Wish

The streak of light had passed in an instant, but Jude kept staring into the sky as though expecting it to reappear. “I’ve never seen a real shooting star before,” he said.

“So what’d you wish for?” Collin asked.

“Isn’t it bad luck to tell?”

“Whatever,” Collin shrugged. “I’ll tell you mine.”

Jude rolled his eyes. “Let me guess, a new Jeep?”

“How did you—”

“Because you mention that you want one basically every day.”

“I guess,” Collin grunted.

“Also,” Jude said, giving his friend a conciliatory pat on the back, “you have no imagination.”

“Excuse me?”

“This is a wish we’re talking about. It should be something big. Something you can’t achieve on your own.”

“Well a new Jeep’s pretty big,” Collin retorted.

Jude shook his head. “Something life changing.”

Collin’s face went serious. “A new leg?” he asked.

Jude blinked in surprise, looked down at the prosthesis supporting his weight. He opened his mouth to speak, then shook his head. “No,” he said softly, looking up with a pained smile. “I wouldn’t wish for something I can live without.”

Jude’s eyes shone in the starlight. Collin stared into them, feeling his face grow warm as he finally understood.

* * *

Story by Gregory M. Fox
Photo by Bradley Allweil on Unsplash

Day

It was one of the few days out of the year Pearl ever felt any regret over the life she had chosen. Meanwhile, her wife had been uncharacteristically quiet, unsure of what she could do to comfort Pearl who was pretending everything was fine. Despite the facade, Pearl was so distracted that she almost didn’t hear the doorbell.

Waiting for her on the doorstep was a mirror to the past. The young man looked exactly like she had at that age. That seemed like half a dozen lifetimes ago, before she had any idea who she was. “Todd” she whispered.

“Hey, uh, Pearl.”

It was the slightest moment of hesitation, but it still cut deep, deeper than she wanted to admit even to herself. She felt old habits clamp down on all emotions except anger, so that while she wanted nothing more than to embrace her son, instead, she stood stiffly in the doorway and said. “I thought your mother didn’t want you here.”

A flash of intensity from his dark eyes, a confidence that made her immeasurably proud. Todd strode forward and seized her in a firm embrace. “It’ll always be your day,” he said. “Happy Father’s Day, Pearl.”

* * *

Story by Gregory M. Fox