In response to Story Challenge in 99 Words – Hosted by The Carrot Ranch Literary Community April 25, 2022
They’re up and away. Old, young, professionals, the sick. All of them were innocent, including her.
What would they think if they knew what she’d done? What would they do? It truly was an innocent mistake, but that was no excuse. She was a grown woman, an adult. She should never have let it happen. But she did.
She watched the mass escape, beautifully terrifying against the clear azure sky of her homeland. How many would make it?
She hefted her backpack. Setting out on foot, following the balloons; wondering if she’d make it and if she wanted to.
Do not misunderstand or misinterpret the title of the prompt and one of my younger sisters in the photograph with me, in the wrong way. My sister is a grown woman now, with a lovely grown daughter who has two beautiful teenage step-children, bless her. They live up in the Atlanta area and I, of course, reside down here on the southern coast of North Carolina. I do miss seeing her and them, but this post is not about that.
This is about things I do not miss, so here we go. I do not miss being a little girl and constantly being compared to my middle sister. Though I am the oldest, I was compared in a not very favorable way to her.
Examples: “What happened to you? Someone beat you with an ugly stick?”
That was my uncle, who would then turn to my beautiful, green-eyed platinum blonde sister and lavish praise on her for the rest of his visit. I stood back and watched, looked in the mirror and silently agreed with him. I held no ill-will towards my sister as it wasn’t her fault. However, the feelings I held towards my uncle were, less than flattering. This is something I do not miss.
“Why can’t you do your hair like your sister’s? Hers is so pretty and looks so finished. You look like you went through a clothes dryer Ami!” That was my father. My hair is wildly curly, fine and naturally fuzzy, no matter what I do to it. As we matured, my sisters hair grew longer and brighter and smoother, quite beautiful. She allowed no one to touch it and if by chance one did touch it; watch out for the meltdown, after which she was coddled by both parents and I was admonished for upsetting her. This is something I do not miss.
In school I was bullied mercilessly, this is something I do not miss. Although I’d love to come face to face with some of them now. I think they’d like to forget afterward too!
I do not miss the sadness and grief at the passing of my grandparents and much later, the passing of my own parents. I do not miss the pain experienced at the passing of beloved friends and treasured pets.
Because I do not miss these sad feelings, the overwhelming feelings of grief and despair, the lack of confidence and isolation, I’m able to survive. I’m able to thrive. Because I do not miss these things but remember them; I can look forward to and relish the things I will miss one day.
lovely woodpecker’s rat-a-tat-tat heralding spring
He shows up every morning, tapping and tapping without fail. His little red crest bobbing to and fro; he’s putting on quite a show. Not looking for food, no not this one, a girl of his own is what he wants and soon.
So, early in the morning and sometimes at dusk; my little friend is out there making a fuss. Night turns into day and day to dusk and the little red-crested woodpecker never gives up. The days grow warmer, the days grow longer. Fragrant flowers bloom around him and then; two red-crested heads bobbing together – they’re making a lovely nest!
The little girl from two campsites down ran up and asked if she could pet my dog. My sweet girl sat quietly beside me, until I told her she could go say hello. Upon being verbally released by my voice, my sweet girl slowly lifted her huge one hundred and twenty-five pound body off the ground and approached the visiting girl; who now stood stock still with her eyes wide and her mouth frozen in a silent “Oh.”
I explained that my girl was very gentle and loved to be scratched under her chin and behind her ears. When the little girl didn’t move, my sweet girl promptly laid down, rolled over and presented her tummy to the little visitor.
They became fast friends after that. Whenever the child came to visit, my sweet girl would lay down immediately, so her little girl friend could scratch her belly while sitting on the ground beside her.
It was on the third day the little girl asked what kind of dog my sweet girl was, because she’d never seen a dog so big before. I explained that she was a mix of a domesticated wolf and a domesticated dog. I used the word domesticated only in explanation to her that none of the animals involved came from the wild.
For four solid days the child came and spent hours sitting with, petting and playing with my sweet, gentle girl. On the fifth day, the child did not visit but, I could see their very large, brand-new RV was still parked in its camping spot.
Around mid-afternoon, however, I did have some visitors. Two police vehicles and one animal control truck rolled up in front of my camper, blocking my drive. My sweet girl and I were inside my camper, eating our lunches. The knock on my old steel camper door was none too light.
It was the animal control person who asked me to step out of my camper, which I did. She asked me if I was housing a wolf in my camper, to which I answered truthfully, no. Then she said they had a report of a dangerous animal being kept on my premises illegally.
I calmly explained that I owned a very gentle female five year old wolfdog, whom I had owned since she was five weeks old. I also explained that I lived in my camper 24/7 with my sweet girl and the campground and surrounding camp residents knew about and loved her.
I was asked to show them documentation of her vaccinations, and any licenses I carried. I allowed them to look over all of my sweet girls legal documents. When they finished scrutinizing those, I showed them her Canine Good Citizenship Award as well as her graduation papers for completing puppy and then advanced obedience training.
By this time the two policemen had gotten out of their cars and were petting and playing gently with my sweet girl. An hour later the legal entourage departed satisfied and all smiles.
Two hours after that, I had packed up my RV, disconnected all my hook-up’s, filled my propane and gas tank, emptied our waste tanks and my sweet girl and I were on the road, again.
Prologue: Adding a picture of my “little” girl upon request.