General Fiction posted August 6, 2017


Exceptional
This work has reached the exceptional level
The realization of the Greatest Gift of All.

Broken Promise

by Ric Myworld

Greatest Gift of All Contest Winner 

Helen couldn’t resist peeking out the window every few minutes to watch the little neighbor boy across the street.

This was the third-straight day of him sitting in the same place from early morning until late afternoon and evening.

His tiny fingers positioning his plastic soldiers in the bare dirt spot at the yard’s edge. Killing them off in a fierce, make-believe battle, one by one—grinding the figures into the ground, beneath puffs of dust—then, throwing a soldier in the air as his voice mimics the sounds of massive explosions.

 
__________

 
“Helen, what in the hell are you doing?” George asked. “You have watched that little boy for three days now, nonstop. Is something bothering you, or are you just being your typical, nosey self?”

Her eyes widen in surprise, with the look of “Who me!” Then, she blurts, “Mind your own damn business, George. I can watch whatever-n-the-hell I want. Besides, somebody needs to show the boy some concern.”

“About what ...? A little boy playing with his army men? Jesus Christ, woman, leave the peewee tyke alone and let him play.”

“Well, if you must know, this is the third day in a row of him playing in the exact place ... and never leaving, I don’t even think he’s gone in to pee that I can witness.”

“So, what’s the big deal? I mean, doesn’t this kid have a right to play at his own house, with his own toys … that is, without some old woman stalking his every move?” Whew! You could see the fire building inside her cheeks, flaring into a ripe, glowing red as she simultaneously erupts, blasting George in retaliation.

“You go to hell, you old, nasty-mouthed son-of-a-a—! I … I-I’m not stalking anyone … I’m just worried about a child being left all alone with no one to play with or anyone watching him.”

“Okay, whatever, Helen … at least you won’t drive yourself crazy … you’ve been nuts for years.” George turns and waddles down the hall to his office, never looking back. Helen glares, shaking her fist and flipping him a bird.

Finally, curiosity getting the best of her, Helen opens the front door for a better view. The security door’s dark-tinted glass keeps the sidewalk passersby from seeing in as she pulls up a chair within arm’s-length and sits to pass another couple of hours.

The boy continues to play contently. Of course, Helen is anything but quietly happy and satisfied herself. Overcome by the urge, she ambles outside and down the front steps to start picking dead leaves from her flowerbeds.

As she meanders near the street, the little boy looks up and in the cutest, little voice, he says, “Hello, Mrs. Stanley.” His sparkling smile strikes like a bolt of magic, the kind that melts the hardened and touches tender hearts in a flash.
       
“Why hello, Timmy, how are you, honey?”

“Oh, I’m okay, I guess.”

“You sure have been spending a lot of time playing by the street. Don’t you or your grandmother think it might be dangerous playing so close to the road?”

“Oh, no, Mrs. Stanley, I’m a big boy, now. I’m five-years-old!”

“I’m sure you are Timmy, but cars speed up and down this strip, and there are surely less dangerous places for you to play, don’t you think?”

“Well, maybe, but I’m waiting for my daddy to pick me up.”

“Oh, so your daddy is coming to get you …? Does he visit often?”

“No ma’am, just a couple times a year, if I’m lucky. He always stops by at Christmas time. Except he is usually in a hurry and can’t stay long.”

“I’m glad he always makes it for Christmas. That’s a special time; especially, for children.”

“Oh, yes ma’am, he always brings me toys and stuff. He’s the real Santa Claus you know. I just play along and pretend to believe in the fat, white-bearded ol’ man who wears the funny-red clothes. It makes my mom and grandmother happy.”

“What makes you think there is no Santa Claus, Timmy?”

“I heard my mommy and nanny say so one time, when they didn’t know I was listening. They said the thrill of Christmas is over when kids learn Santa isn’t real.”

“Do you think all the fun is over, Timmy?”

“Well, I don’t know. I mean … all the big kids use to laugh at me when I talked about Santa, and I didn’t want them to think I was stupid, or nothing, you know. I just like it when my mommy and daddy come to see me.”

“How often would you say they visit you?"

“My daddy comes a couple times a year, on the good years. Mommy comes over sometimes.”

“Do you and your parents do lots of things together?”

“Nope, not much, ‘cause they stay too busy. They just come by and hang out for a while. Daddy saves his change in a sock and brings it to me. This time, though, we made plans to spend the whole day together.”
 
“Yeah, that’s great, Timmy. So when is he supposed to be here?”

“Well, he was supposed to be here the day before yesterday, and then, yesterday. Of course, I figure he just got too busy and might be coming today. So, I’m gonna stay out here and wait so I won’t miss him if he comes.”

“Okay, Timmy, you are such a sweet boy. You have fun, now.”

“Oh, thank you ma’am … good-bye, Mrs. Stanley.” Timmy waves and flashes another of his beautiful smiles.

“Bye, Timmy.” Helen says. Struggling with the words as her heart breaks. Fighting to hold back an onslaught of tears, her legs wobbly and knees so weak she can hardly wander back across the street to make it home.

 
__________

 
It’s almost dark when Timmy’s grandmother slips up behind him and gently picks him up. Timmy clutches her neck as they share a giant hug, until all at once they gasp and sob.

Sharing hugs and kisses all the way to the house, where Timmy’s faint words could be heard, “It’s okay, Nanny, it’s not your fault.”

Timmy’s grandmother squeezes him tight, twisting back and forth. Then, he says, “You know what, Nanny?”

“What, Timmy?”

“Nanny … you’re the GREATEST GIFT of ALL!”


 
Someone to love us is the greatest gift we can ever hope for in this life!
 

Writing Prompt
You need to write a fictious story of what the greatest gift of all is to you by using 750 to 1250 words.
Good luck!

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