Nick leaned against the passenger side window as his mom backed out of the driveway and tried fall back into the world of sleep he had been forced to abandon. His scruffy brown hair was just long enough help block out some of the morning light. If the judge had told him that waking up at 8:30 each Saturday was part of the deal, he might have opted for the jail time instead.
A constant jostle of stops and starts kept the dream world at bay, but thoughts of the day that denied him his sleep filled his mind. His dress shoes squeaked noticeably from lack of use in the quiet of the courtroom. Fear struck him like a sledgehammer to the chest when the bailiff would not let his mom join him in the front. That was the moment he knew the judge was going to treat him like an adult even though he had just turned 17.
Maribell’s oak brown hair streamed behind her like the tassels of a girl’s bicycle handle as she ran to him with all her might. Green eyes now floated in seas of pink left by the tears that cut jagged paths down her cheeks.
“What’s wrong princess?” he asked as she came crashing into his arms.
“Daddy says it was all a joke! He said it was because of…”
Ian’s voice trailed off as he rubbed the stubble that flecked his chin. Gloria half-expected that her cubicle wall would fall under his enormous weight, but it seemed determined to withstand the pressure. Ian had stopped by her desk on his stalk around the newsroom. It was his jungle.
Not much had had changed about Ian in the 19 years that Gloria had known him. He was wearing plain slacks that matched his brown hair and eyes and a button up shirt that might have been the same ones he had on when she first started. She doubted if the top two buttons had ever been closed and the sleeves had permanent creases where they had been rolled up before lunch each day. (more…)
A warm breeze twisted above the water leaving tiny ripples in its wake. The lake reflected a blue sky speckled with clouds as if designed by Jackson Pollock. The scene stood unnoticed by the boy as he scoured the shoreline for skipping rocks.
His father trailed behind, watching his son with quiet joy. Long ago he had promised himself that he would not let his son grow up the same way he had. These walks to the lake started with that promise in mind, but had eased into a favorite habit between them.
Enthusiasm for one of the few times he was allowed to throw rocks drove the boy to gather a small mountain of stones. His father eyed the growing stack with thoughts of the sore shoulder he would feel tomorrow. He bent down to sort through the puzzle of rocks looking for just the right piece.