For my tenth birthday, I helped my daddy string flower lights through the trees and around the back deck. We laughed and joked and had mama yellin’ at us cause it was takin’ so long. A bunch of family came; people I don’t really know or care about. I was allowed two friends, but honestly, the only person I wanted was daddy.
He stood at the barbeque grilling my favorite cheeseburgers. I watched the sparks fly into the twinkling flower lights and thought it was the perfect day of my whole life.
Two days later daddy left. He was wearing his uniform when I came downstairs for breakfast and I noticed his huge duffle back sitting by the door. Tears welled in my eyes and I ran to him and threw my arms around his hips. “I don’t want you to go,” I said.
“I know sweetie pie, but I’ll be home soon. You’ll see.”
I don’t know what he meant by soon, exactly, cause another birthday is coming up and he still isn’t here. We talk to him sometimes and get letters, but it isn’t the same. I catch mama cryin’ in her room, and sometimes I go to her and she wraps her arms around me and we cry together.
Daddy didn’t have time to take down the lights before he left, so I spend a lot of afternoons out back, staring at those lights. Sometimes, I squeeze my eyes tight and wish daddy were home, just like I was wishin’ on a star.
My birthday’s coming up. I can’t help but think about it as I’m out back after school trying to do homework. I look up at the lights and smile, thinking about last year and daddy. Just then, I hear the best sound I’ve ever heard coming from behind me.
I think for a minute it can’t possibly be daddy, so when I turn, my eyes are closed cause I just can’t bear to look. When I open my eyes a tiny bit, I see him and run, tears streaming down my face. He’s standing under the flower lights when I wrap my arms around his hips and squeeze tight.
“Daddy, you’re home!”
The rules for Sunday Photo Fiction are to create a story/poem or something using around 200 words with the photo as a guide, although it doesn’t have to be center stage.
I haven’t posted anything for this prompt in a while. I always plan to, but Sunday comes and goes and I always feel bad I missed it. This time, I was determined to sit down and write something and I was shocked at how fast this one came together. I’m a bit over on the word count at 370, but I’m hoping that’s okay.
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