Short Story: A Red Day

Her movie is just about to reach its climax when her little brother storms into her room with a petulant frown. She pauses the film as he dives face down onto her bed.

“Colour?” she asks.

Her blanket swallows her brother’s grumbled reply.

A red day then. She slips on her earbuds, picks up her laptop, and grabs her weighted blanket from her window seat before heading to her bed. The laptop goes on her bedside table, the blanket gets wrapped around her brother like the skin of a burrito, leaving just the top half of his head exposed.

At this age, he’s still light enough for her to tug him closer to her bedhead. She settles against the upholstery, his small body at her side and her laptop perched on her lap. One hand cards through his soft hair, the other adjusts the volume controls and resumes her movie.

There’s ten minutes left when the bundle beside her moves, her brother shifting to sit up straighter and lean his cheek against her arm. She takes off her earbuds and turns up the sound. Her brother listens silently to the heroes on screen pledging their continued protection over the land they have just saved.

“Colour?” she asks as the credit rolls.

“Yellow,” comes the quiet murmur.

“Alright.”

She heads over to the kid’s section and lets him choose their next movie.

~End~

Genre: family, slice of life

July stories: 13/21

Short Story: Pristine Path

His desk is pristine.

His mouse sits perfectly centred on the mousepad beside his keyboard, his pans fan in his pen holder according to their colour, not a single piece of paper pokes out of his stacks of paperwork.

His daughter must have dropped by.

He scans his study clockwise for more signs. All the books on his shelves draw a perfect line with their spines. Keep going. Fallen petals form a tidy circle at the foot of his vase. Keep going. Door. One of his cushions is slouched instead of perfectly fluffed like the rest.

Outside then.

At the corridor to the left, the tassels for the window blinds don’t hang side by side. To the right, their family photos have been rearranged in a single file from the oldest picture to the most recent. He follows the picture frames to the neatly stacked magazines in order of thickness to the carefully combed string of pearl plants until he finds his daughter in the guestroom, making the bed into precise folds as tears roll down her damp cheeks.

He stays outside the door, carefully centred in the doorframe. Voice pitched low, he asks.

“Hey love, what’s wrong?”

~End~

Genre: slice of life, family

Short Story: As the Youngest

Sometimes, she wishes she isn’t the youngest.

No matter how old she is, she’ll always be the family baby. She has to fight twice as hard earn the gravitas her sisters get naturally just because they were born earlier.

If she’s the oldest, she’ll automatically be taken seriously.

If she’s the middle child, she gets the respect of an older child without the responsibilities of the oldest child, the best of both worlds.

But she loves that her family always knows exactly what she needs even before she says it, and she never needs to worry about anything as long as someone’s watching out for her.

In the end, the benefits are too good to give up.

~End~

Genre: slice of life, family

March triplet story: 6/6

Being the Oldest | In the Middle | As the Youngest

Short Story: In the Middle

Sometimes, she wishes she isn’t the middle child.

Too young to be trusted, too old to be coddled. Just like the middle of a book or an in between passage, she’s easily overlooked.

If she’s the oldest, she’ll be the leader.

If she’s the youngest, she’ll be the treasure.

But the beauty of an undefined role is that she gets to choose exactly the kind of person she wants to be.

In the end, she can’t imagine herself as anyone else.

~End~

Genre: slice of life, family

March triplet story: 6/6

Being the Oldest | In the Middle | As the Youngest

Short Story: Being the Oldest

Sometimes, she wishes she isn’t the oldest.

She’s had responsibilities long before she knows it as a word. From “tell me when your uncle’s here” to “watch your sisters while we cook” to “you’re in charge for the next two weeks”.

If she’s the youngest, she’ll be the one to be taken care of.

If she’s the middle child, she has the freedom to do whatever she wants.

But duty is a well worn cloak. It’s a comforting weight she can always fall back to whenever she feels bereft.

In the end, she’s happy exactly where she is.

~End~

Genre: slice of life, family

March triplet story: 6/6

Being the Oldest | In the Middle | As the Youngest