Welcome to Wednesday Briefs which is a feature on my blog where I share a piece of flash fiction for you, and link you to some other amazing authors.
I watched Cal leave, finding the table to be a little too big once he was gone. I flipped open my notebook that my laptop had been resting on and started scrawling down notes on the idea that he had given me. Art and photography were very much ‘my thing’, as soccer and anything athletic belonged to Cal. When we were kids I had an old point and shoot camera that took film and we’d spend hours in the woods behind my house hiking and taking pictures of nature—which often ended up being photos of my thumb or finger.
Even then I was drawn to Cal, in those days the feelings were simple. He was a friend and I really liked to hang out with him. It wasn’t until I was older that I pieced everything together. Then it was too late, I was so stuck on him that there was no way I would ever shake loose.
Thoughts of Cal and art swirled in my head, and I jerked when the alarm on my phone went off. I gathered up my things, and shouldered my bag. Starbucks had started to clear out, which was no surprise as it was dark outside, and a quick glance at my watch confirmed that it was past seven. I needed to get across town and pick mom up from her shift at the diner. My stomach growled, reminding me that I hadn’t eaten since lunch and I knew mom would be starving. I had parked down the street from Starbucks, my key sticking in the driver’s side lock before I wrenched the door open. Wedged my bag behind my seat and prayed that my truck would start the first time. Thankfully, the engine roared to life and I cranked the heat up and pulled out onto the main street.
I got to the diner a little while later, dinner in take out bags on the passenger side floor. Mom was waiting outside the diner, her hair down around her shoulders, arms crossed over her chest as she talked to one of the regulars. I pulled up alongside the curb, and she got in.
“Is that roast chicken I smell?” She smiled at me, locking the door and putting on her seatbelt.
“I’m sorry I’m late, I figured dinner would be welcome.” I said, putting the truck in gear pulling away from the diner.
“I wasn’t waiting long Logan.” She said. “How was school?”
“Okay, I guess.” I shrugged, chewing on my thumbnail as we waited for the light to turn. “Met up with Cal at Starbucks.”
“I thought you were going there to work on your paper.” She fixed me with a look and I shifted in my seat, tugging lightly on my seatbelt.
“He actually gave me an idea for a topic. I’ll have it done tonight.”
“You’ve been saying that for the past three days. Isn’t it due tomorrow?”
“It’ll get done, Mom.” I muttered, following the windy road through town. “How was your shift?”
“Busy,” She said. “Remind me after dinner to soak my feet.”
I glanced at her feet, knowing that the low heels were probably killing her. “I could pick up a part time job. You know to help out?”
“School is your job Logan.” She said. “We’re doing fine, with the diner, and the checks from your dad.” She reached out, patting my arm. “You don’t have to worry about anything but school and graduation.”
It was the standard response. I knew better than to push it any further. The only time I had ever seen her lose her temper was when I suggested that the child support check that my dad signed off on went toward household rather than into a bank account for me. Not that I’d use it anyway—as far as I was concerned Jeremy DuMont was nothing more than a sperm donor.
“You’re making that face again, Logan.” She poked my arm, hard enough to draw me away from my thoughts. “You are my child, and I promised you that I would take care of you.”
“Isn’t it a son’s job to take care of his mother?” I parked the truck, ignition still running.
“When he’s grown, yes, but I will always be your mother.” She said. “Logan, I’m not going to lie to you, things are tight, but we’re okay. The house is paid for, your truck is paid off, and your tuition is paid for. We have food on the table, power in our house and you have clothes on your back.”
“Your shoes are shitty.”
“Language young man,” She waved a finger at me. “I will get new shoes this paycheck.”
“I’ll hold you to that.” I muttered, turning the truck off, and got out of my seat. I walked around the truck and held open the door for mom.
She walked past me and disappeared to get changed out of her work uniform. I set the table, opening the containers of chicken and side dishes placing them on the center of the table. “Dinner’s ready.” I called back to her.
“Thanks, sweetie,” She said pulling me in for a hug. “How is Cal doing? You haven’t talked about him in a while.”
“We’ve been busy.” I said with another shrug taking my seat at the table. “He’s got his friends, and I’ve got mine.”
“You two are still friends right? You’re okay?”
“We’re okay.” I said, pausing to let her bow her head over her plate and say grace. “We just move in separate circles, and we don’t run into each other all that often at school.”
“I don’t want you to lose that friendship.”
“I know, momma.” I said. “I’ll see if we can get together soon.”
“Bring him by, I want a hug from him.”
“My hugs aren’t good enough?”
“Child, I get enough hugs from you. I want a hug from other people once in a while.”
“It’s okay, you don’t love me anymore.”
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