Kimberly Gould’s Picture Choice:
Title: Summer Heat
“Mo-om,” Tyler whined. “Let’s go.”
“Just wait,” Mary shouted back from the next room. She continued to load sunscreen and snacks in the kitchen while Tyler was already in his shoes, hat on, pulling the door open.
“You wait right there!” she warned, but the screen door was already banging shut.
Mary sighed and sagged. Where was Matt when she needed him? Why did it have to happen now? It was the first day of summer vacation, and as always, Tyler was waiting to go to the amusement park on the edge of town. Today would be the first day all the rides were open. Matt was as eager as his son, traipsing to the car and calling for her to hurry. He would keep Tyler excited but contained until she could get everything together. This summer, there was no one to help her.
The fan in the window gave a shudder, blades emitting a grinding noise before stopping entirely. The sweat that had broken out on Mary’s lip collected and dripped to the corner her mouth, tasting salty. Then the tears came loose. How was she going to fix that? Matt would be able to take it apart and repair it. She would probably have to buy a new one, if she could scrape together the money. More salt gathered along her lips and she covered her face, grieving again for the husband who went to work and didn’t come home. She’d gotten life insurance through his employer, but most of that had gone into the house, dropping the mortgage enough for her to manage while working. She had never planned to be a single parent and it was wearing her down faster and harder than she could have guessed.
“Mom?” Tyler asked. coming around the corner. He ran to her, curled on the floor and wrapped his skinny arms around her. He was only eight, but he had learned to recognize these signs quickly. “Mommy,” he murmured, hand stroking her hair and back just as she had done when he was smaller. “Daddy is waiting for us. He’s going to be there, you know.”
She sniffled and kissed Tyler’s cheek, hugging him tightly enough to make him puff out his breath. It cooled her sweat coated throat. Of course, Matt looked forward to this as much or more than Tyler. If his spirit was anywhere today, it was on the roller coaster, just waiting for them to get there. Rising to her feet, she slung the bag over her arm and took Tyler’s hand. “Of course he is,” she assured him.
As if in answer to her prayers, rain clouds came and shadowed the horizon in the far distance. They’d come in just about the time they finished at the park.
Like what you just read? Have a question or concern? Leave a note for the author! We appreciate your feedback!
Kimberly Gould is the author of Cargon: Honour and Privilege, and it's sequel Duty and Sacrifice. She can be found most places as Kimmydonn, including Kimmydonn.com