Flash Fiction

(The word pearl was a prompt given at a writing session. A strong female character came to mind and her story enfolded.)


The last time I saw her, she was young; youth sparkled in her eyes. Now the sparkle is gone, the jade blue color diminished by time; her convictions etched in lines across her face. Her once narrow nose is broader, broken from standing up for others. Her chest sunken with anger, not there the first time we met.

“Pearl is that you?” I inquire.

She strains to turn towards me, her range of motion greatly compromised.

“Yes, I’m Pearl,” Her voice recalls dignity, and she pauses to ask, “Have I had your acquaintance?”

It was 1971; we got on the Concourse Avenue bus in the Bronx, each with a child in hand. She took notice of my bruises and we became friends.

I take the seat alongside her and gently touch her forearm, “Pearl, it’s me Rosa . . . . Rose, remember. . . .” I expect her to ooze with gladness, say, “Lordy, Lordy, Rose, how are you?”

Instead, she says “Rose? Can’t recall a Rose, refresh my memory child.”

If she remembers me, she would never mention beatings, and hiding in safe houses. I remind her of Bainbridge Park; how we would meet after lunch, let the children play in the sand box then walk them to sleep in strollers.

“I remember sunshine and playgrounds, how is your boy . . . ?”

“Danny, Dan, he’s at Fordham University; studying to be a lawyer.

Danny was five when I made the decision to leave the morning after a beating. I phoned my sister, asked her to get him from school, and left a note for John saying I didn’t want a divorce, and wouldn’t fight him for our son.

I worried about leaving Danny behind. Pearl said, “Don’t fret; your boy be fine,” and hooked me up with people.

John was a New York City Police officer and protected by his brothers, but the force would not ignore his beating a child.

Sill, I moved every four months with a new identity.

Three years later, the Richmond Virginia Newspaper reported the hunt for the killer of John McGill, a NYC Police Officer shot in the line of duty. I went home; stood next to his coffin, widowed with a pension; my eight-year-old son at my side.

John had never mentioned I was gone to anyone on the force.

Now Pearl dozes next to me, and her head bobs from side to side startling herself. “What was I saying?”

“We were talking about the time we brought the boys to the Bronx Zoo and rode the train around the park ten times. You packed potato salad and fried chicken; a stranger asked to buy your picnic lunch.”

The mention of potato salad crystallizes in her milky eyes, “I remember the day you left, bruised and wearing borrowed clothes; it broke my heart knowing I’d not see you again. How you been?”

“I never got to thank you, Pearl. . . .” She interrupts my attempt at gratitude and explanation of regret .

“Hush, Woman . . . tell me something that will make me smile.”

* * * just saying

(Originally posted on November 23, 2014)

You don’t need a WordPress account to comment. Write your comment in the box below or click on the caption icon to the right of the title above. Ignore requests for a name or username and press post or save. Your comment will be posted anonymously.

Got to Love Scotty McCreery

Got to Love Scotty

Age & Attitude

   Scotty McCreery, the deep throat apple pie American Idol winner, who stole my heart, released his debut album “Clear as Day” a week or so ago. Those eager blue eyes and barely old enough to shave face displayed on a super store kiosk spoke to my motherly instincts. I am not a Country Music kind of gal but impulse purchases could help him go gold. Mr. Wonderful* agreed and we made the buy smiling.

We were not disappointed. The album consists of twelve love songs. Chris Talbott writes in “Moving On”, an Associated Press article, “Each of the 12 songs comes from a youthful perspective or voice, and McCreery says they just naturally fell into categories of love – romantic love, family love, and love for the place you come from.”

That explains what happened to me listening to “I Love You This Big.”

My son’s first word was car, my daughter’s boat. Many days, after teaching at PS 72 in the Bronx, I would put them in the car and drive to look at the boats in the bay at College Point. I would park our orange 1973 Datsun (with a hole in the floorboard) and take their hands to walk the shoreline saying, “See the ocean, that’s how much I love you.” Their young minds could not grasp the concept of endless love, but it made me feel better.

Scotty’s vocals transform the words, ” This Big, I love you deeper than the ocean, I love you all the time. I’ll spend the rest of my life explaining what words cannot describe. I love you this big.” His music speaks to your heart.

It is probably better to listen to the album.

Scotty McCrerry, I love you now but I needed you then.                   

                                                                                                                  ….Just Saying.

*Mr. Wonderful is my husband of forty years.