I'm here with a story--technically I didn't write it first for the July Writing challenge, but then I thought "Hey, this could work, and it would be a good chance to share some blog-love too!" So my friend Faith over on her blog Stories by Firefly had this super cute writing challenge here: http://fireflysstoryspace.blogspot.jp/2016/08/imagine-this-7.html and I just thought, "Aw, well why not?" Anyways definitely go check it out, it's a photo prompt and it's really adorable. I'll be posting the story I wrote for it down below, but please be wonderful and go take a look at her blog too. ;) She'll be posting my story (as well as other entries based off the photo) on her blog. :)
A Picture of Truth
I snatched my hat off and wiped my brow. Boy, was it hot! I shifted my camera bag, then afraid it might somehow sense my grumbling attitude, gave it a loving pat. "I wouldn't trade you for the world, baby," I grinned. "You're all I got."
"Hey!" A curly-haired girl ran up to me, holding out a couple tickets. "Buy a ticket for the new movie mister? Eighty percent of the proceeds is going to the army."
"Army, huh?" I frowned. "Well, I ain't got any money. Sorry."
"You joining up, mister?" the girl trailed me as I pushed past and continued down the sidewalk.
"Not if I can help it." I snorted.
"There's a whole shipment of soldiers going out today at the train station."
"Look," I spun around and faced the girl. "What is with you?"
Her cheeks reddened, but I detected an odd glimmer in her brown eyes. "My daddy is somewhere in Europe by now, I guess."
I took a step back, sucking my breath in with surprise. "Sorry. I didn't mean-- I mean--" I shrugged helplessly. "Sorry. I ain't too good with words and-- and stuff. I didn't mean to make you cry."
"I'm not crying." She sniffed and her jaw jutted out. "But if you want some good pictures--" she jerked a thumb at my camera bag, "Then maybe you ought to get some of the men leaving. You know. Sell them to a newspaper or magazine as a look into real America or something."
"Say," I let out a long whistle. "That's a pretty keen thought. Thanks!" I was about to jog off when I chanced to take a look at her again and noticed the firm set of her mouth. Her arms were crossed and I felt as though I suddenly knew exactly what determination looked like. "Hey, can I come back when I'm done and take pictures of you?"
She tilted her nose up a bit. "Certainly not. But you can use that money you get from selling those pictures to buy War Bonds or something useful."
I grinned and held up my hands in surrender. "Ok, ok. Well, thanks for the tip-off." I darted away, clutching my bag to me. When I got to the train station I was puffing from exhaustion. I elbowed through the soldiers, trying to get in the midst of them for a chance at a good shot.
"Daddy!" I heard the shout of a little boy before I spotted him, dragging his mother through the crowd. "Daddy, you forgot to kiss me goodbye!"
The man leaned further out of the train. "Here, Jimmy," he called. Jimmy? I thought. Weird, that was my name. I slipped closer to hear better.
The mother lifted her little Jimmy up, and her husband reached down to reach him by the arms. The grab turned into an embrace--the kind that breaks your heart at the tightness of it. The father buried his nose in the little boy's collar as he kissed him.
The mother was silent, hanging onto the boy's ankles as if that would stop him if he fell. My throat felt clogged, and I blinked. "I'm sweating into my eyes, it's so hot," I complained to myself. I pulled out my camera and focused it quickly on the trio by the train.
There was a satisfying click and I lowered the camera, frowning. I wondered if the father would ever return to his family. He finally released his grip on his son, lowering him slowly back to his mother.
"I love you, Daddy!" The boy Jimmy called. "I love--" his voice broke and he tried again. "I love you, Daddy! Don't forget!"
The man stretched his hands out as the last few soldiers boarded the train and a whoosh of steam rose up from the wheels. "Be good, Jimmy," His voice was husky, the kind that hints at tears in the soul. "You're the man of the family while I'm away."
"I know." Jimmy nodded, scrambling down from his mother's arms.
The man glanced at his wife--just a glance, and it said so much. She raised her hand until the train disappeared, but still stood even after it had been gone for a few minutes.
I felt like I was going to choke. So that was what family was like...and that was also what courage was like. I felt like a miserable coward. This photo was not going to be sold to a magazine, but I was still glad I got it. It had opened my eyes to the truth--there was a job to be done. But could I do it?
By the time I reached the girl selling tickets again, I had made up my mind. "Hey, where's the recruiting station?"
Her eyes grew wide, then she gave a shy smile. "I could take you."
Before I go, I wanted to share September's challenge with you! September's Challenge is this: Write a story about an elderly couple. I'm really interested to see how this one will turn out. ;)
I want to apologize for the crazy blog schedule the last few months. Thank you so much for your patience! Hopefully I'll be getting back in the swing of things now. ;) You all have a lovely day!