“It’s on the table.”
Everything in the house had gone quiet, so when Grandma CeeCee’s voice called out to five-year-old Shay from the room at the end of the hall, it sounded as though she was standing right beside the girl. This startled Shay for a minute and she glanced back over her shoulder to see if the old woman, who smelled like mothballs and mint gum, had followed her. Grandma CeeCee sat in her big red chair most of the time, calling to Shay’s mother in a loud voice about how she couldn’t get up so “could you do this for me?” But Shay had seen her hobble to her feet more than once when she wanted the jar of icky black licorice sitting on the kitchen counter.
Now she wanted the key to something called the “filing cabinet,” and Shay was the only other person in the house.
On stockinged feet, Shay wandered across the yellow kitchen floor. She could only just peek her nose over the table if she stood on her tiptoes.
Pulling out the nearest chair and climbing up onto it, Shay’s legs wobbled as she steadied herself on the stuffed vinyl seat. She could feel it deflating under her. Bending at the waist, Shay stretched her arms across the flowered tablecloth. The glaring white of the midmorning sun sparkling off the keys where they glittered in the clear glass dish in the middle of the table. Her hands fell short a few inches from the bowl. Breathing deeply, Shay stretched farther, pushing off from the seat with her toes.
She didn’t feel her feet sliding out from under her as they slipped across the vinyl. Reaching with all her strength, Shay gave one more push.
Suddenly, the chair disappeared and her body dropped to the table. The hand closest to the bowl struck the rim and the keys soared out, clipping her on the side of the head. A slight pain bloomed to life there as she heard them land on the ground with a jingle.
Pulling her arms back, she touched the spot and felt a thin line rising up where the keys had struck her. As soon as she’d noticed this, she realized that there were more spots where she hurt, too: on her belly and on the tips of her toes.
The tears came quick. They started as a low moaning in her throat, but the more she thought about the pain she was in, the more she hurt. Sitting down on the chair and holding the side of her head, Shay forgot about the keys and cried into her shirt. Fat, pearly tears rolled down her cheeks and made large splotches on the My Little Pony design.
“Shay!” Grandma CeeCee called.
Shay hadn’t heard Grandma CeeCee running down the hall until the old woman’s giant bosom engulfed her head in a bear hug that smelled like mothballs.
“What happened?” CeeCee asked. “What’d you do, darling?”
“Fell,” Shay muttered into her t-shirt, her head somewhat stuck under CeeCee’s chest and arm.
“You did what, now?”
Shay sat up some more. “I fell! I hit the table and—and the chair and—and I dropped the keys—and—“
“Oh, you’re fine, sweetie,” CeeCee said with a laugh, rubbing Shay’s tiny back. The girl was so small that CeeCee’s whole hand could span the width of it. “And here, look,” her grandmother said, picking up the keys from the floor. She rattled them between her fingers. “You got what I asked for!”
CeeCee paused for a second. Shay sniffled a bit, pushing her thin hair out of her eyes and running her hands across her wet cheeks. She felt her grandmother’s hand leave her back and saw it reach over the table for a napkin. The rough paper scratched Shay’s soft skin, but her grandmother’s hand was gentle as it ran over the small cut on the side of Shay’s face.
“Just a scratch, nothing serious. You had me worried, you little goon! I thought something horrible had happened to you. I heard you all the way down the hall,” CeeCee said. She kissed the top of Shay’s head with a loud, wet smack of her lips and helped her granddaughter off the seat. “Now, c’mon with me. We’re going to open us up some filing cabinets and get you some nice red licorice as a treat.”
Shay walked back to the living room holding her grandmother’s hand. When CeeCee pulled the plastic jar of treats down from the shelf by the mantle, she smiled, all of her minor hurts gone.
Shay really liked red licorice.
Prompt: It’s on the table.
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.
As usual, the pictures aren’t mine unless otherwise stated. 🙂