I don’t know what it is about front porch swings, but if I had a big front porch, I would definitely want to install one. Hope you enjoy this short story that popped into my head in bits and pieces over the past few days. Since I don’t have a lot of extra time to write these days, I really love when that happens!
The front porch swing always had a way of helping. Her father had built it when she was just a girl, and she had been through many a thinking session in its arms. She wondered if the old wood had absorbed any of her joys and pains.
Today, Minnie once again sought solace in the rhythmic back and forth of her friend, her feet anchored to the ground, her thoughts accompanying the motion. It wasn’t like you could change the past, but perhaps it was possible to sweeten the bitterness just a little.
It was your fault your daddy died so young. You were his baby girl, Mother’s words creaked in her memory.
You can’t blame yourself for your father’s death, her counselor had encouraged her.
If only I hadn’t been so selfish and run off with Matt without saying goodbye, maybe Daddy’s heart would have held on longer, her guilty thoughts reverberated.
I’m going to miss you like crazy while I’m away, Matt had said as he held her tight before heading off to boot camp.
It’s such a shame that Minnie had to go and ruin her life by shacking up with that Smithson boy and getting herself pregnant, and at such a young age, too, the neighbors clucked. And her poor daddy. Now they’re both gone and her poor mother is stuck with the consequences. Such a dying shame (cluck, cluck).
Minnie heard the familiar stomping of little feet against the foyer floor before five-year-old, towheaded Mattie came bursting through the screen door with a cup of jostling liquid in his hands.
“Mamaw made you some iced tea, Momma. She said it was awful hot out here today.”
“Aw now, that’s sweet. Come swing with me, hon.” Minnie patted the empty slats of swing beside her.
“I can’t right now, Momma — I’m right in the middle of a big battle with my army men and the blue guys are winning!” Just as he was about to reach the door, he turned around, ran to his mother, and threw his arms around her neck. “But I love you and I’ll miss you like crazy while I’m away!”
“Love you, too, little, man,” she said, holding back both tears and laughter. “And tell Mamaw thank you!”
So much Matt in the boy. And so much Daddy and Mother, too.
The old porch swing continued its motion while Minnie allowed it to lull her thoughts to a calmer pace. As her mother’s iced tea slid down her throat, she denied anyone, especially herself, to tell her that small everyday moments couldn’t help heal the soul.
Thanks for taking the time to read The Not Too Long and Short of It!
Valerie you have a wonderful way with words. You made a clear picture in my mind with your short story and I could feel both the pathos and the comfort of that swing on the porch.
Sweet and poignant. Thanks for sharing.