I posted the following flash fiction as part of Siobhan Muir’s Thursday Threads last week. I hope you enjoy. 🙂
I closed the stock market application. Julio would stamp if not allowed to play, but I had seven monthly payments left on the replacement phone. The last, cracked by Julio’s over-enthusiastic pressing of buttons, had gone the way of his potty training chair. In approximately the same condition. Julio handed me a bedraggled maple leaf, pushing my fingers closed. I dropped the smeared mess and took out my handkerchief.
“We’re late,” I said over his protests. “Time to get you home before Shelli arrives.” Our baby-sitter had sworn to rush over. If I didn’t submit my report in exactly thirty-seven minutes, both Shelli and I would lose our jobs.
Julio wriggled out of my grasp. “For you,” he insisted, rescuing his treasure and forcing it into my grasp.
“Get in now!” I yanked him toward the stroller. Instead of obeying, my civil disobedient son fished the crumpled leaf from the ground and held it out to me. Before I could launch into a tirade against dawdling, Julio lifted his chin.
“Trust me,” he said, echoing the phrase I had taught him since birth. Trust me, there’s no monster under your bed. Trust me, Shelli will read you bedtime stories just like Daddy.
I glanced at my Rolex. Thirty-four minutes before my deadline, I opened my hand. Julio gave the multi-colored, tattered leaf as if crowning me king.
“Happy birthday, Daddy,” he said, and at last I understood. I sat him on my shoulders, hugging his legs to my chest.