Thursday, July 02, 2009

Writing Prompt, July 2: A Summer Word

Pick a word that captures a feeling of summer. Write about it. Here's something I wrote in a prompt workshop. Some of you have heard it. My word: Dawdle


I watch the two little bodies walking down the beach at the water’s edge where the sand is cooler. I can see their shoulders held back, proud of their solo mission, big girls off alone without an adult. As they blur and become dots in the mirage of summer heat, I gaze farther down the beach at their destination, the little gray shingle box of a store, its blue postage size flag rippling.

I imagine their joy at entering that odd little room with its saggy wooden floors, the screen door that slaps shut, and its short shelves holding only the necessities—a few tubes of toothpaste, the package of Oreos, Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup, paper towel. And at the far end, the magical Mary Poppinsish penny candy counter with glass jars of Mary Jane’s, Hershey Kisses, Reese’s cups, candy cigarettes, Tootsie Rolls and Airheads.

Before they left I reapplied sun screen to their freckled pink faces, insisted they wear long tee-shirts over their swim suits, tucked their salty hair behind their ears, and plopped their pastel baseball caps on their fair heads. Each girl clutched a quarter in her fist.

They will return, waving their little brown bags of melting chocolates and sticky wax papered treats.

My last words to them, these little girls aged eight and five, after promising a swim when they get back, the last words I say to them are, “Don’t dawdle.”

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