Janet, Siblings Babysit, and a Note About Loss
A Story in 100 Words
(inspired by the prompt Write something based on the dialogue “Where does this lead?” “Nowhere good.” from Writer’s Digest’s 28 Writing Prompts for the 2022 Flash Fiction Challenge )
The girls tumbled downstairs, all ponytails and pajamas. A dissonant, dynamic choir, they talked and laughed as one. The girls encountered Janet, already on the couch downstairs. “You started without us!” The girls couldn’t hear what Janet muttered. They flew to her feet and to either side of her, excited for the movie, puzzled by their host. Janet sat among the girls like a lone egg in their nest of chatter and Chapstick. They looked to one another and then to the screen. Janet hardly moved but to chew mouthfuls of popcorn. “Where does this lead? Nowhere good,” Janet said.
A Personal Note
My family is experiencing loss. The next few days are uncertain. My husband is with his terminally ill father in another state, and I’m wishing my three kids and I could be there with him. But functionally, piling a toddler and two other kids into a hospice house doesn’t make any sense. We would be at best a temporary comfort, at worst a complicated distraction.
I’m thinking of my husband and his loss. I’m thinking of my nine-year-old and seven-year-old and how they’re processing it. I’m hoping I gave them the right amount of appropriate information. I’m hating that I’m not with my husband right now.
The other night, for the first time in years, my husband and I watched an entire episode of a show start to finish, uninterrupted. It was the last episode in the series “Limitless,” the show where Chris Hemsworth attempts extreme experiments. The episode was about aging and death, and it was wonderful. I can’t stop thinking about it. I aspire to think of aging as a goal. Right? To age means you’ve achieved something many, many people do not. I aspire to shift my thinking about the body. The body isn’t failing, it’s aging. To accommodate the aging is, maybe, the task.
My kids and I will wait here at home. We’ll keep going to school, reading books, talking about death and dying, taking baths, brushing teeth, asking about grandpa. When it’s time to go, we will.
Another Story in 100 Words
(inspired by the prompt Write about a dream coming true from the same source as above)
Bill pushed the diaper at Sharon. “Your turn,” he said. Sharon eyed their baby brother. “Either change him or clean up Mama’s room.” They weren’t allowed in there, but the baby wandered in when they weren’t looking. Babysitting wasn’t easy. She gagged, dealing with the mess. “Mama thinks only girls do this stuff. Boys do, too. First time ever for you.” “You always do it first,” Sharon said. “You always make me!” Mama appeared at the door. “Sharon! How helpful you are.” Sharon beamed. “You two keep watching George. I’m going to my room for a bit.” The siblings froze.
Thank you so much for reading. I’d love to hear from you.