“Good morning, Molly,” Mrs. Stevens calls from her front porch. I wave and watch as she and her four-footed cane totter over.
Last night we had a flash flood. In only minutes water swallowed the road and the yards on our side of the street. Almost as quickly, it gushed away, leaving sticks and soggy ditch litter.
As I stand on Mrs. Stevens’ lawn, across the street from ours, I can’t help thinking Mama’s mood swings are like a flood; rapid, violent, the clean-up left to me.
Mrs. Stevens leans on her cane, pushes her glasses up her narrow nose.
“I’ve lived here over forty years, and that’s the first flood. Did you and your mother have any damage?”
I want to tell her about the rec-room flooding and the carpet smelling like dirty socks, but Mama says the old bat better keep her nose out of our business.
“No.” I lie and instantly feel bad. I like her; she’s always been nice to me.
Mrs. Stevens’ four-legged cane starts to wobble. She grabs my arm; I flinch.
Pulling her hand away she asks, “Child, did that hurt?”
“No, you startled me, is all.” Another lie.
“Hmph.” Her mouth tightened. “I thought perhaps you fell down the steps again.”
“Nope.” I lie for the third time.
I look up and down the street to keep my eyes away from hers. I’m not a good liar.
That’s when I notice a gap between the drawn drapes in our living room.
“I gotta go.” I blurt and begin snatching up wet fast-food wrappers and soggy sticks as soon as my foot hits our lawn.
Linda Chandanais lives in Michigan's Upper Peninsula with her husband and two dogs, Penny and Raven. Her love of storytelling began with ‘stories from her head’ told to younger siblings. After a decades-long hiatus called adulthood, Linda has renewed her passion for storytelling. Her works have been published in The Drabble, CafeLitMagazine, Entropy Squared-A Story in 100 words, Everyday Fiction and SpillWords.