At her parents’ funeral, she promised the kid she babysitted every weekday to keep in touch.
She hadn’t meant to lie, but the hole left behind by her parents’ death didn’t fade away with time as she thought it would, and it was because every time she saw the bandages covering the burns on the side of the kid’s face, it was a reminder that her parents died while protecting him.
In the beginning she was given time off to grieve. Then she needed a longer break to catch up on her studies. Eventually, her client found another babysitter, and she found a different job in another city, closing a chapter in her life.
Then the kid turned up at her door.
He was taller than she remembered, almost the same height as her when he used to only reach around her waist. Although he had lost most of his baby fat, his distinctively long canine teeth hadn’t changed.
Even years after her parents’ death, the sight of the faded burn scars brought a fresh wave of grief. She wanted to retreat, but she braced herself for his accusations. She deserved it after running away for so long.
Instead, he held up a packet of sour ribbons, the green apple ones she loved and that always made him scrunch up like a raisin.
“I brought snacks. Can I come in?” he asked carefully, elbows tucked nervously to his sides.
The selfish part of her wanted to say no. The part of her who genuinely liked the cheeky but loving kid wanted to say yes. The responsible part reminded her of a promise she hadn’t kept for years.
She stepped back.
Genre: slice of life
Camp NaNoWriMo short story count: 22/31