So excited to be one of the authors included in this amazing literary journal! I even got the opportunity to share my story at the Ocotillo Review launch party in Houston. (Everyone and my mother was there.)
Hope you enjoy my first flash fiction piece, Lickety Split, about a mother and daughter who stretch themselves to the limit.
Friday night arrives. Moms huddle in the bleachers wearing matching shirts, cameras posed. I search the field for my daughter, and sigh when I spot her sitting alone in the stands, looking down at her dance shoes. Once again she won’t be performing at half time.
“What a bunch of bull…”
“Splits!” The booster president focuses her camera. “I love this part!”
The award winning Pacesetters high kick in sync then leap and land in a line of perfect splits.
Splits happen, but not for my daughter. After years of reminding her to sit like a lady and keep her legs together, I encourage her to do the opposite.
“It’s all in your head.” I lie, knowing if there were a hundred dollar bill on the ground, my calcified hamstrings would ignore it.
One game remains. Her last chance. I suggest hot baths and stretches. She rolls her eyes. Pilates and yoga. She scrolls down her phone. I promise fresh baked chocolate chip cookies if she’ll practice, a bribe that never failed when she was younger. But now she’s older with a smartphone and a mom she thinks is anything but.
“I can’t! I’ll tear a ligament!” She storms off into the kitchen. “And I’ll make my own cookies!” She picks up the can of PAM and sprays a cloud of cooking oil all over the pan and most of the floor.
“Give me your phone!” I grab it and place it high on a shelf.
“Give it back!” She roars, a demon in a pair of black practice hot shorts.
I growl. “Practice your splits and you get the phone back.”
Fury flashes across her face. Planting her hands on her hips, she slides one foot forward, lowering her body until it stops abruptly twelve inches from the floor. A split personality possesses her and she cries.
I soften. After all, the only thing I stretch these days is the truth. “That’s better!” I cheer. “You’re almost there.”
The shrill ring of her phone breaks her concentration and she jumps up. We skid across the PAM coated kitchen tile, leap for the phone and with a horrible tearing sound and a scream, land in a tangled mess on the floor.
“Mom, look!” She waves her cell phone in the air like a pom-pom. “I’m doing the splits!” She rubs her legs in disbelief. “But I heard something tear.”
“That was my pants.” I clutch my lower back.
Friday night arrives and I lie in bed, a heating pad against my back. My daughter stops by, wearing her blue and white game uniform and a smile.
“I’m sorry you won’t be able to see me dance.” She hands me a plate of cookies. “The doctor said if you would do your stretches, your back would get better.” She pauses. “The pain’s all in your head.”
I roll my eyes, wave her away and reach for the Advil. My back is killing me.
And suddenly, I have a splitting headache.