Red walls, the hue of Valentine hearts, no, more saturated red, the color of blood, the old barn marks a turn in my path from school to home.
“Hurry Billy or you’ll be late for school.” Ma smiles and smooths her white apron. Beth is monogrammed above the right pocket. She hands me a lunch bucket decorated with Donald Duck. “I’m proud of you. A third-grader, able to walk to school alone. Come right home after school.” She points to a Milwaukee Journal calendar. Friday, September 7, 1956, is circled in red. “Today is papa’s birthday. We’ll have an early supper. Follow the road to school. Don’t walk through the field past the old barn. It’s too dangerous.” Ma pats my shoulder and nudges me out the door.
"The newspaper reported my family’s boating accident as a 'Lake Superior tragedy.'” Her eyes are deeper green than the lake that laps at our feet. She smiles and edges toward me. “We lived on Madeline Island. Now I'm alone. Would you dive into the lake with me?"
About the Author
I write personal essays, creative non-fiction, flash fiction, and self-development articles from my home in Madison, Wisconsin.