Yellow-Bellied Love

The pencil snapped in her hand and he was grateful because it gave him something to look at, instead of the cruelty in her eyes. “You’re nothing,” she spat. “A coward. A yellow-bellied fool.”

He winced at the words, a scathing reply on his own tongue that he swallowed down. But then resentment followed, why could she spout vile but he had to take the high road? “Call me a coward, but at least I’m not the one sabotaging this relationship because you’re scared of a little criticism.”

“You’re criticism is garbage, Jeremy.” She crossed her arms, turned to the window and threw the pencil pieces at the glass. She liked to make loud noises when she was angry. “Why should I value your opinion?”

It was like a slap in his face. “Because, you love me?”

Her laugh was tight and short. “Yea, cause that has anything to do with this. You call me a coward for wanting to do more, see more. You call it running away.”

“It is running away!” His voice boomed across their living room. “You’d be leaving me.”

God, he hated when she rolled her eyes, and there she was, rolling. “I’ll be gone for six months. It’s not the end of the world.”

A hot flush crawled through his body because he hated that he cared more than her, that he so obviously was the more invested one. “Fine,” he said. “Go.”

“I don’t need your permission,” she reminded, spite in her words despite getting everything she wanted.

He saw red, but it blurred from the tears in his eyes. “You did. But you don’t anymore.” And then he walked to the door.

Three words: Pencil, Yellow, Garbage
Mood: Angry

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On the Top of the Hill

A hand shook Ann’s shoulder, pulling her from a deep sleep. “Mama?” she asked through a yawn. “What is it? It’s the middle of the night.”

Mama’s eyes were bright, a toothy grin spreading across her face. “Wake up, there’s something I want to show you.”

“I’m sleepy,” Ann whined. Didn’t Mama know tomorrow was a school day? Mama usually cared about those sorts of things…

“This is more important.” Mama clapped and Ann started to sit up, only to have a pile of clothes land on her head. “Get dressed.”

Ann followed her Mama’s orders right out the door of their tiny home. The darkness had waned a little, the pitch black transforming into a dark purple.

“I’m very excited for you, Ann,” Mama explained. She swayed on her heels as Ann pulled on a jacket while Mama got them flashlights. When we were both ready she snapped her fingers. “Come on, chase me!”

And then Mama was off and Ann remembered her bed, and wondered if this was still a dream. But still, she followed Mama and ran.

On the top of the hill, the dark purple had changed to a dusky blue, if not for the flashlights, Ann would not know where they were. “This is where we lost our relay race.”

Mama turned, face unreadable until Ann shined the flashlight in it. Even Mama’s squinting couldn’t detract from her smile. “Oh honey, this is where a lot of things happened.”

“Like what?” Ann asked, still unable to forget the sting of defeat.

“Well, for one,” Mama held up a finger. “This is where I first felt you kick in my belly.”

“Really?”

“Really, really.”

“What else?” Ann looked around the hillside, the first bits of sun rising over the horizon.

“It’s where you Papa first told me he loved me.”

“What else?” Excitement ran through Ann now, because Mama was looking towards the horizon, as if she was expecting something.

“Well, sweetheart. In just a few minutes the sun is going to rise, and you know what’s going to happen?”

Ann pulled at her sleeve until Mama wrapped her arms around her, rocking Ann against her body. “What?”

A car rumbled in the distance and Mama leaned low, pressing her lips against Ann’s ear. When she spoke her voice was barely a whisper. “We’re going on an adventure.”

—-
 Words: Sunrise/Elated/Lost
Mood: Hopeful