“JR and His Shadow” by Kimisha Thompson-Hitchins
Are you a parent going through the Terrible Twos? Did you live through them and survive? Terrible Twosdays is a place to commiserate over the unending shenanigans of your Darling Children (as the online parenting communities say). Nonfiction stories will be considered, so long as names have been changed to protect the guilty. Inspired by our best-selling gift book for parents, Go the Fuck to Sleep, Terrible Twosdays joins the roster of our other online short fiction series. Unlike Mondays Are Murder and Thursdaze, we’re looking for stories with a light and mischievous feel, all about the day-to-day challenges of parenting. As with our other flash fiction series, stories must not exceed 750 words.
This week, Kimisha Thompson-Hitchins’s three-year-old tries to outrun the impossible.
JR and His Shadow
by Kimisha Thompson-Hitchins
While walking to the playground one afternoon, JR practiced his road safety by stopping at every stop sign he saw. He would chime, “Red says stop,” while he looked left, then right, and a second continue, “Green means go.” And so JR went through the neighborhood obeying the stop signs and exploring each drain, pointing and letting Mom and Aunty know that inja turtles lived in them. Mom and Aunty, to no avail, corrected JR, saying ninja each time, but JR insisted that he was right.
When they arrived at the playground the sun had already begun to go down, and JR was told that he could only play for a little bit. JR delighted in going up and down the slide, climbing on the rock wall, and asking Aunty to push him on the swing.
When it was time to go, JR was not pleased. He said to Mom, “Two more minutes, just two minutes.” Mom shook her head because JR’s two minutes were like two hours. Mom told JR it was time to go after an actual two minutes, and of course JR whined that it wasn’t time yet. Mom then showed him that the moon was now out, and they had to walk back home. JR reluctantly agreed.
On the way back home the streetlights were on, and Mom noticed that JR kept looking behind him. Curious, she turned around as well, but saw no one. After a couple of minutes, JR said, “Somebody following us, Mommy.”
Startled, Mom turned around and asked, “Where?”
JR then pointed to the ground behind them.
Mom chuckled and said, “That’s our shadows.”
“Shadow?” JR asked
Mom replied, “Yes, JR. When the light is in front of us, there is a shape of our bodies shown on the ground behind us.”
JR decided to test Mom’s explanation. He didn’t want the shadow-somebody behind him, so he walked backward to see if the shadow would go away or walk in front of him, but it didn’t. When JR walked under the streetlight, he said, “Mom, the shadow-somebody is gone. Now I’m standing in a puddle.” He pointed to the circle at his feet.
Mom smiled and said, “That is the shadow. It is like that because the light is over us.”
JR still didn’t believe Mom’s explanation. He insisted that the shadow-somebody was now gone.
When Aunty and Mom turned the corner toward the house, JR realized that the shadow was now in front of him and that it looked taller than him. He shouted, “Mom, the shadow-somebody is back, and it is now bigger than me!” Before Mom could explain again, JR stopped on the sidewalk. Mom asked him why he stopped. But JR paid her no attention; instead, he began to lift his foot, as if to brush something off his shoes. Mom watched him, puzzled, and each time she asked what he was doing, he did not answer. Annoyed, JR then complained to Mom, “It won’t come off, Mommy!”
“What won’t come off?” Mom asked.
“The shadow, Mommy, it won’t come off!”
Mom could do nothing but chuckle.
She began to tell JR that the shadow would soon be gone—once there was no light—but JR ran to Aunty, who was by now at the house, which had no streetlights near it. When JR reached her, he noticed that the shadow was gone, and he yelled in triumph with both arms in the air. “Mommy, you were wrong! I got rid of the shadow-somebody!”
KIMISHA THOMPSON-HITCHINS was born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1981. She has taught English at both the secondary and tertiary levels for six years. She has a passion for writing poetry and short stories. She has several poems self-published and circulating online. She holds BA, MA, and postgrad diplomas in English, all from the University of the West Indies. She is very family oriented and is inspired by life and her son’s everyday experiences. She is currently teaching high school ELA and lives in Winston Salem, NC, with her husband of six years and their three-year-old son.
Do you have a story you’d like us to consider for online publication in the Terrible Twosdays flash fiction series? Here are the submission terms and guidelines:
—We are not offering payment, and are asking for first digital rights. The rights to the story revert to the author immediately upon publication.
—Your story should focus on the challenges of parenting. Ideally, stories should be about children aged 0 to 5, but any age (up to early teens) is acceptable. Stories may be fiction or nonfiction.
—Include the child’s age at the time of the story next to your byline.
—Your story should not exceed 750 words.
—E-mail your submission [email protected] paste the story into the body of the email, and also attach it as a PDF file.
Posted: Jun 21, 2016
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