Copyright © 2013 C.L. Mannarino
All rights reserved.
Shay sat on the front porch of the duplex, swatting mosquitos from her arms and listening to the end of the baseball game where the boys—Clare’s dad, her brother Buzz, and Steve from next door—were listening to it in the living room. A low moon hung in the sky, basking in the sun’s fading pink light. Down the road, a few cars drove past, their tires hissing along the gravel. When the sound had passed, she stood up and carried her empty lemonade glass to the screen door.
Shay turned at the sound of a young voice. Her goddaughter, Morgan, twelve and pink-faced with the day’s humidity, ran up the lane. Her white sundress billowed out around her waist and bare legs in the slight wind. She kept looking over her shoulder.
“Are you leaving?” the girl asked as she thumped up the stairs, pushing tendrils of brown hair away from her sticky face.
Shay nodded pointing her glass at the living room window. “I told my father I’d be out of here just after dark. He thinks I won’t be able to drive to Franklin in the dark.”
Morgan blinked at her, confused. “But that’s only two hours away.”
Shay nodded again. “And it’s all highway, but you’ve met my old man,” she said with a small laugh. “He’s getting senile in his old age. He can’t find his way down the hall in the dark unless we leave a nightlight on for him.”
Morgan grimaced and looked at her feet. Shay could see the small bulge of her budding breasts through the dress’s top and it struck her how, even at Morgan’s tender age, she managed to continue grasping at a childlike innocence. Part of her thought it was sweet—the longer they stay young, the better—but a bigger part of her worried. She and Clare, Morgan’s mother, both hoped that Morgan’s innocence wouldn’t leave her vulnerable to the boys’ advances.
“I wish you would stay,” Morgan said to her toes. “Your visits here never last long.”
Only then did Shay realize that her goddaughter’s feet were bare. She bent down a little and put a hand on Morgan’s shoulder. Shay could already feel her hand beginning to stick to the girl’s sweaty skin. “Has that ever kept me away?” she asked.
The corner of Morgan’s mouth quirked in a smile. “No.”
Shay straightened up and pulled Morgan into a hug. As the sounds of a cheering crowd crested on the TV, she pulled away again and waved the girl inside the house. “I’ll be back in two mornings. I promise.”
Morgan stuck out her pinky finger and Shay wrapped it with hers, where they held it for a second. A dimple formed in Morgan’s cheek as she smiled. “Okay.”
A moment later, the pinkies were dropped and Morgan was hopping back into the house, the screen door slamming behind her. Picking up her purse, Shay started down the porch stairs.
“Where are your shoes?” she heard Clare ask her daughter, her voice echoing in the foyer.**
Prompt: Where are your shoes?
In one sentence is the spark of a story. Ignite.
Mission: Write a story, a description, a poem, a metaphor, a commentary, or a memory about this sentence. Write something about this sentence.
**I apologize for the roughness of this story. It’s completely unedited and it’s not much of a story because I wrote it in a rush, but I wanted something semi-love-related for the upcoming Hallmark holiday. As usual, the picture isn’t mine.