Fly Free – by Vera Shaw (High School)

Before she closed that worn red door for the last time, she paused and looked around. Not fondly – she would never think of this house fondly – but enough for so many little things to jump out at her. The cracked teapot on the stove, the patched red recliner in the living room, the blaring TV. There were memories there, of whispered arguments, of stony silences, harsh scoldings, and being alone. Too many chipped dishes and smelly candles with dull dents in them, and beer bottles and used cigarettes. “Clean up this mess,” she could hear her father growl at her as if he were still lounging on the couch. “If you’re going to waste my time like this, you may as well make yourself useful.”

She was glad to leave.

Outside, the yard was a mess, just like inside of the house. But here – she smiled – there were dandelions. Their bright heads peeked through the overgrown tangle of greens and browns, adding some life to the yard. They were one of the few things that would look happy on the property – until they were rooted up. “Get those weeds out of my yard,” her mother’s pinched voice would follow her outside every spring and summer. “A waste – taking up all the energy from God’s good flowers.”

A waste. Just like her – a freeloader, a mistake. Not anymore. She smiled, slightly bitterly, and pulled the door shut firmly. She was like a dandelion, she decided. And just like a dandelion, she was ready to let go and fly free in the wind. She was ready make her own place in the world.
Learn more about the contest which inspired this story:  Nutshell Narratives 2019-03
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