• You will always be my girl

    The swing

    It was hot. You could almost see the heat hanging in the air as the sun blared down upon the sticky tar of the tenement driveway. They were in the limited shade. She was perched upon a makeshift swing that hung from the questionable branches of an ugly sumac tree. Her knuckles white as she gripped the ropes. She was spinning herself in circular motion.

    They were 11 and yet could have been so much older with the seriousness of the conversation at hand. He was telling her stories of great importance. He was trying to negotiate sneaking from the backyard to purchase popsicles for 10 cents at the corner store. He stopped the swing and turned her slowly to face him. Their eyes were so similar in color — hazel. His flecked with more green, hers had more brown. He stilled the swing placing his hands over hers. His body wedged between her knees holding her in place.

    “You are my girl, understand?”

    Her tongue ran over the length of her lips as she nodded. He leaned in his lips brushing ever so gently against hers. Her heart raced a million miles a minute at his touch. The thrill of his lips against hers, the terror that her mother might look out the window and catch them. She could hear her mother’s voice inside her head.

    “Do not let a boy touch you! You will get pregnant instantly!”

    Her cheeks flushed crimson red as her heart banged in her chest.

    “You know I can’t leave the back yard, I’ll get in trouble,” was her response as her hand reached up to touch her lips where his had pressed.

    “Did you like it?” he asked with a cat ate the canary grin.

    She simply nodded yes as he turned on his heel and headed in the direction of the corner store for popsicles. Four months later, he moved across town. It might as well have been across the entire world. She cried silently into her pillow and never ever sat on the swing again.


    The prom

    The music undulated as the strobe lights cast eerie reflections off the bodies of the dancers as they undulated on the dance floor. It was prom. She half-heartedly danced with her girlfriends completely ignoring her dud of a prom date. She was 18. She simply wanted the business of high school to be over and done so that she could move as far away from here as possible. A firm hand gripped her shoulder turning her abruptly around.

    “You are still my girl.”

    That same warmth was still there his voice now a man’s like warm flowing hot chocolate. She squealed like the 11-year-old girl he had left on the swing so many years ago.

    “What are you doing here? Oh my God! You look fantastic!”

    He wrapped his arms about her neck and swept her away across the dance floor. They snuck away from prom and dropped onto the bench at a bus stop where they talked until the sun slathered pink across the sky.

    “Come find me when you come back,” he whispered taking her face into his hands. This time his tongue gently implored her mouth as his hands caressed her neck.

    “I will,” she whispered as the tears welled to her eyes.

    “Take care of you.”


    The end

    She was sick. The kind of sick that was not going to get better, her body was not going to heal. She was going home to finish up the final chapter of her life at 40 years old. She couldn’t complain. She had three beautiful children, one grown. The boys would stay with their aunt until they were old enough to spread their wings and fly. Her sister made her a hot cup of tea and wrapped her in a blanket on the porch swing.

    “The nurse will be here shortly.”

    Her sister smiled wrapping the quilt tighter about her.

    “This is good you need fresh air.”

    They both knew fresh air was hard-pressed to improve upon cancer but they smiled just the same. Her eyes were lightly pressed shut soaking in the sunshine of the early afternoon when she heard his voice.

    “You are still my girl.”

    She didn’t know the how or why just the feeling that ebbed over every ounce of her soul at the sound of his voice. She didn’t open her eyes but let the tears well beneath her lashes and drip slowly down her cheek. His arms wrapped about the frailty of her cancer-ridden body radiated warmth to the center of her core. He smelled wonderful, like sunshine and spice.

    “What are you doing here?”

    She choked back the tears her cheek pressed to his.

    “I’m your hospice nurse,” he whispered.

    He  pressed his lips to her ear as he choked back his own tears. He then sat tirelessly by her side for two weeks. They laughed and remembered. They talked about the rickity old swing and 10 cent popsicles. They talked about their children endlessly… about music, politics, whatever suited their fancy. He made her laugh. He made her laugh until she coughed so violently that swore her lungs would burst. He was her hospice nurse for two weeks to the day, and then holding one hand as her sister held the other, he brushed his lips ever so gently against hers as he whispered one last time.

    “You will always be my girl.”

    • Wow. What a beautiful, poignant story. You reach right in and touch the heart.

    • So wonderfully written and so sad. Was this your sister?

      • Kathleen Brotherton

      • June 16, 2014 at 12:07 pm
      • Reply

      No this is a work of fiction based loosely on a combination of life events that scorched deep.

    • Thanks for explaining.

      • Maya North

      • June 16, 2014 at 6:36 pm
      • Reply

      Now my heart aches… <3

    • Oh! How metaphorically beautiful. I love you!

      • Rachel Fleury

      • June 21, 2014 at 6:41 am
      • Reply

      that story was amazing and somehow my own…..

      • LolaBunny

      • June 22, 2014 at 12:11 pm
      • Reply

      While reading this, I could not help but to realize that my favorite part was when it ended and I no longer had to reach the dreadfulness that you deemed readily available for the public to read despite its lack of value to anyone. I would also like to point out that the transitions between the story was unsatisfyingly treacherous. In fact, all this story did was waste my time and make me hungry. Have a blessed evening.

      • HEy bunny bung hole. Fitting name since you can’t stop popping out kids for the welfare system to support. Listen honey bunny, you wish you were an ounce of what my sister is. Well, if wishes were fishes we would all have a fry. Oh yah, speaking of fishes, try keeping your legs shut. Blessed be, biotch.

    • I really liked the story. I thought the emotion was powerful and honest. As for the transitions, they told the story how how enduring this attraction and love was throughout an entire lifetime. Very powerful. Best part about Katy’s writing is it makes you feel something and want to say something. Even negative people only reinforce Kathy’s mastery for expression.

    • Also, taking a dump on someone’s writing and saying “have a blessed day” is two-faced high school drama bullshit. Pretty cheap.

    • I have haters, therefore I have arrived. 😉

      • I love hate mail.

          • Kathleen Brotherton

          • June 25, 2014 at 10:26 am

          I love candy and kittens.

          • Kathleen Brotherton

          • June 25, 2014 at 10:36 am

          I’m just a tad disappointed my hater can’t construct a legible sentence suffering from a tragic case of malapropism. I would have preferred to be hated by someone with an iota of written talent.

    • You had haters before you arrived. looool!

    • I feel like I should make them cupcakes…or have a tea party. 😉

    • I think we should have a tea party. Tea for two.

      • Heather Alani

      • June 25, 2014 at 7:05 pm
      • Reply

      Maybe matt can come he doesn’t eat cupcakes so he is ok. Bring beans matt. Fava.

      • Kathleen Brotherton

      • June 26, 2014 at 5:28 am
      • Reply

      Why doesn’t Matt eat cupcakes? WTH?

    • Allergies, it is why I keep him, more cupcakes for me.

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