Volume 41 ~ 2018
A Day at the Park
The tree leaves hang from their branches and into Monica’s sun-tanned face as she runs to her 3-year-old daughter. She scolds the toddler for running off to play in the sandbox, making the young girl guilty. The girl hugs Monica’s long legs. The mother puts a sympathetic hand on her daughter’s back, trying to make her feel better.
She excuses the three-year-old and picks her up, taking her to the swing set. After being put in a baby swing, Monica starts pushing it. As the toddler gets higher into the air, her smile grows bigger and a sweet giggle bubbles out of her throat. Monica’s joy is clearly expressed on her face with a grin. Her cheeks are rosy in afternoon sun.
When the swings soars too high, a high-pitched wail comes out of the toddler’s mouth, her eyes wide with fear.
Monica immediately stops the swing and comforts her daughter. She decides it’s time to go home after such a long day at the park. The toddler whines when taken out of the rubber seat, but Monica ignores it and puts her offspring in her stroller. She grabs her things and starts back home, the sun casting a shadow on the grass.
Old Man’s Living Room
When he comes in through the front door, tan paint greets him, along with a pile of beat up boots and tennis shoes by the left wall. On the wall to the right, framed photos portray his two grown-up children who don’t contact him anymore. In the smallest frame, he and his wife—who died ten years ago—stand wrapped in each others’ arms, acting like two kids in a world of carefree happiness.
He makes his way to the center of the living room, where a dark wood TV stand is in the corner by the big window. Although he does not prefer watching old Western movies on the television anymore, a flat screen TV that he barely knows how to use sits comfortably on its stand.
An unflattering green Lazy Boy sits by the half-wall behind him, where the man has made many memories that he sometimes wants to forget. The crack in the wall is still there from when his daughter threw a frisbee in the house. The patch of carpet by the TV stand is still missing from when the family got their new puppy. A side table is positioned to the left of the olive green chair with a few coasters that nobody ever bothered to use.
Unlike his chair, the couches are newer, but not by much. Two sky-blue couches that he’s been meaning to sell are lined by the walls on either side of the green chair. His wife claimed that they went well with the once navy blue walls of the living and dining room. Several pictures depicting their family adorn the walls of the room, slightly crooked.
Sitting in his chair, he grabs the remote on the side table. The house immediately fills with the sound of roaring laughter. Their old golden retriever stumbles into the living room from his bed in the dining room. The man glances at him, then turns back to the TV. The dog stubbornly nuzzles his owner’s pant leg. The man grumbles and gives the dog a small kick, glaring at him. The dog gives up, walks to the couch, and hops up onto the middle cushion to lie down.
The owner mutters to himself as he turns the volume to the tv up. He peeks at the dog out of the corner of his eye, who is looking at him with a sad expression. He quickly looks back at the television, trying to ignore the animal laying on his couch. The dog wines, craving attention. When the old man turns to the dog, he’s stricken with a feeling of warmth that he hasn’t had for years. He turns the tv off and gets up from his chair. The dog lifts its head, its ears perked up. A hand is placed on the retriever’s head, softly petting its fur.
Blue and Yellow Colorblindness
I can’t count sunflowers. They aren’t
the color of the sun. They are blue-stemmed
with pink petals. I can’t subtract
sky-blue tulips. They aren’t the color
of the sky. They are dull gray flowers.
I can’t multiply blood-red
roses. They aren’t the color of blood.
They are plants with layered pink hair.
I can’t divide pretty purple lilacs
they are never the traditional blue-violet.
They are dark magenta flowers.
I can’t see normal like you.
But I can touch the blue grass. I can
smell the pink honey from the salmon bee hives. I can
hear the leaves of purple trees rustling in the wind.
She is Free
I slip out of the car, ready to yell at the man for running in front of me. I stop when I see his face. The man’s eyes are red and puffy, his mouth an upside-down smile. His grey and brown beard is wet with once fallen tears. What I had first mistaken as a brown shirt is a small chocolate lab puppy in his arms.
“I must let her go,” the man says, looking down at the dog. My furrowed eyebrows turn back to normal and I unclench my jaw. The puppy whines and lets out a bark, wiggling out of the man’s arms and onto the road. Its long nails produce a scurrying sound as it tracks almost merrily into the pine trees that make up the forest. The man and I watch it until the puppy is out of sight. He inhales a shriveled breathe of forest air that smells of pine cones and lakewater.
“She is free now,” the mysterious man says. I glance in the direction the animal went. When I look back, the man has vanished and left me alone on the road.