Last post of 2022! I thought about doing a kind of wrap-up, but I’ve actually done quite a few summaries of what I’ve done over the year, and progress is rather nebulous and inconclusive on a lot of projects, so I’ll leave it at this: a lot was accomplished, but not a lot finished.
Next year will probably be even more chaotic, since I’m in the throes of planning my November 2023 wedding. We’ll just have to see what kind of writing gets done. So instead of a summary of what I did, or a plan of what I’ll do, here’s a quick flash fic to close out the year.
I have a box of writing prompt doodads, and I plan to go through them and see what ideas they spark. Today’s post comes as an idea from the Box of Prompts. I plan to use these to jumpstart creativity and stretch myself a bit. Today I’m using three sticks with sentences on them, chosen randomly. The prompt is:
First sentence: “I was dressed in a completely inappropriate shade of pink.” Nonsequitur sentence: “On the following Friday, we packed our bags and planned our escape.” Last sentence: “the day her mother slapped her face.”
I was dressed in a completely inappropriate shade of pink. Like, seriously. Who would want to wear a dress that bright when going to the birthday party of an older girl? Twelve year olds didn’t have to wear fluffy dresses, either. At eight, I felt like a four year old. Jenny was nice enough, but she was my big sister Ellen’s friend, which meant I was stuck being the tagalong. Perhaps the vibrant pink was meant as a warning signal, like the poison frogs of the Amazon? “Don’t interact with this kid, she’s too crazy and little.”
Or perhaps it was more like a peacock, meant to draw attention. I was not the only child with a vivid dress. A friend of Jenny’s had a sister, Kiara, garbed in a bright yellow. Drawn together by the colors of our dresses, we talked and chattered and generally complained about our families. By the end of the party we were fast friends, bound by a promise to meet up at school and figure out how to escape our silly older sisters and mean parents who forced us to wear babyish clothes.
Meeting in school was difficult. We only shared one class: choir. Initially the teacher had us at opposite ends, but we finagled our way through until we met in the middle. After that, the difficulty was talking right under our choir teacher’s keen ears. Gradually, we hedged our way back to the far edge, and our friendship bloomed in quieter climates.
Both of us remained unhappy with our lives at home, and so we plotted to leave. On the following Friday, we packed our bags and planned our escape. I was excited, since I’d never made it this far in the planning process before. My mom always shut it down well before I could have gotten far enough to pack my things, but there I was, all ready to go.
We both made it to the halfway point between our houses before we were caught. When I heard the shrill noises of anger, I cringed.
But it wasn’t my mother. It was Kiara’s.
I’d never met the woman before that day, and almost immediately my child senses knew something was wrong with this woman. A cold chill ran down my spine. It didn’t take long to be proved correct, because she screamed at Kiara and then slapped her full across the face, knocking her to the ground.
This was the point where my own mother entered the scene. To my child eyes at the time, it was the sheer force of her righteous fury that shoved the other woman away, but in reality it was probably her hands. She pushed both of us girls behind her and began to scream, long and loud, and it wasn’t long before the police came.
Chaos reigned for a long time after that. Turned out that Kiara had reason to be afraid of her mother, while all I’d been fussing over was a loss of ice cream. She joined our family for a while, until her father finished the divorce. Two sisters was better than just one. Even after she went home, we remained sisters. All from the day her mother slapped her face.