Each week my friend Suzanne Burke features an image and invites her readers to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of their choosing. Maximum word count: 750 words. I’m so honored to join those who have taken a stab at this week’s image.
Here is the image prompt for this week.
Tonight, Allie and Ry would sit in the old gauzy tent that he’d hated. When she was 12 and he was 14, he’d gone with her to Mr. Varma’s resale shop to help her bring it to her backyard.
“You can sit in it, too,” she’d told him as she lovingly patted the fabric.
He shook his head and smirked. “No way, I’m sitting in that girlie thing.”
“Then don’t,” she said. “I just needed you to help me carry it home and set it up.”
“I don’t know why you want it,” he said.
“Because it’s beautiful, and Mr. Varma was practically giving it away.”
Ry’s disinterest didn’t last. Each evening he’d come home from hanging out with his friends and see Allie sitting in the thing talking to herself or playing music. Finally, he’d decided that it wasn’t safe for her to be alone at night. Also, she had wrapped the little tree in strings of white lights. He needed to make sure there wasn’t too much weight on the puny branches. Somebody had to watch her. Next thing you know, she’d try to light a fire in there.
“I’ll do it if you take down the lights,” he told her.
“Do what?” she asked.
He kicked at a stone embedded in the dirt. “Sit in your stupid tent.”
She had missed him, too. So, she took down the lights.
Over the course of their childhood and teens, Allie lit and hung new lanterns. Ry snatched up old chests, books, and things she might find interesting whenever Mr. Varma rotated his stock at the end of the month. Allie had been right about his dumpster prices.
They grew apart after high school — both families moving away. Allie and Ry tried to stay connected by phone and social media. The years were mean as they doggedly pursued their goals. Ry stubbornly wrested a medical career from the clutches of poverty; yet, he hadn’t looked at Allie cross-eyed when she’d gone after a seemingly frivolous career in design.
Reigniting and fanning the flames of their friendship after a measure of success, on both their parts, had been tricky. He was still stubborn, and she was quick with a smart retort. Lately though, they’d been plugged-in—reconnected, and it felt comfortable and right.
The brassy bass of the old doorbell sounded. Allie took a last look at what she’d created. Everything Ry had ever brought her was back in its old place. Every light she’d ever wanted to give him blazed brightly.
She’d left a note on the door telling him to just turn the knob.
“How did you get a key?” he asked her as he came through the patio door and into the yard.
“Don’t tell me to take down the lights.”
He spread his hands, and Allie stopped talking. Were those tears brimming in his eyes?
“I don’t want you to take them down,” he told her.
“You like it?”
“It’s beautiful and perfect for what I have in mind.”
Allie placed her hands on her hips, and her goofy smile turned into a frown. She knew him well enough to know he was trying to beat her to the punch.
“Don’t you dare!” she cried. “It’s also perfect for what I have in mind!”
Laughing, he scooped her up to carry her to their tent.
Suzanne can be reached here:
writing prompts, Fiction in a Flash Prompt. 2021https://sooozburkeauthor.wordpress.com/2021/02/05/fiction-in-a-flash-challenge-2021-new-image-prompt-week-35-join-in-the-fun-iartg-flashfiction-writingcommunity-writingprompts-pursoot/