Two! Two prompt weeks in one post! The prompts are: 1) everything, except the last thing, 2) it’s tragic, 3) rows and rows, 4) outside, 5) just ice, 6) Hi, Mom.
Got all but one in. That is, unless you consider its implication and/or its opposite connotation.
“Sorry, kiddo. I didn’t recognize the number.”
“I, ah, borrowed a friend’s phone.”
“OK. So, what’s up?”
“Nothin’. Just, standing here, looking at the tulips. It made me think of you, so I thought I’d call.”
“How nice!” Darlene said as casually as she could, trying to mask her mother’s gut reaction that something was wrong. Her mind quickly picked through the incongruities of everything Jack said, especially the last bit. Calling wasn’t his thing. She typically called him.
“Yeah, like, it’s really amazing. There’s rows and rows of them. And, like they are all one color. Like, each field is, like, red, and then yellow, and then pink, ya know? Not, like all mixed up. You’d love it.”
A surprising thought hit her. “Are you in Skagit? At the Tulip Festival?”
The very picture of her son—who dressed perpetually in black and combat boots, colored his long hair a deep blue tint, wore black liner around his eyes, signed his name ‘JX’, and played bass in a Death Metal band called Sux Offal—doing anything ‘outdoorsy’ was one thing, never mind in the midst of every retired suburban grandmother in the state that went by the busload to the Skagit every year to meander around the tulip fields and shop in the nearby towns’ tourist shops. It was almost more than she could process.
“Hey! Don’t get all tragic on me!” Jack scolded, sensing his mother’s confusion.
“I’m not! It’s just… well, you don’t … OK, right? I’m confused! Are you OK? HA! Yes, I asked, OK?”
Darlene heard Jack chuckle. It made her heart practically soar. Her mind flashed to a memory of playful boy of six rolling on the living room floor in a fit of giggles.
“Mom, chills it, OK? So, like, I’m here with a friend. Her name,” Jack said with particular emphasis, “is Betty.” Darlene heard a girl’s voice in the background. “OK, it’s not actually ‘Betty,’ OK? The name her parents gave her is Ashley, but she hates that. She goes with Betty.”
Before Darlene could respond, the young woman’s voice she heard in the background said hello. Darlene paused just a moment and then said, “You got Jack to go to the Tulip Festival?”
She could hear girl’s smile from the other end of the phone. “I did.” the girld replied, with every bit of cheerful confidence Darlene needed to hear.
“Brava, my girl. Brava.”