My blog will be taking a turn as I post new styles of writing. Today I am posting a short fictional story. Follow my blog for future stories, nonfiction reflections, various styles of poetry, and more. I welcome your feedback.
Previous blog posts were long and cathartic. Slowly they will come down. I may edit the content to release again in smaller segments, but only if they are worthwhile to repost. I enjoyed the process of letting emotions go and appreciate those who read, followed, and offered encouragement. I look forward to becoming disciplined in my craft. While I’ve been away from my blog, I’ve been working to become an active listener; speaking less and absorbing all God has presented me to process. It has been a good season with awareness there is always room for improvement.
Thanks for following along!
Ruthie flopped on the trampoline mat like a wet sponge and released a huge grigh—something between a furious groan and a heavy sigh. “If this is what being ten is like, I want to go back to single digits!” she yelled. No one was around to respond to her frustration so she rolled on her side and curled into a ball, trying hard to cry. If she could shed a few tears, it might take the edge off her exasperation.
Ruthie was a strong-willed girl with a high capacity to keep her emotions bottled up. Her dad perceived her struggle and knew she had a creative mind. He suggested Ruthie imagine the hurt coming from the inside out with each tear. Wiping them away with her sleeve was her way of erasing difficult emotions from her heart. Today she felt hopeless but was only able to squeak out a tiny tear. Ruthie stretched out on her back with her arms spread as far to the sides as they could go. She stared at the blue sky, watching the clouds slowly drift by on the light breeze. The tall trees formed a canopy around her, and the sun tried its best to break through the branches to brighten Ruthie’s freckled face. The trampoline was her place to burn off extra energy, but today she found it to be a place of solace. She watched the clouds drift by like sailboats on the water and soon found unique shapes passing by like floats in a parade. Occasionally, a butterfly or bird entered the picture, like bright confetti contrasting the blue and white background. Ruthie had been on the go for so long, she hadn’t taken the time to simply be still. Maybe this is what being ten could be like. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad.
Ruthie hadn’t been alone. Her father was reading a book and enjoying the light breeze from his rocker on the screen porch. He had heard Ruthie and her sister bickering earlier, but decided it was time to let them work things out on their own. He often mediated their arguments, hoping to keep peace in the house. Ruthie came late in life, so her father had a soft spot for his baby girl. Now that she was ten, it was time to give her emerging wings room to spread. Even though Ruthie wasn’t able to muster a tear, her father found himself wiping his cheek with his sleeve once or twice. Ruthie’s sister had a strong will too and her words could be quite vindictive.
A few years older than Ruthie, Sarah had new hormones that she hadn’t learned to manage yet. Their father thought it might be best to clean up the wounds after the spat rather than come between his strong-willed daughters in the heat of a dispute. Today, the battle didn’t last long and he carefully watched Ruthie from afar. He planned to give her some time before he set his book down to approach the trampoline. He often stood at the edge, not to spot her from falling but to catch the feelings Ruthie let go with each jump. It was the best investment he had made, cheaper than hours of therapy.
Ruthie’s father eventually closed the book and set it on the stump next to his rocking chair. He quietly walked into the house to be sure Sarah was descending from her latest emotional flight. She was singing along with her radio so it was safe to assume she recovered from whatever turbulent spell she had encountered. Most likely, Ruthie simply entered her room without knocking and caught Sarah off guard. Ruthie adored her sister and enjoyed hanging out like they used to. But the years that separated them were much larger than Ruthie could comprehend. Several years before, Sarah was 7 years old and went on her first sleepover just a few houses away. Ruthie showed up with her pillow and asked if she could stay too. Their father knew the age gap would someday disappear. He simply had to guide them through their days at home before they would appreciate each other as much as he did. Their father was a patient man. He was a widower doing his best to raise young girls with the same spitfire that attracted him to their mother. He trusted they would become capable women, like their mother, if he could simply give them the tools to channel their determination for the good of others rather than themselves. Today was a day he prayed more than he spoke, hoping he was doing more good than harm.
Father approached the trampoline without Ruthie knowing he was near. She was still mesmerized by the clouds and flickers of sunlight peeking through the trees. Father crawled onto the trampoline mat and lay on his back next to Ruthie. They didn’t say a word for a while, simply appreciating the gentle breeze and the undeniable peace that saturated the moment like morning dew. Ruthie scooted closer to her father, resting her head on his outstretched arm. Her father asked, “Have you ever pictured yourself jumping so hard and so high that you clear the tops of the trees?” Ruthie giggled and exclaimed, “All. The. Time!” She rolled over and curled next to his side. “Sometimes I imagine that I jump and don’t come down. I jump up to the sky to where Mom is. She grabs me by the hand and we fly around. She shows me all the things she has discovered since she’s been gone.”
Ruthie’s father closes his arm, bringing Ruthie nearer to him. Her head rest on his chest and he quietly says, “That is a beautiful picture, Ruthie.” Wiping a tear with his sleeve, he whispers, “I might have to join you on your magic trampoline more often.”