Are you ready for another original short story?
I had a blast writing this one, and I hope you enjoy the lightheartedness of it. Stay tuned till the very end, because there’s an opportunity for you to help me figure out what to write next.
* All material under COPYRIGHT by Andrea Renee Cox. This story may not be copied, reprinted, or quoted without prior written permission. *
Perspiration dribbled down the arm Jessica was scrubbing with. She wiped her brow with the other, just-as-sweaty forearm, and pushed herself to finish cleaning the base of the shower stall. Would the soap scum spots never come completely clean, no matter how many different cleaning products she applied, along with elbow grease? She huffed, and the puff of air flicked a few stray strands of ginger-colored hair away from her face. Unfortunately, the hair flopped back and stuck to her cheek.
A few minutes later, when she felt her arm was going to fall right out of its socket, the upbeat tones of one of her favorite classic songs tripped into her range of hearing. Fred Astaire’s voice lilted about dancing cheek to cheek with his gal. A smile spread across Jessica’s face, and she found new vigor for her chore.
Suddenly, the rag was ripped from her hand.
She spun around on her knees so fast she crashed against the wall and bumped her shoulder. That’ll probably bruise. She sat up straight and rubbed the sore spot while looking up at her husband, Mike. “What’d you do that for?”
He reached for her hands. After hauling her to her feet and keeping their gazes connected, he grinned. “It’s been much too long since we took a break from our chores and simply played together.”
Planting her palms on his chest, Jessica resisted his grasp. “That’s because”—she grunted as he tightened his embrace, causing her to struggle more—“we have long hours at work throughout the weekdays and the weekends are the only chance we have to catch up on at-home stuff.”
Leaning in, he quick-kissed her nose. “Come play with me.”
She arched an eyebrow and gave him her sternest look. “No.” The lift of her lips probably ruined the entire expression. “Mike, no, we have stuff to check off our to-do lists.”
After tucking her beneath one arm, he snatched up the scrap of paper from the counter by the sink and stuffed it into his mouth, sucking in the stray corners with his tongue.
Jessica slapped at his shoulder, then grabbed for the last visible corner of paper. The rip that pierced the air made her laugh. “Okay.” A few more chuckles rumbled through her belly. “Okay, you win!”
Mike spit out the paper, which tumbled to the floor. “Good. That paper—or the ink; I’m not sure which—tastes like chalk dust.”
Before she could respond, he tugged her by the hand down the hallway and into the large living room. But he didn’t stop there. The patio doors were already flung open, providing an enticing invitation to the birdsong-filled backyard. Mike paused at the stereo to crank up the volume to eardrum-blasting decibels, then rushed outside.
Jessica’s bare feet could barely keep up. The joy bursting through her heart and soul leaped ahead and started celebrating before she could even take in what her husband had done. All around the perimeter of the yard were brightly-colored balloons, anchored to rocks and chairs and anything strong enough to hold them down from dancing into the sky. Above their bright, bobbing heads, dozens of strings of crepe paper crisscrossed through mature tree limbs that shaded the yard. Mike must have gotten out his tallest ladders and called a friend to help him… or had he?
“Did… did you”—she reluctantly turned away from the beautiful display stretched out before her to look up into her husband’s hazel-green eyes—“do all of this alone? for me?” Her forehead crinkled, and tears winked across her vision. “Why?”
His hand came up to cup her cheek as his gaze grew serious, though a spark of childish delight still flitted around the golden rim around his irises. “Don’t you remember how much I love you? All of this…” He waved at the yard with his free hand, never allowing his gaze to leave hers. “It’s an expression of my cavernous love for you.” He spun her in a circle beneath his uplifted arm as if they were in a ballroom competition. When she was extended the farthest away from him while still being connected by fingertips, he spoke again. “Of course it’s all for you, Jessica.”
His wink drew out a girlish giggle—a whole flock of giggles—from deep inside of her. He pulled her close, and she automatically took her place on his toes. She was reminded of their very first dance, the one she nearly backed out of since she didn’t have an initial clue how one was supposed to go about dancing. He’d told her to step on his toes and he’d show her how it was done. She’d been afraid to hurt him, but he’d insisted, and the tradition was born.
As they danced now to a CD of 1930s songs, several butterflies skittered wildly through the makeshift ballroom. Yellow ones, white ones, and even some pink ones danced along with Jessica and Mike, extracting even more giggles, this time from both of them. For a good portion of the next hour, they enjoyed the music, fresh spring air, and the beautiful backyard. Any chores that still remained on their to-do lists—crumpled and chewed up as those scraps of paper might be—could wait till later… or another day.
Some things were much more important than checking off items on a list. She leaned her cheek against her husband’s shoulder and soaked in the sound of their mingled giggles and the sight of the flitting butterflies. This, yes this, was one of those blessings to cherish.
Thank You to my Heavenly Father, for He inspires me to cherish each moment that He grants, but especially those delightful little times when joy and happiness flit by in the form of giggles and butterflies. Each one is precious to Him, and they mean the world to me because of that.
Thank you to my earthly daddy, for one of my favorite childhood memories is dancing on your toes in the kitchen of our house in Savoy, Texas, when I was about seven years old. I hope this story made you smile.
Let’s have a contest!
For my next short story, I would love some inspiration, and YOU can help me out.
Leave a comment with one idea per number below. I’m looking for things you would like to see in a future short story. If you’d like to give more than one idea per number, please submit another comment with one item per number.
(If the comment you submit does not immediately show up, please submit it again. Sometimes Google acts a bit wonky on my comment section for some unknown reason.)
1. a title
2. a character name
3. an occupation
4. an event
5. an animal
6. a place
7. a season
8. a holiday
One or more of your ideas might be used in a future short story I write. You will receive credit in the acknowledgments section, if your idea(s) is used. There is no money compensation with this contest.
I am so excited to see what you all come up with!
Join the conversation!
I love hearing from you.
Happy Mother’s Day!
May’s reading challenge is to Support Our Troops.