Mother loved Louisa best. Once again, Louisa had successfully convinced Mother to blame Gemma for one of her own infractions, sending Gemma to her room without dinner. “I don’t want to see you again until morning,” Mother had said, clutching Louisa, who’d stopped fake-sobbing long enough to stick her tongue out.
Gemma opened her bedroom window and let in the sweet summer air. She listened to the sound of her friends playing, families laughing, food sizzling on backyard grills. She grabbed her sketchbook and pencils, gifts from Dad, and let her mind run free.
I’ll never forget my first trip to Costa Rica. The rain forest. The lush landscape. The gorgeous tropical birds, dashes of bright color weaving through the trees. I’d been there to volunteer, to help others, but ended up falling in love with a beautiful local boy, Marco. How handsome he was – coppery skin darkened by the sun, dark curls falling into his oversized deep brown eyes. We spent that summer together, but my home city, work, responsibility, all the trappings of adulthood, called me back. I never saw him again.
I’m standing next to my husband in an ornate restaurant, surrounded by our family and closest friends. It’s our 25th wedding anniversary. My daughter, visiting from college, beams at me from her table. My husband is giving a speech about how blessed we both are to have found our perfect match. “We never do anything halfway,” he says, as our friends chuckle. I smile and nod and laugh at the appropriate parts, but I’m not really there. I’m hearing the call of the birds, feeling the balmy breeze in my hair, as Marco slips his rough hand in mine and leads me to the ocean.
I open the back door and step onto the deck, the sticky summer heat moistening my skin, and step gingerly into the refreshing, frigid, pool. My mother insists that babies are too young to swim; I didn’t learn until I was in my twenties. I clutch my six-month-old daughter to my chest, her head resting in the crook of my neck, until the water is chest-level. I carefully let her go, my arms outstretched to catch her, just in case. Fearlessly, she ducks her head underwater, her tiny legs fluttering like a bird’s wings. I dive under and rise to meet her under the rippling blue surface, kissing her cheek.
The Six Sentence Stories prompt this week is Deck.
The theme for the Miniature Writing Challenge this week is Fairness & Justice. Write a short story, poem or haiku that would express your interpretation of this theme.
“It’s not fair!” The children shouted in unison, banging their fists on the desks and stamping their feet, filling the classroom with sounds of chaos.
“Why did Priscilla win 1st place for her project?” Bobby asked, standing up from his seat, crossing his arms over his chest defiantly.
“Sit down, Bobby!” Ms. Vaughan commanded. When he complied, she continued. “I thought Priscilla’s project was the most creative and showed the most attention to detail.”
The last bell rang. Once the classroom was empty, Ms. Vaughan slipped off her shoes and put her feet up on the desk. Bobby’s project really was better than Priscilla’s. But he was a little smart-mouthed brat, always giving her a hard time. Until he adjusted his attitude, he wouldn’t be getting any prizes from her. Priscilla made her job easier. She unwrapped a chocolate from her secret stash, looked out the window, and counted the days until summer.
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.