Day 315-Flash Fiction Friday-A Child's View

Cindy Lou woke up, climbed out of bed and after donning a romper, tip-toed out the front door, reveling in the feeling of the soft, cool grass on her bare feet. She had no cares about what might be in the grass, she was just a little kid. Flies and bugs didn’t bother her as she cartwheeled her way across the lawn. Mommy would be out here soon enough, bothering her to put her mosquito spray on, lest she got bites that swelled the size of fifty cent pieces.

Her dream, at the ripe old age of six, was to be in the Olympics as a famous gymnast. Mommy had enrolled her in a summer program where she and her big brother would get to go tumble and jump their days away while Mommy worked at the store. It was so cool, they got to have snacks when they took a break, and she could watch her brother do his exercises across the gym from where she and her group practiced somersaults and cartwheels. Cindy Lou loved every minute of it, almost as much as she loved going to school, but that was over for a while Mommy said, she would get to go back next year and start the second grade.

Donny was eight, he had been in gymnastics already for two years, he was so much more advanced than she, sometimes at home though, he would show her some of the neat tricks she would be learning if she stuck with it. This year, they would get to watch the Olympics on tv, the timing could not have been more perfect. Watching the others that were already living their dream, would inspire Cindy and her brother and make them work that much harder in the gym. Mommy said for them to have fun with it, just don’t get their hopes up, going to the Olympics took lots of money. Cindy didn’t understand any of that, she just wanted to tumble, run and jump her way through summer and do the best she could in her classes.

Cindy had a sweet coach named Brianna, she would gently teach her all the moves and then Cindy and her team were supposed to copy her. Once they completed all the exercises Brianna showed them, they got to jump in the foam pit. That reward was better than candy! They all loved jumping into the huge blocks of foam, bouncing around and then climbing out. They looked forward to doing it so much, they tried extra hard to performing the moves she gave them perfectly. If they performed well, sometimes Brianna would give them extra time to play around in the pit, or even let them jump on the trampoline. Man, she loved this place! Maybe some day, when she got really good, she would get to jump from the trampoline into the foam pit…that would be epic!

Cindy Lou looked up from her spot in the yard to see Mommy walking out the front door. “Cindy Lou, did you spray first young lady?” She replied, “No ma’am. I was just wanting to practice my cartwheels a while and I forgot, I’m sorry.” Mommy snatched her up out of the grass and inspected her legs. “Oh my goodness, let’s get you in the house before you swell up like a balloon! Just look at the welts already!” Cindy Lou knew what was coming next, a dose of that yucky medicine that made her super sleepy and pink lotion splotched legs for the rest of the day. Thank the stars it was Saturday since she would be napping pretty soon and thank goodness Mommy came out in time to scoop her up before she went into anaphylactic shock, she was allergic to mosquitos after all.

Day 263-Flash Fiction Friday-Finally Paradise

Photo credit: Unsplash

Sitting on the front  porch sipping a  delicious homemade lemonade Kendra thought to her self “now this is my idea of heaven.”  Looking out over the dunes she could see the waves slowly lapping  at the shore and felt such a sense of peace.  For the moment anyway.   In an hour all of their friends will be arriving, peace will be gone and in its place will be raucous behavior, game playing and partying on a level meant only for vacation.

Carl and Kendra had been anticipating this vacation for months and had made all the necessary arrangements, moving things around on their calendars and getting all of their friends to do the same so that they could all be together and enjoy one  blissful week in paradise. This was the trip they looked forward to every year,  only this year they decided to do something different and everyone agreed Hawaii would be the bomb. They decided on Oahu and rented two beach cottages at Kailua Beach that each slept four people. This trip was going to be epic!

It had been a monumental task getting four couples to clear their schedules, pool their money, and secure  the plane tickets necessary to get them to this place.  Upon arrival, Carl and Kendra looked around at the beauty of the palm trees and the never-ending ocean, the  turquoise water and white sugar sand, pinched each other and said “Yes this is paradise!”  Kendra was so excited to be here, they had worked so hard to earn the money – Hawaii is very expensive.  She knew it would be worth it to finally see the place of her dreams and was now ready for the fun to begin.

Walking back inside the cottage, Kendra began to prep the kitchen for guests, putting groceries away while Carl checked the status of the outside amenities. He needed to ensure the grill was working and the furniture was sturdy for their rowdy guests. Looking up from his task, he could see the beach was just a short stroll away from their cottage, all he could think about was getting done so he could head that way. Just the thought of fresh fish on the grill was making his mouth water and more than that, he was ready for an ice cold beer. Everything out back was ready, so he headed in to ask Kendra if she was ready for some beach time.

“I guess we could go for a quick dip before they get here” Kendra agreed, so they went to don their swimsuits and run down to the beach.  As Kendra was getting her suit on, Carl couldn’t help but admire her body. Some days he just couldn’t believe that she was really his, she was so perfect,  her body was truly a gift from God.  Kendra  caught him staring at her body and approached him for a kiss, the next thing they knew, they were tearing each other’s clothes off and ravaging each other on the bed. Kendra believed that vacation sex was the best.  It was probably best they take advantage of the time they had before the guests arrived.  Now that they had enjoyed the romp, they quickly re-dressed and ran out of the cottage and down to the beach.  Kailua Beach was rumored to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and looking around they saw it was true.

While Kendra and Carl were exploring the beach, Macy and Greg arrived, bypassing the cottage completely and heading down to the beach to join their friends.  They had purchased a rolling cooler and were toting their camp chairs. A few minutes later everyone was enjoying a cold one and laughing about how amazing this place was. There were so many people with sailboats and kayaks, yet there was plenty of room for them to enjoy some time in the water. For tonight they just wanted to relax and chill, there would be plenty of time for water sports tomorrow. Macy and Kendra took their beers and beach chairs down to the shoreline for some catching up while the water lazily lapped at their toes. Tomorrow the waves promised to be kickin’ but currently, they were calm. Kendra couldn’t wait to try her skills at surfing, Macy was more the “sit and watch” kind of girl.

Within the hour, they were joined on the beach by their other four friends, Jeff and Cheryl and Eddie and Beth, now their group was complete and Kendra really started to relax. “Who wants burgers and hotdogs?” Carl began to make his way back to the cottage, the rest of the pack following up the sandy pathway, hugging each other and laughing all the way there. Everyone separated to their chosen cabins to put away belongings and get ready for their first fabulous night in paradise. Kendra pinched herself again, just to make sure she wasn’t just dreaming.

 

 

Day 256-Flash Fiction Friday-Angels of Arvada-Part 7-Addiction

Weeks went by and Amanda heard nothing more from Julian. Saddened and a bit depressed, she decided to immerse herself in work and getting Ethan more involved with extra curricular activities. He was old enough now to start playing some kind of sport, and seemed exited about the prospect of soccer or T-ball. Night time was her nemesis, however, and given too much time to think, she found herself drinking more and more.

It had started so innocently, a glass of wine a couple of nights a week which turned into a glass most nights and then she found herself really pouring it on come the weekends. Sometimes, she and Sandy would go into town and have margaritas at the local taqueria, Los Gordos. These became more frequent the more Sandy saw that Amanda was pining over Julian. She thought she was helping her feel better, she was really enabling her addiction.

Amanda never saw herself as addicted, rather that she had a mild “drinking problem” and knew it was getting worse. To combat this, she busied herself and Ethan, getting him started with soccer since that was his choice, and tried not to think about Julian and got on with living. Life has a way of throwing you curveballs, however, and she kept finding herself in social and non-social situations involving drinking. She would take Ethan to soccer practice and next thing you know, she had a drink in her hand with the other soccer moms who hung out behind the bleachers. At night, she curled up on the couch to read or watch tv once Ethan was in bed and never realized how many glasses she drank before finally turning in herself. She never considered she was avoiding something.

Guilt is a strong emotion. Amanda felt guilty for even thinking about another man, much less lusting after him. She felt guilty that she didn’t give her full attention to her work, nor to Ethan, even though she was trying to do her best. She needed help, yet refused to ask for it. She was losing it, and needed a change, a change of scenery maybe or some new friends at the very least. She reached out to Anthony’s parents, but Mrs Clark didn’t really know what to say, she’d been known to tip a few back herself.

Then came the call she never expected and Amanda felt a ray of hope open up in her bleak existence. It was Julian! She didn’t want to appear too anxious or needy, so she tried to play it cool, once her heartbeat slowed a little. “Hey, what’s up?” Trying to sound nonchalant as she sat on the couch, gripping the cushion with her free hand to steady herself. Julian came back with “Oh, you sound busy, I can call back later if you like.” Amanda wasn’t about to let that happen but wanted to sound aloof, she replied “Nah, I’m just puttering around the cabin really, cleaning up before I take Ethan to soccer practice.” Julian chuckled and said “Well, I happen to be in town, maybe I could join you. I just so happen to have company, would it be ok if I brought her to watch Ethan practice?” Amanda thought, ‘Really, he wants to bring a date?’ then once she reconsidered she realized who he was talking about and said excitedly “Absolutely! She would really love to watch the kids I’m sure!” “Alrighty, then-when and where should we meet you?”

Amanda gave him directions to the soccer fields and hurried to get them ready. She felt a renewed sense of urgency and excitement and could not wait to get Ethan to practice. “Maybe this is just what I need” she thought to herself. Then, trying not to look like a typical soccer mom, she rushed around getting herself ready, freshening her makeup but not to the point of looking like a model or anything. Pulling on her best jeans and newest shirt, she donned her coat, grabbed Ethan and walked out the door to meet her date with destiny. Walking out on the porch, she was about to say something to Ethan when she felt what could only be described as a tug on her left arm. She had time to see the look of horror on her baby’s face, and then she never felt anything again. The bear carried her off and Ethan scrambled back inside and ran to call 911.

Fortunately, his mother taught him well, what with them living alone in the somewhat wilderness, and he knew this was an emergency and what he needed to do. As he waited with the operator on the phone until help arrived, he tried to be brave and not think about what he just saw. He knew his mom was probably gone, however, and panic started to set in. He answered the technician’s questions and she then realized he was all alone and sent CPS to the scene, along with the ambulance and police. Meanwhile, Julian got tired of waiting at the ball fields and could not get through on the phone to Amanda. He grabbed his daughter Lisa and together they headed for the cabin.

I sincerely appreciate all of you following along with this series and hope you have enjoyed it. If you would like to provide suggestions, alternate endings or chapter revisions, please let me know. I welcome all comments and feedback and may even compile the series into an ebook for publication. 

Day 235-Flash Fiction Friday-Angels of Arvada Part 4-Fed

Part 4

Fed

The sounds of scraping can be heard now as the man and a team he has rounded up are attempting to dig through the snow to reach the windows. Amanda runs to Ethan’s side on the window seat and watches as the men get closer to setting them free. Luckily, Her car is in the extra shed, so at least it was protected, even if it can’t be accessed right now. She hugs her son, relishing his warmth and remembers the fire needs to be stoked. Telling Ethan to stay put, she moves to put another log on and stokes the fire back to life.

Back at the window a few minutes later, she and Ethan sip hot chocolate as they wait for rescue. She hears a sound at the front door and goes to see what it is. “Hello?” comes a call through the crack. “Senorita? We will have you out soon. Stay by the window.” Amanda yells back, “Ok, thank you so much, what is your name?” She wants to make sure she gets it so she can thank him later for getting them out of their predicament. “Julian” comes the reply. “Alright senor, er, Julian…We can see you from the window.” She races back to Ethan’s side and watches for the man to show his face. There, she sees him wink from the top of the snow line, which is about halfway down the window now. Goodness, he is quite handsome, she thinks to herself.

Not that she is thinking of romance at the moment. A person can still notice a good looking man in any circumstance though, right? Sure, sure she chides herself. She feels guilty even having the thought, Anthony has been gone less than a year. Maybe it’s the shot of peppermint schnapps she added to her hot chocolate that is making her warm in places she hadn’t thought of in a while. Anyway, goodness! Amanda snaps out of it and looks around, thinking about what she can do right now, while they wait.  She needs to take stock of what they need, so when Julian reaches them, she can ask him to take her to get supplies. She can hear the sounds of snowplows clearing the roads now, along with all the scraping and digging outside the doors and windows. She thinks it’s about time, yet she is aware that avalanches and blizzards cause massive slowdowns, even in the best prepared situations.

By now, Ethan is hungry so she tells him to stay put while she goes to peel him a boiled egg, she at least had plenty of eggs on hand, some fresh and some boiled. She tries to feed Ethan a healthy diet most of the time, but can’t resist making him cookies every once in a while.  When she does, she tries to make them as wholesome as possible, with almond flour and the kind of chocolate chips that use less sugar. She throws in some nut butter too, usually sun butter but other times almond butter. Geez, she is becoming hungry herself, but she is loathe to leave the window for too long, in case they need her to open it from her side. She snags an extra egg for herself and hustles back to the window.

Ethan is excitedly bouncing up and down on the window seat, seeing the men have reached the window sill. Julian taps on the window and asks her if she can open it now. Amanda reaches up and unlocks the latches and tries to budge the window, it takes a few minutes and then like opening a new bottle of pickles, the seal breaks and the window is open, cold air rushing in from the outside. “Good morning eh, what was your name señorita?” “It is señora Amanda sir,” but added as soon as she saw his crestfallen look, “But I’m a widow now. That’s why my boy and I are here alone.” He replied, “Well, it’s very nice to meet you both. My team and I were checking houses along our service route and saw the smoke from your chimney. I was hoping you were alright in here.” “We’ve been better,” Amanda replied,  “it’s so nice of you and your team to dig us out! Let’s get you all in here and warmed up, hot chocolate anyone?”

Julian and his men carefully enter the house through the window and close it back again. In moments, they are gathered around the fire, sipping warm beverages and listening as Amanda tells them of the avalanche and how the last two months have gone. After helping her check the provisions, Julian sends the men to start working on getting the front door open so they can get them to a store for more supplies. “You really are a godsend Julian, thanks again, I don’t know how I’ll ever repay you.” Julian looks at them both and smiles saying “Just keep in touch, maybe we can go have coffee soon, I’d love to tell you about my little one. Ethan, you would love her, she’s almost the same age as you!” Amanda thinks to herself that sounds like a nice plan and excuses herself to go get ready to leave this cabin for the first time in months. Grabbing Ethan’s hand she says to Julian, “Be right back.” Julian smiles and nods, sitting back down by the fire. “I’ll be right here.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 200- Flash Fiction Friday-Gone Too Soon

Flash fiction is described as a short story between 300 and 1500 words.   img_0777 In light of that, and the recent events that have taken place, i.e.; my husband losing his aunt this morning, further complicated by an invitation to happy hour at Frijoles (thanks to my brother) my submission will be short…if not sweet.

Raking leaves was one of Millie’s favorite “jobs”, she loved to get a pile raked up and just as she was finished, her two brothers, Greg and Tommy, would jump in, spreading leaves in every direction. How could she know at the time, that her life would end the exact reverse of that, accumulating a wealth of love and knowledge, just to have it erased, bit by bit, until she did not even recognize her own two brothers, much less the well wishers that visited her at the nursing home’s rehab facility.

Millie’s life began in a small suburb of Houston, having been adopted by a couple looking to improve not only their lives, but those of the southwest area of Houston. One in seven hundred children in the US are born with Down’s Syndrome, Millie was one of the fortunate few. The Cowart’s other children, Greg and Tommy, seemed perfectly normal, except for their propensity for large leaf piles. Millie’s life was an also happy one, save for the difficulties those with Down’s syndrome experience, like the short stature, facial deformities and “accelerated” aging. Yet she got along with her brothers just fine, and they adored her in return, protecting her with a fierceness.

In her 26th year, Millie’s family started noticing a change in her, like the inability to locate everyday items like her hairbrush, or her beloved coffee cup. Before long, she could barely recall the names of her kitty cats, much less her important information-previously she could rattle off her drivers license at the drop of a hat. Her mother became more concerned when her appetite decreased and she cried all day for no apparent reason.

Unfortunately, Millie was all too well informed of the details regarding her disease, including early onset Alzheimer’s, therefore she had her parents secure a do not resuscitate order with her lawyer and physicians in charge of her care about the age of twenty. When the situation became so dire that Millie forgot how to eat, her parents sought the aid of hospice to make her comfortable and her brothers stayed close by in case she needed them. She was placed in a rehab ward of the local nursing home Healing Hearts Nursing Facility, where she received the best care possible.

Millie passed from this life to the next with her family by her side, flowers and balloons on the side table and shelves of her tiny room at the nursing home. She was 28 years young. Her parents knew how rare this occurrence was, so they set up a foundation in her name, hoping to educate others dealing with Downs’s Syndrome that the possibility existed for their children to become angels at an early age. In 1990, the Gone Too Soon foundation was born, Millie Cowart being credited as founder.

I Had No Time To Hate Because

by Emily Dickinson

I had no time to hate, because
The grave would hinder me,
And life was not so ample I
Could finish enmity.

Nor had I time to love, but since
Some industry must be,
The little toil of love, I thought,
Was large enough for me.

(Millie’s favorite poem, picked out by her and recited at her funeral by her brother, Tommy)

 

(This is a work of fiction, any similarities to events or real life incidents are purely coincidental)