Last One In

Photo Prompt: C.E. Ayr

 

“They’ll kick us out!”

Darlene shook her head. “They won’t know.”

“Dad will kill us if we get caught.”

Darlene sighed. Shirley was such a wimp. Never took any risks. Never had any fun. “We won’t.”

Shirley peered out of the RV at the shimmering pool. Darlene never met a rule she didn’t want to break, and somehow both of them would end up punished. “It says ‘Guests Only.'”

“We’re guests.”

Without a permit. Shame rose like hot bile. They were always the ones without, the ones left out.

“C’mon then,” she blinked away tears. “Last one in cleans up!”

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

Should We Poke?

audience1 SmadarHalperinEpshtein

Photo: Smadar Halperin-Epshtein

 

Look at that thing

With the wings,

Can it fly

Or can it sing?

Should we poke it?

Better not.

Press the fence

That keeps out tots.

 

 

For the JusJoJan daily prompt

 

 

Maybe So

Photo prompt: Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

 

“I wish I could show you the Menorah, Papa!”

“I wish so, too, Leah!”

“Shall I describe it?”

“Oh please do!” he covered the mouthpiece and pressed his ear to receiver. It’ll be months before he’d save enough to hear her sweet voice again.

“We have white candles and the Shamash is melting fastest,” the child stared at her father’s photo, sent from far away. “I’ll use my new crayons and mail you a drawing! Maybe one day people will have special phones that will let them see each other!”

The fantasies of children. He smiled. “Maybe so, maybe so.”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

 

Wish Upon A Star

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Photo: Diego PH on Unsplash

 

I heard her wish

Upon a star

For what she hoped

Life’s tears won’t mar.

“May it be a

Stellar year,

Where future skies

Shine bright and clear.

Where truth holds sway

Where justice weighs

Where children can with parents

Stay.”

I heard her wish

Upon a star,

And prayed it echoed

Wide and far.

 

 

Thank you to the Ragtag Daily Prompt team for this apt prompt – I hadn’t participated as frequently as I might’ve wanted to, but I always enjoyed it when I did, and I hope to continue to do so in 2020. Also thank you all in this lovely WordPress community, for the many other prompts and company and comments and delight and creativity through the year! I’m so grateful! Wishing you all a happy, healthy, just, joyful, hopeful 2020, and may it herald a better decade than the one just closing.

 

For the RDP Tuesday Challenge: Stellar

 

Walk The Line

DSCF1300a

 

“He’s never going to make it,” Benji declared.

Shelly shrugged. “I think he can.”

Benji twitched in irritation. “Mark my words. He’s never gonna make it. Not after all the eggnog he’d snagged.”

Shelly sniffed. Eggnog? There was eggnog? He wanted some!

Tilly wriggled between them and squeezed herself onto the couch. “What’cha doing?”

“Nothing.” Benji huffed.

“Ignore Benji, Sis, he’s just being his grouchy self.” Shelly scooted over a bit to make room for their sibling, who was younger by whole two minutes and by that officially the baby. Well, till the next babies had arrived.

“What is he doing down there?” Tilly squeaked. “If Mama sees him on the floor in the middle of the living room he is toast!”

“He’s trying to walk the line to the other side,” Shelly explained. Toast? Why’d she have to mention toast? Now he wanted toast.

“He’s walking funny,” Tilly noted.

“Of course he is. He’s drunk.” Benji muttered. “Now hush.”

“Sorry, Benji,” Tilly demurred, but true to form could barely keep herself still for half a second. “His tail is droopy. It is all in the tail, you know. He can’t keep to the line if his back-end is all draggy. Hey, Giddy,” she called, her whiskers trembling in excitement, “you can do it! lift your tail! It’ll give you better balance! It’s my turn next!”

 

 

 

For Keith’s Kreative Kue #242

 

 

 

Ring-a-marole

 

“Why’d they do that?”

“‘Twas needful.”

Sheri twisted her skinny braid around her finger. It was the one benefit of having really fine hair. She could get it to loop five times while Marina only could loop hers twice. Long fingers helped, too. Marina’s were chunky. From Dad’s side. “Needful how?”

“Protect the tree, this does.”

“From what?” There was nothing in their end of the park.

“From whom, more like.”

Sheri unwound her braid and stuck the edge of it in her mouth.

“Mom doesn’t like it when you do that.”

“Mom isn’t here,” Sheri stated. Besides, her sister was just jealous because her own hair was too short to suck on. “Protect from who? And why?”

“‘Tis for me to know and for you to find out,” Marina regarded the ring of metal stakes, the tree, her sister’s face.

“You plain don’t know,” Sheri stomped, frustrated.

Marina smiled.

 

 

 

For Crispina’s CCC challenge #55

 

 

Apple Picking

apple picking SmadarHalperinEpshtein

Photo: Smadar Halperin-Epshtein

 

He saw the gnarled trunk and the orbs

Round

And red

And green,

Undulating in the breeze that

Caressed his cheeks and flipped the end

Of his shirt up

Cool

On his tummy

When he ran.

He heard the crunch of grass-blades

Succulent

Under the smooth soles of

His shoes,

Each step sinking slightly into the

Soft

Saturated

Ground.

The thump of apple

Fallen

Filled his ears,

Alongside his own breath

Fast,

Excited

In his chest,

And the sound of his family

Drumming apples

Into their

Rustling plastic bags

And creaky wooden crates

And pinging metal pail.

He smelled the crushed grass,

The too-sweet scent of slightly

Rotting apples

On damp ground,

And a whiff of the caramel

That promised

One on a stick

For later on.

He stretched

To reach

Around the fruit,

The sky in his eyes and

The taste of last year’s

Treat

Faint and candied

On his

Tongue.

 

 

 

For the dVerse challenge: senses

 

Dressed Down

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Photo: Marjorie Bertrand on Unsplash

 

He eyed her twirling in her tutu and his heart squeezed with longing.

He wanted to do that, too. It was not fair that it was not allowed.

That only girls could.

Be princesses.

Wear dresses.

Put on make up.

Play with dolls.

Paint their nails.

He’d tried, of course, but he could tell that even those who did not outright take things from him or forbid him or call him hurtful names, didn’t really feel comfortable with his choices. There was that look they gave, the forced smile, the way they inevitably ran out of patience and gave him “other suggestions” or directed him toward “trying other things.” He was given gifts that made it clear that what he’d asked for was not acceptable and therefore required others choose for him.

He could tell his parents were ashamed.

They loved him. He knew. But they didn’t quite love that part of him. The part that he loved in himself the most. The part that he hated. Sometimes.

It wasn’t even that he didn’t like sports, or climbing trees, or making mud pies. He did. It was just that those weren’t fun without adding a bit of dance, of looking for fairies amidst the branches, or pretending that the mud pies were part of a birthday bakery for princesses.

They kept saying how “wonderful it was to have such an imagination,” but their body language told him that they’d have much preferred if his imagination didn’t quite go where it wanted to. That they would have liked better an imagination of the kind they felt was more appropriate for boys.

“Do you want to be a girl?” his sister asked. They were in her room for a tea party. She was wearing one of her ballet-princess dresses and the full set of jewelry she’d gotten from Grandma just the other day. She let him wear the crown. They pretended this made him a princess, too, but they both knew she chose the crown because it would be easy for him to take down if someone walked in.

Or say he was a king.

Sometimes he envied her so much that it carved a hole into the center of his being. The ease and confidence with which she could prance around in rustling taffeta and glittery baubles, the smiles she got when she dressed up and smeared lipstick on her face … It hurt. It hurt. It hurt.

She let him into her world, but they both know that it was not his to live in. They both knew that when her friends came for a play-date he would be excluded. They both knew that even with no dress on, and with a crown fit for a king, at any moment someone might barge in, and frown, and find a reason to ‘redirect’ him.

Her question made him cry.

Because he didn’t want to be a girl.

He wanted to be a boy who liked playing with dolls and painting his nails and having tea parties and trying on dresses and decorating mud-pie cakes for princesses.

And yet … it would have been so easy. If he were a girl.

No frowns. No shaming. No overhearing adults talk of how he needed “toughening up” or was “too sensitive” or was “definitely gay-material” or “headed in the wrong direction.” Not having to know that Mom and Dad and Grandma and Grandpa were kind of ashamed of him.

“I want to be me,” he sobbed, and fingered a dress his sister discarded and that he would give his heart to be allowed to put on without fear. “I just want to be me … and I don’t understand why it is wrong.”

 

 

 

For Linda Hill’s SoCS challenge: dress

 

 

Protector Squared

Blanket guard NaamaYehuda

Photo: Na’ama Yehuda

 

He will guard it with his presence

He will goggle eyes at you

If you dare come too near

To

This blanket square

That your fingers and soft yarn

Conspired for a little one’s doll to

Darn.

 

 

 

For Becky’s October Squares: Lines&Squares

 

 

Quite Out of Yellow

busy cooking SmadarHalperinEpshtein

Photo: Smadar Halperin-Epshtein

 

“Mama, we are quite out of

Yellow

And down to the last

Red.

I’ve used up all the

Orange

And can’t use green

Instead.

We must head to the

Market

Where there’s so much to

Get.

I cannot cook this salad

If

Colors aren’t all here

Yet!”

 

 

 

For the Tuesday Photo Challenge: Groceries