You push away. I come closer.
You push away. I come closer.
Your kiss is poison. I’m falling.
Dinner served. Wine poured. Empty chair.
Her voice caught. He walked away.
Read Part 1 – Wallflower
Read Part 2 – Smoke
There was much debate and discussion about who actually started the fire, as I would read in the days and weeks that followed. Delia and Tiff had been partying in the garage with the two burnout guys they’d brought with them. As they went into the house, Delia told investigators she flicked a cigarette butt into the garage. They concluded that the cigarette butt had been lit, making contact with something on the garage floor – gasoline more than likely, causing the explosion. But there were others, wannabes looking for a few moments of celebrity, who believed that the fire was started deliberately. There were so many theories. Tommy did it because his family was broke and needed the insurance money. It was a stranger that wandered out of the woods, some weirdo who just liked watching things burn. It some weird initiation ceremony gone wrong. Only I knew the truth.
My lungs filling with smoke, I crawled from the bed to the far window, which was slightly open. I could hear them outside.
“What did you do?” Tommy was asking someone in a rough whisper. Someone, a girl, was crying, whimpering like a child. “What is wrong with you?!” Tommy persisted.
“I just wanted to burn her stuff,” Laura sniffled. I felt around on the floor, in the smoke-filled darkness, searching for the bag I brought with me, finding nothing.
“You are such a psycho.”
“I saw you go into her room!”
“It was nothing! She was passed out the whole time.”
“I love you! You’re supposed to be with ME. Not her.”
“So you took her bag, set it on fire, and threw it into the garage?! That makes total sense..”
“I didn’t want her to find it!”
“So, you threw it in there where there’s gasoline and tons of other crap and decided to blow us all up because you were mad at me…”
“Shut up!” Laura whispered loudly.
I heard more voices now, the others must have found them. Charles and Meredith were arguing, Delia and Tiff and the burnouts were slurring in the background, the jocks were yelling, their brash voices rising above the fray, Cat was crying.
“Where is Casey!” Cat was screaming over and over, her voice gaining urgency.
“Who cares?!” That was Meredith. “She should have gotten out like the rest of us…”
“You know she couldn’t have! She could still be up there! Passed out!”
“Do you see this house?! NO ONE is getting back in there! Do you want to die?!”
“Are you crazy! We can’t just leave her in there…to…to…”
“Do you want her to come out, Cat? Really? And figure out that you set her up?”
I heard Cat’s tiny whimpers, but no more protests. She’d given up. I had no time to wallow and mourn our friendship, a shared world destroyed in a moment of cowardice. I had to get out of that room. I kept low, coughing, my chest exploding, feeling the rough carpet against the bare skin of my calves as I dragged myself across the floor. I reached up to open the bathroom door and quickly kicked it shut behind me. I stood with some effort and peeked out of the one window, which faced the opposite side of the house from where Tommy, Laura and the others were. The lights of the fire flashed red and golden from the opposite wing of the house. It wouldn’t be long before the very spot where I stood would be ashes. I pushed the window open and leaned outside, knowing what needed to be done. I stood on the ledge, then jumped into darkness.
“Who in the world could that be?” Samantha wondered aloud, her face scrunched. She and John had been in the middle of complimenting their daughter, Violet, on the remarkable improvement in her attitude and behavior. She’d gone from a sullen, silent teen hiding away in her room to a delightful kid who practically begged for work to do around the house, particularly yard work, in a matter of weeks. Just that weekend alone she’d pulled all the weeds, helped cut the grass, swept the porches and even cleaned the gutters. John and Samantha had decided she deserved a raise in her allowance. Their unexpected visitor had interrupted before they could tell her the good news.
Samantha followed John to the door. “Can we help you?” John asked the short, red-faced man on their porch.
“Yes! Teach that daughter of yours some manners! My son tells me she’s been looking in our windows…”
“Now, hang on a second!” John yelled back.
As the men continued to argue, Samantha thought about the family who’d just moved in next door. The handsome son who was about Violet’s age, maybe a year or two older. How Violet’s interest in yard-work had coincided with their arrival.
She heard the familiar sound of Violet’s angry footfalls on the steps, culminating with the loud slam of her bedroom door. It appeared things were back to normal. Samantha sighed. It was nice while it lasted.
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.
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