A Dollar, My Love…

The little girl pushed the sand around, creating a small fence for her sand castle. Ahead, the waves swam gently to the shore and back in an eternal exercise.

“Mummy?”

“Hmmm?”

“You’ll come for the play, won’t you?”

The woman frowned. She didn’t look up from her magazine.

“We’ll see, honey. You know how busy I am…” she trailed off the cell phone tinkled. “Hello?.. Darling…? How marvellous! We simply must go shopping… it’s been such ages! Thursday?”

The girl’s head jerked up anxiously, her fair pigtails bobbing.

“But Mommy, the play is on Thursday…”

“Oh, for God’s sake, don’t interrupt when I’m on the phone!… Yes, Maurie… Thursday afternoon.. Mm-hmm?.. Lovely… Goodbye, dear!”

The girl pushed the sand harder. The sunlight shone on her suddenly white face.

“Mummy, won’t you come?”

Her good mood restored, the woman replied, “Of course I will, sweetie… I did last time, didn’t I?”

“You didn’t”, the child said whispered fiercely. “Grandma did.”

Something in her voice made the woman look at her.

“That’s right.. I didn’t, didn’t I?… but I had this concert I simply couldn’t miss!” She pulled out a candy bar. “Here you go, for being a perfect dear today.”

The child took the bar and silently laid it next to her, without so much as a second glance.

Her eyes fixed on the uneven walls of the sand castle, she asked, her voice wobbling, “Mummy, you’ll come, won’t you?

“I’ll try, I told you I’ll try…” the woman replied distractedly. She took off her sunglasses, and shut the magazine.

“Guess what I’m playing?” the child asked, hopefully, looking up from her castle.

“Hmmm?” The cell phone began ringing again and the woman answered it with a sudden trill in her voice. “Jenny, honey, Thursday afternoon!” She began walking back. “You must, Maurie’s coming too… Oh, darling, what fun it’ll be!..”

Her voice faded into the distance. The little girl sat quietly, her tiny figure silhouetted against the vast sea, her hands stilled.

“I’m playing Tinker Bell, mommy”, she whispered, her face crunching as tears poured down her pink cheeks.

The candy bar lay unwrapped by her side, half buried in the sand, the $1 ticker on it gleaming in the sunlight.

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9 thoughts on “A Dollar, My Love…

  1. Nice writing, as usual. 🙂

    It’s at the level I’d expect from you, so you’re going to have to get used to me not giving you super compliments for every write. 🙂

    There were/are a few typos and missing words. I think you’d be able to catch them if you re-read it. 🙂

  2. The dad not having time for his girl. The mom not having time for her girl. Two stories. Are we generalising and extending a trend that is dying away or am I in some utopia land? Aren’t next gen moms and dads trying to make a change here? I am seeing people around me quit jobs, give up careers (moms), go home early, spend sundays with the child (dads) – even though this is still biased, with the lady giving up the career!

    Oh, please don’t expect any picturization of trends. It’s fiction for a reason – take it with a pinch of salt! Either way, not sure I’ve seen enough couples to be able to comment intelligently on this.
    – Ramaa

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