Writing with Passion
I believe that writing fiction based on what I am passionate about makes my writing stronger. When there is a fire in your soul and you write it into a story you not only express your feelings but you present an issue to your readers that resonates. I grew up in a family where there were always young children around, I raised two sons, and I had a thirty year career in early childhood education. I am passionate about the care, safety and education of young children and this is one of the stories that emerged from this passion.
There it was again. The brittle wail of a baby crying. It could have been the two neighborhood stray cats fighting. It was hard to tell the difference.
I got out of bed to check. A window lit up in the house next door though it was three in the morning. A voice called out, “Shut up or I’ll give you something to cry about!”
Could Sue be yelling at her two year old son? Every night for two weeks I’d heard the crying and shouting and wondered what this child could have done to elicit such anger. He was chubby and cheerful when I’d seen him run around on his little toddler legs. I wanted to take him into my arms and rock him, cuddle him, and soothe him back to sleep. But he wasn’t mine.
I went back to bed, put the pillow over my head and tried to sleep.
The next morning I heard him crying again.
“Shut up!” the mother yelled.
I got dressed, went next door and knocked with the tarnished brass knocker. The door opened. There stood a tall skinny woman wearing cut-off jeans and a skin tight pink tee-shirt. Her long blonde curls were caught messily on top of her head.
“Can I help you?”
“I live next door. I heard the baby crying and you sounded upset. Can I help you? Maybe watch the baby for an hour or two.”
“Nah. He’s okay. I don’t need help.” She flicked a hand in the air then braced both fists on her hips. “And I don’t know you. You think I’d leave Billy with a stranger?”
“Sure you know me. I live next door. We said hello over the fence a couple times.”
“Oh,” she said. Her blue eyes went dark. “Yeah, I didn’t recognize you. Out of context, ya know.”
“So, see it’s okay. Do you want to go out? I can stay with Billy.”
“Yeah, okay, whatever. By the way my name’s Sue.” She offered her hand. “Could you hang here for an hour now? I could go do some food shopping without having to drag Billy with me and buy him candy just to keep him quiet.”
I cringed at the thought of wanting to keep this exuberant boy quiet.
“You’ll be back in an hour? I have to go to work later and I need to shower first.”
Sue disappeared for a few minutes. I scanned the small neat living room wondering there were no photos of Billy on the shelves or tables.
When she came back she had on jeans with the same shirt and her hair was combed out in a wavy blonde curtain over her shoulders. She’d also managed to apply some snazzy make-up. She grabbed her hot pink hobo purse and flew out the door.
I turned to see Billy standing in the doorway between the living room and the kitchen, his thumb was in his mouth and tears glistened in his blue eyes.
“Where Mommy go?” he asked.
“Just to the store Billy. It’s okay. You’ll be okay.” And I knew he would now that he was with me. “Let’s read a story. What’s your favorite book?”
“Three Pigs,” he informed me. “But I want to go to store. With Mommy.”
“I’ll take you to the store.”
His face lit up and he took his thumb out of his mouth to smile.
“Do you have a special toy you want to bring with us?”
He ran to his room and returned with a stuffed rabbit whose once bright pink fur was balding and turning gray.
I got Billy into the car. I didn’t have a car seat but I strapped him in with the seatbelt and I knew enough to put him in the back seat for safety. We drove toward town but I kept driving right through and headed for the cabin in the forest my grandfather left me when he died. Yes, I knew Billy would be safe now.