Eloise stands at the window staring out
at Hump Featherstone sitting atop his tractor sniffing the wind. The corn at the edges of the field is brown
and withered and this reminds Eloise of her hands. She reaches to the window sill for her cream
and rubs some into her hands, absently smoothing away the
dryness. “The cricket song is slowing,
Jason. You know that that means.”
She turns and smiles at her grandson,
coloring at her kitchen table. Well, truth
be told, the child is scribbling: The sun is a mass of purple. The grass is red and orange.
Years ago, with her own children, Eloise
would have insisted the sun be the proper color. She would have told her children that the sun
absolutely does not have a smiley face and a fringe of yellow and orange and
red rays encircling it. Years ago, the grass
was supposed to be green and green alone.
She pulls out the chair to watch Jason
color the sky. She wonders whether she
made a mistake with her own children, insisting always upon the right colors, the
right words, the right manners. Now,
scientists and doctors, Eloise fears she’s destroyed the imaginations of her
children. They’ve forgotten how to dream
Suddenly she recalls the watercolor set
she bought a few years back. She put
them away because she never could get perspective right. She rises and heads to the hallway. She stands at the bottom of the stair. “Henry?” She calls and places a hand on the banister. She waits a moment before calling again. “Henry?”
Her husband appears. “I thought we weren’t to be
yelling in this house.”
“I’m hardly yelling, Henry.” She smiles.
“Besides I can’t leave Jason alone in the kitchen.”
Henry raises his eyebrows. “What kind of trouble can the boy get into,
outside of sneaking a cookie or two?”
She ignores this. “Do you know what happened to my old
“Watercolors?” He scratches his head, hikes up his pants,
and frowns intently. “I think you put
them in the shed with the easel. Shall I
have a look?”
“Could you? I’ll put on a fresh pot of coffee.”
He nods. “This for Jason?”
She feels herself blushing. “Well, no.
For me, actually.” She turns and heads
into the kitchen to wait, to avoid further questions. But already her fingers are itching. She makes coffee then turns to look at Jason’s
work. The clouds are feathered with pink
and blue like billows of cotton candy you can pluck right from the sky. She smiles at the purple sun; the orange
“Let’s put it on the fridge, to show
your momma when she comes to fetch you.”
Jason walks to the refrigerator,
solemnly selects a flowered magnet and posts his picture on the refrigerator.
Eloise hears the sound of tires on
gravel; Jack barks three times. “Sounds
like your momma’s here now.” She packs a
container of chocolate chip cookies into his backpack; helps him slip into his
“Hi, Lydia.” She smiles at her daughter.
Lydia looks at Jason. “You ready Buddy?”
“Look, Mommy.” He leads her to his picture. Points.
She frowns at her mother. “What’s
Eloise forces her voice to take on a
note of cheer. “Didn’t Jason do
beautiful work, Lydia?”
Lydia points. “But, Jason.
We just went over that yesterday.
Grass is green.”
Jason’s face falls. “I want to stay with Grandma.”
Eloise smiles. Too often parents see the mistakes of a
child. Grandparents merely want to
love. But this is a lesson Lydia must
learn on her own. “See you tomorrow
“Say thank you, Jason,” Lydia says,
ushering him out the door.
Henry returns from the shed carrying a wrinkled
grocery bag. “You’ve got cobwebs in your
eyebrows,” she says, laughing and reaching to pull at one.
“Did you find the watercolors?”
He hands her the bag; pours himself a cup of coffee. Sits watching her. “Well?”
He nods at the paper bag.
She removes the watercolors; pulls a
page from Henry’s coloring book. She
fills a cup with water and dips in the brush.
“Don't you need cream, Henry?”
“I’m fine, Eloise.” He continues watching.
She nods. Again, she picks up the brush; paints the sky a
For the Scriptic prompt exchange this week, Christine gave me this prompt: It's the end of summer. What comes next? Give us a story about transitions.
I gave kat this prompt: Tic tac toe.
Labels: flash fiction, scriptic.org