This week’s offering began with a prompt to write about a teen with a newly discovered superpower. Fun!
Families. They’re all weird in their own special ways. Take mine for example: very small—just me and Dad; with one major phobia—salt water. But I was about to break free of the family taboo. I couldn’t wait!
I settled my backpack on my shoulders, slipped into the crowded, narrow aisle of the economy section of the 737 airplane, and followed Emma toward the exit. The air was stale, heavy with competing perfumes and the smell of tightly packed people. My stomach jumped and rumbled, partly with excitement, but mainly from hunger. My bacon and egg breakfast had been hours ago and the meager cup of apple juice on the flight had only made me hungrier.
People ahead of me jostled around in the tight space retrieving carry-on bags and cases from white plastic overhead bins. I watched in amazement as rolling carts were jerked from the compartments and lowered to the aisle, often missing other passengers’ heads by inches. Slowly the line ahead of me settled and shuffled forward.
I’d never flown before. I’d heard friends talk about the crowded conditions on flights, but I’d never imagined this. Total cattle car!
Still, I couldn’t believe my luck. When my best friend in the whole world, Emma Walker, had invited me to come with her family to Portland, Oregon, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven! Then reality rushed in and killed the happy glow. Dad would never allow it.
I’d spent my whole life in Wichita, Kansas, as far from salt water as Mom and Dad could manage and still live in the continental United States. I knew all about wheat farming and cattle ranching, but I’d only seen the ocean in television shows and movies.
Mom’s phobia of salt water was over the top. I never knew why; she wouldn’t talk about it. I supposed Dad knew, but his lips were sealed too. Maybe she was attacked by a shark as a child. At this point, I’d never know. She died in a car accident when I was ten.
After Dad and I recovered from the shock of our loss, I thought maybe he’d relent on the family phobia. Maybe we could drive down to Corpus Christi, Texas like my friends’ families and I could swim in the Gulf of Mexico. But no. Dad continued Mom’s vendetta against the sea.
No superpower in evidence yet, but I can see the clues. Can you?