May 23rd, 2019

Sunset Key, Florida

“You stay away from it,” she said in a low and ominous voice, “You hear me?”

He hadn’t expected this, and obviously neither had Silvie as she turned to look at their mother. But she could offer him nothing in the way of an explanation as their mother put down the only item she’d been holding, a small sack filled with what looked like fruit. She’d likely been down the street to the Allen’s, who were well-known on the island for having a thriving back yard filled with fruit trees. They tended to share bushels of fruit every season with anyone that wanted some, and their mother was always making something with what they gave her.

Setting the bag down on the nearby kitchen counter she then took another step and grabbed his right forearm in a strong, unyielding grip as she made him face her again.

“Don’t ever go back to that spot, do you hear me?”

“Mom, what are-?”

“Promise me!” she almost yelled at him, “Do not go back there!”

He didn’t know why but he was yanking his arm out of her grasp in the next second, feeling more angry than confused and for some odd reason thinking that she had no right to ask anything of him. He didn’t know where the feeling came from and he didn’t care, his mother had no right to touch him in such a manner or, or…

The feeling was suddenly just, gone. Instead of angry and ready to fire back he just felt, empty, and somewhat guilty as he saw the look on their mother’s face. She was crying openly, her mouth agape as though she’d seen something terrible. Silvie simply looked confused, her eyes tracking from one of them to the other as she was trying to figure out just what had happened.

“Promise me,” their mother almost whined, “Please.”

“No,” he said, turning on his heel to leave.

It would be the last time she ever saw him.

(to be continued)


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