It’s hot, one of those sultry steamy days in the south where the sun caresses rather than sears.
The neighbor boy ambles up the street, dressed in long dark jeans and a blue thermal jacket zipped to his throat, like a turtle ready to disappear. He smiles shyly as he passes. Like his parents and seven siblings, he won’t speak to AnneMarie unless forced, not anymore. The world has become “them” and “us.”
Once AnneMarie asked the boy why he wasn’t in school.
“It’s best if you don’t ask,” he replied.
The words hung between them, Pandora’s box, and she became an unwilling accomplice in secrets.
Suddenly the teenager turns, his rapid approach, sneakers slapping on pavement, startles AnneMarie and her dog. Tears course down his pale cheeks.
“My life was fucking ruined the moment I was born,” he yells. He bites his lip and stares at AnneMarie who is too alarmed to move.
She reaches out, thinking her touch could offer solace, but his face squeezes tight, red, and he runs away towards the shops, out-of-view.
Days later, while weeding, AnneMarie hears that the boy kept running, somewhere north, chasing his dream.
Meanwhile, routines continue in the house where he lived.
Sascha Darlington 7/12/2018
written for Sunday Photo Fiction
written for Word of the Day Challenge
written for FOWC