I decided to join in the fun over at r.e.h.'s place. He's come up with this great game where he gives us pictures that represent different aspects of a story, then we write the story. He explains it a lot better than I do, and you can find the rules here.
So, here we go!
One Little Leaf
Samuel should have been working on his homework, but he was having a familiar daydream instead. He was running through the wet sand, his feet slapping against the receding wave as it tried to drag him into the ocean with it. The sky was as wide as the ocean he was running next to and all of his worries were gone. He had never even been to the beach, but he just knew that if he was there, running on the sand, he could forget about the cramped two bedroom apartment he and his sister, Abigail, lived in with their mother or the bully, Frank, who stops him on his way to school to pick on him just for the hell of it or the hours he waits for his mom to get home from her job.
He knew she hated her job. She only took it to support him and Abigail after their father left. She was so tired when she got home that he didn’t want to bother her with helping him with his homework or talking to her about Frank. Samuel knew that if they could just go to the beach, his mother would forget all her worries, too. Maybe she could relax and smile again. It had been so long since she had smiled.
The thoughts of his mom brought Samuel back to real time. He finished the last of his multiplication tables then went to the bedroom he shared with his little sister. It had an invisible line drawn down the middle by the separation of girl’s stuff and boy’s stuff. Abigail’s side was pink with Dora the Explorer and baby dolls around, while his side was darker with Transformers and race cars. He reached under his bed and took out the box of treasured objects. He ignored the ribbons for science fairs, the pictures of his mom and dad, the birthday cards from some grandmother he never met, and picked up the small, hardback book about sea shells that his mom had given to him for his birthday. It was the first birthday without his dad, so she had made it a big party to try to make up for it. They had been at the park for his party, and in a puddle of water there had been a leaf. There weren’t many trees in this park—it was mostly sand and gravel around a swing set and a jungle gym—so he guessed that’s why it caught his attention. It was a very pretty golden color and a lovely shape with no tears or nicks in it. He had carefully picked it up and dried it off with a napkin before putting it in his book about shells.
Now he sat on his bed, opened the book, and held the leaf tenderly in his hand. He thought about the birthday without his dad and the promise about going to the beach some day that his mom made when she gave him the book. She talked about how he and his sister would jump and run in the sand. And he remembered the far away look in his mother’s eyes and that she was smiling.