With ketchup trickling from her broad grin, his daughter looks like a cheerful, diminutive vampire.
The food is too fast, the street is too crowded, the fireworks are too loud. She is loving every single minute, and her mother will be furious.
Both of these things give him deep satisfaction.
Tamsin wishes she wasn’t too cowardly for fireworks and broad grins.
Her tiny fingers, entwined in mine. Soft. Delicate.
Her nod, a whisper, “It’s time.”
A click as the switch is turned off. Then…?
Darkness. No light, no tunnel, no welcome home.
Terror envelops me; tears begin to fall.
Just a fading whisper: “They never would have believed you, anyway, Mommy.”
Anita Reynolds is a writer and artist, wife and mom in the rural reaches of Tennessee. Her work is inspired by the strangeness of life, from the mundane to the magical.
A gentle breeze made its way through the cemetery trees,
and her hair.
She stood shocked among the sea of people, watching her mother descend
into the ground.
Disease or not, this reality hadn’t set in.
That’s when she realized: secretly, every daughter hopes their mother has to bury them.
James P. Spitznogle is an aspiring writer from the green hills of West Virginia.
“Don’t stand too close to the counter, or a spider might come bite your toe,” she tells me as I get ready to wash the dishes.
“Are you serious?”
She stops and gets that real hard thinking look in her eyes.
“Nah. If you wear sneakers you should be fine.”
Valarie Bradshaw is a nomadic mother who just graduated from college and spends her days in her pajamas writing all the stories that swim in her head. Her family is very patient.
She’s practiced all the maneuvers and feels ready for everything. “Tower, ready for takeoff.”
“Cleared for takeoff.”
The controller glances at another: “Think she’ll be next?”
Wheels roll, wings rise, the sky opens, and heaven and earth release their graces.
Astonished, her late mother surrounds her, smiling.
MJ is an aviator, author, and speaker on ways risk and fear can work to our advantage to dream and explore. She is preparing for suborbital space flight and researching ways to improve astronauts’ long-term space missions.
Do you want a girl this time? they all asked when the fourth grandchild was on the way.
It really doesn’t matter, and we know what to do with boys.
When she was born after a long labour, it was just relief.
But when we met, I was bowled over.
Ann Sangwin is a retired teacher, now a career grandmother. She has written all her life but until recently has not thought of submitting for publication. She lives in Kent, where she recently joined a writing group which has changed her life.
Today my father is teaching me math.
He takes me down to the beach and shows me a grain of sand.
After I’ve counted for a while, I notice my father’s shadow stretch and begin to disappear.
When are you coming back?
Look, he says, just keep counting.
Cathy Ulrich had to go to the beach once. It was terrible.
“What do you think about him dating your little girl?”
“My little girl isn’t little anymore. You can take care of yourself.”
“Thanks for the vote of confidence.”
“Don’t be sarcastic with me, Jennifer.”
“Call me Jenn, Dad.”
“I named you Jennifer.”
“Mom named me Jennifer. You wanted a boy.”
An avid skier and hiker, Kevin Sheahan has an M.F.A. from Southern New Hampshire University, and is now pursuing an M.Div. at Reformed Theological Seminary.
She literally stood on her head trying to impress Dad enough for one sincere compliment.
But he just smiled and said she was “gym-nasty,” so she jumped off the balance beam and tackled him and they both laughed, and he still didn’t seem to understand why she practiced so hard.
“How will the end begin?” my daughter asked me one night. “And I don’t want you make any jokes about the letters ‘T’ and ‘H’ or tell me I’ll find out when I’m older or change the subject!”
Just then, a billion trumpets sounded.
“Whoa,” she said. “Never mind, daddy.”
This story is based on a title suggested by @stealingzen.