickly legs crawling all over her skin. Her throat was dry and her mouth tasted sour. Had she really gotten that drunk? The room felt suddenly cold. She sat straight up in bed, eyes wide, searching the darkness. Someone was in her room. She could smell them, hear their soft inhalations.
“What do you want!” She yelled in her meanest growl.
The person stepped forward, into the flimsy light shining through the windows from the street lamps. She could see their form, partially. It was a woman, with a face that was somewhat familiar.
“Get out of my house!”
“Don’t you remember me, Zadie?”
She stepped closer, and Zadie gasped. It was Grace. Her face was still scarred. Zadie stepped out of bed on the other side, putting it between them. She reached into her nightstand for her revolver, finding the drawer empty.
“What do you want?”
“I want what you owe me.”
Read Part 2 – Perfect
Miniature Writing Challenge – Today’s challenge is a tribute to childhood. Write a short story, poem or haiku about children, for children or about a childhood memory.
He kissed me for the first time under a tree that smelled of summer. We were both ten. It lasted a second, if that long, and we parted, white and pink petals raining down around us. I was thrilled and embarrassed and flushed red, letting out a tiny giggle as I turned and ran down the hill to my house. The next day, nothing had changed. He was still my best bud and I was his.
But today, as I watch my best bud marry his bride, a girl nothing like me, posh and upper-class, gracious and well-educated, under that same tree, our tree, I realize everything changed that day. But it’s too late. After the ceremony, I give him a kiss on the cheek and tell him I love him. He pats me on the back and says he loves me too, but I’m sure he doesn’t know what I mean. I skip the reception, and walk slowly down the hill again, reassured by the smell of summer in the air.
Seeing the familiar sunflower bushes that had grown outside the wrought iron gates since my childhood stirred up the familiar sensations of anxiety in the pit of my stomach. I kept these monthly visits with my parents short and sweet. I knew I was the black sheep, the youngest and least successful of the three children. A humble bartender, college-drop-out, living in a small apartment on the wrong side of town. Not married. I could hear their questions now. My stomach cramped.
At least my two older siblings wouldn’t be there. The golden children. I tried to avoid visiting when they would be here, but it still broke my heart a little that we weren’t close anymore.
“Mom!” I called out.
My mom was lying in bed, unheard of at 12 pm, her face bare with dark circles under her eyes, staring into nothing. I rushed to her side.
“Your father filed for divorce,” she told me in a hoarse whisper. I embraced her sadly, feeling the tension release.
The phone vibrated in her purse. Another notification. Celia had posted a gallery of photos on Facebook from her London trip. Nora scrolled through the pictures, trying to smile, but it still stung, that she hadn’t been asked to come. True, she probably would have turned them down- the expense, the crowds, the cold, it was all too much. In fact, she usually turned them down, but the truth was, though she’d never admit it, was that she liked to be invited. Why couldn’t they ever do something she could do? Something quiet and peaceful, affordable, less chaotic. Her friends were slipping away.
Nora crawled into bed, her phone still in hand. She commented under a photo of the Shard, London’s tallest building – Gorgeous! Glad you guys had fun! Lunch tomorrow? She put the phone on the pillow next to her and hoped for a response by morning.
Just hear me. I am screaming.
Enough is enough, Bree had decided.
“Where are we going, Mommy?” Five year old Cody kicked up the smooth rocks on the trail as he skipped along, holding onto his mother’s hand tightly.
“It’s a surprise.” Bree tucked one of Cody’s folded t-shirts deeper into her bulging purse. Her feet were already sore. She should have grabbed her sneakers.
“Antarctica?” Bree scrunched her nose.
“I want to play with the polar bears.”
“Well, it’s not Antarctica. I’ll tell you that. No other hints.”
“Well, I hope it’s Disney! I want to go on the Star Wars ride. Is it Disneyland, Mommy?”
I don’t know. I don’t know where we’re going.
When it was dark, with a sleeping Cody resting on her shoulder, her feet burning and bruised, Bree finally reached the Greyhound station.
“Two tickets to Los Angeles,” she told the attendant.
She imagined the light in Cody’s face when he saw the Star Wars attraction. The flash of the fireworks reflecting in his eyes. Their future was uncertain, but he would have that memory in his pocket forever. She laid him in the seat next to her and watched him sleep.
A collection of various things: hodgepodge, mishmash, variety
Transformational Coach. Motivational Speaker. Friend.
EDITOR | SENSITIVITY READER | LITERARY SEEKER OF GROWTH | CRITIQUE PARTNER | A FRIEND
A story is only as good as the storyteller.
Movie reviews every so often