Suzanne Burke chose this inspiring photo for this week’s Fiction in a Flash Challenge. Read the entries and join in here:
Meet You In The Middle
Today is the day.
Hardly able to hold my heart from clambering out of my chest, I pretend everything is normal when Mom calls me down for breakfast.
“I expect you to clean this house while I’m gone today, Samantha. If you’re in this house, you’re doing the work–got it?”
How could I not get it? She’d been driving my responsibilities down my throat since fifth grade. But it wouldn’t be for much longer.
Hugging that thought to myself, I smile and nod. “Sure, Mom. Will you be home for dinner?”
She gives me a suspicious look and crosses her arms over ample breasts. “Why? You better not be thinking of bringing that boy over here. I told you you’re not dating until you finish your schooling. Do I need to call your aunt to come over and watch after you?”
No! Why did she have to ruin everything? Ever since Dad walked out on us, she acts as though men have fleas or something. It’s embarrassing.
“There’s no boy, Mom, but if you want to take up Aunt Cathy’s day to watch over her sixteen year old niece, go ahead.” I hold my breath, praying I hadn’t overplayed my hand.
She stares a hole through my forehead, then releases a gusty sigh and turns away to pick up her purse. “You’re going to be the death of me yet. I gotta go or I’m going to be late. Behave. I’ll see you tonight.” She blows me an air kiss and hurries out the door.
A moment later I hear our old station wagon chug to life and I rush to the window in time to see her drive down the street. Five minutes later, I have the bag I packed earlier tied to the back of my bicycle and am ready to begin a new life adventure.
It takes almost an hour to reach the quiet country lane David picked for our rendezvous and the butterflies in my tummy have turned into stampeding elephants. I’d been so sure this morning, but now doubt has drowned out my excitement and I wonder if I’m doing the right thing.
David is so much older. What does he see in a girl who can’t even go out after curfew? He says none of that matters, he loves me. I love him, too, or I would never contemplate breaking my mom’s heart the way I know I will if I run away with David, like he wants me to do.
I stop and get off my bike, leaving it on the side of the road. A golden trumpet flower, my mom’s favorite, is growing in the ditch. It feels like a sign. Suddenly frightened, I scramble to pull my cell phone from my backpack. The screen screams that I’ve missed five calls from David. He left messages, but I ignore them, scared to hear what he says and maybe give in to what he wants.
Instead, I phone the one person I know I can count on, no matter what. “Momma, I made a mistake…”