This is a response to my Flash Fiction challenge posted over on OSo40 (I have to start choosing shorter blog names!). The rules again, are really simple. Write one (more if you like) story of no more than 500 words. It must start with the sentence “I cared what she thought, so when she dared me I knew I was in trouble.” Then post the story on your blog (if you happen not to have a blog, then email it to me and I’ll post it here for you,) and link it back to the “Now Here This!” post on OSo40(which is what I just did). That’s it! The rest is up to you.
I cared what she thought, so when she dared me I knew I was in trouble. Tommy had said it didn’t matter, that she was just a girl and that I didn’t have to do it! But no matter what he said, the second that she had stood and said “prove it” I was sunk.
There I was standing on the wood shed with a towel tied around my neck. Rolled up in my back pocket was the latest issue of Superman for luck, while most of the neighborhood kids stood watching below. It had been just plain dumb to boast that I could fly, but I had wanted her to notice me so bad. My knees had banged together so hard, I was sure that all kids could hear them. I could see her standing right at the front of the crowd, arms crossed smiling at me with that “I told you so” look. Yep, she had noticed me all right!
Soon the chant “Jump, jump, jump” filled the air. I had been right on the verge of climbing down when the funniest thing happened, she smiled and winked at me. Without even a second thought, I marched to the other end of roof top and screaming like a banshee, I raced full speed back to edge and leaped. I flew for three whole seconds…then the laws of gravity took charge again, prematurely halting my flight and leaving me in a crumpled heap on the ground.
Everybody had scattered, wanting to be as far away as possible when the adults showed up. All except her. She sat there beside me holding my hand and telling me I was brave. That was the start of our life together, and for fifty plus years we shared our love through both the good and the bad. Together we fought and loved. Together we made a home and a family. Together we grew old and played with our grandchildren.
The cancer was a blow; we saw everybody we could but they all said the same. It had spread too far before we had caught it, so there just wasn’t much hope. But in her true fashion, she crossed those arms and said “prove it”. We fought the disease tooth and nail, and the Chemo and radiation therapy slowed it for a while, but for the first time in her life she was on the losing side. Finally it was too much to bear, and the doctors suggested we gather the family to spend as much time together as we could.
In the darkened room, I hear the nurse say it won’t be long now. My hand finds hers, and looking into her tear filled eyes we laugh about that day so long ago. She smiles, kisses my hand and tells me I’m brave. Weakly I nod, then closing my eyes for the last time… and I’m back on that wood shed, running, jumping, and this time I fly.