Waiting for Chelsea
Ann Summerville

Karen gazed out across the Nevada desert. Would he come? Would he bring Chelsea?

She tapped her foot in frustration and asked herself why she allowed him so much control over her feelings-after all they weren't married. The child was a mistake he said and yet every summer he took Chelsea. And every summer Karen worried for a month, paced the floor waiting for the phone call telling her where to pick up her daughter. "This time I'll tell him. Let him know how I feel." Her foot kicked at the loose rocks. "I'll tell him there have to be rules." She bit her lip.

She wondered what he would say when she told him they were going. Leaving Reno-their old life. She reached in the car window and looked at the bright red circles outlining jobs in Los Angeles. Waitressing would be temporary Karen told herself. She would audition, become an actress, they would start again. After all home is where the heart is and Chelsea was all the home she needed. Climbing behind the wheel Karen glanced at the box. Chelsea would love the doll with the red dress, her favorite color. In the mirror she outlined her lips, spread a film of crimson lipstick and ran her hand through blonde curls. A movement in the mirror caught her eye and Karen turned to see a car stop, heard a door slam, and then watched it skid on the gravel before leaving in a cloud of dust. She climbed from the car. Through the dust she saw red-a tiny balloon clutched in a pudgy hand. The confrontation could wait until next summer-Chelsea had come home.

First published: August, 2007
comments to the writer: knob'swriter@iceflow.com