General Flash Fiction posted January 17, 2010

This work has reached the exceptional level
A father remembers


by mbroyles2

She always loved to dance. Even as a little girl, she paraded around our house with an oversized teddy bear named "Snuffles". Her golden hair bounced in the sun, and her blue eyes sparkled like the sequins on her black shoes.

Spinning around, her summer dress floating, she instructed the bear, "Now stay in step, and don't forget to smile." The bear's black paws moved in perfect rhythm, and his white face displayed the cheery look she requested. Being a good sport, he held his own, but he didn't compare to the ole man. Seeing me, her face lit up like Christmas Morning, and the bear lost his dance partner.

"Daddy!" She ran to meet my embrace. I tossed her high in the air and met her with a kiss when she landed. "Come dance with me, Daddy, I must practice for the ball tonight. Prince Charming will be there, and I want to win his heart."

"I know you will, Pumpkin, I know you will."

After making sure the Prince stood no chance against her charms, we ate a quick supper and washed the dishes, playing in the water until our fingers were like prunes, and stacking the dishes off to the side. We laughed and cut up, and before you knew it, the dishes stacked up twenty years.

* * * *

The car came out of nowhere and hit us like a missile. My nose broke on impact with the air bag, and the seatbelt's violent snap separated my shoulder. Glass shattered all around us. I tried to call out to her, but the blood choked back my voice. Fighting back the darkness with a determined will, I saw the crumpled body of my daughter. It was hard for me to distinguish between flesh and metal. Blood gushed out of a gaping wound in her lower thigh. I couldn't reach her, if the artery had been severed, she would die in just a matter of minutes. My pain increased, and my heart raced with the ferocity of a raging tornado. Try as I might, I couldn't move. Her unconscious body lay twisted like a wrung towel in what used to be the passenger seat. Time stood still as sirens blared in the distance. Concerned voices screamed, urging the ambulance to hurry. I remembered little after that, the sounds all mixed with the night, and the dancing bear came to life in my memory.

Heavily sedated, I awoke to the throbbing in my nose, and the incessant clicking of a ball point pen. My son-in-law, Jim, stood near the bed talking with a young doctor--the source of the nervous pen. They were going over my chart. I couldn't make out what they were saying, but Jim kept nodding his head. I tried raising my right arm to get their attention. The doctor looked up from his chart and spoke to me with a gentle tone.

"You're awake. Good. How are you feeling, Mr. Kenny?"

I tried to raise myself up, but the drugs pushed me back down.

"Take it easy, Dad. You've had a rough go." Jim approached and placed a soft hand on my wrist. His drooping eyes were bloodshot. He'd been crying, and the strain was taking its toll.

"Where's Jenny? What happened to her?" I moved my lips, but my voice was so low, I wondered if they heard me.

"Jenny's still in surgery, Bob. She's broken up pretty bad. I just came down to check on you real quick. I'll be going back soon."

"You've suffered some severe injuries yourself, Mr. Kenny," the young doctor interjected. "Not life threatening, but you still need to rest."

I waved him off, all the while focusing on Jim. "I'll check back with you when I know more," he assured me. "I'll let you know how she's doing then."

I accepted this with a heavy sigh and watched him as he left the room. Whatever they had flowing from the IV won the battle of the wills, and I drifted off to sleep.

Several days later, I sat at the side of Jenny's bed with my head in my hands. She breathed on her own, and they kept her color with a consistent flow of fluids. The silent drip mesmerized me, and I snapped my head to break the trance. Not out of the woods yet, she was kept in the intensive care unit under constant watch. Jim had gone to take a shower, and possibly eat. Like me, he rarely left her side. Realizing I may lose the only piece of my soul I had left, I cried uncontrollably. Tears ran down my face and stained my shirt. My shoulders heaved with the release of my grief. I lost her mother shortly after her birth, and now my world could end. I knew I should be praying, but I stopped talking to God a long time ago. The crushing despair in my chest left me helpless; I felt no shame in crying. All I wanted at that moment, or any moment to come, was to dance with my girl one more time--to hear her laugh, feel her gentle touch and see that smile that could melt the coldest heart. My violent crying caused my nose to bleed. I needed to clean my face and pushed back from the bed. Her sweet voice sent a jolt through me as if I'd grabbed a live wire.


I came closer, wiping the tears from my eyes.

"I'm here, sweetheart."

"Don't cry, Daddy. I'll be all right."

Something in the way she said it convinced me.

"I love you, Daddy."

I grabbed the words, and they danced around my heart.

Flash Fiction - She always loved to dance. writing prompt entry
Writing Prompt
Begin with the words "She always loved to dance". No more than 1000 words and done in the form of flash fiction. Prose Only.


Start a sentence with "She always loved to dance"
Word Count: 981
Thanks to jgrace for the wonderful artwork.
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