Happy holidays, everyone! This is my contribution to the Eight Ladies 2015 Christmas short story challenge featuring words from Elizabeth’s writing sprints holiday edition. I find it interesting that all of our stories, while using the same words, go in such different directions! As this is my first foray into short storytelling, I’m a bit anxious, but I hope you enjoy it!
Faith lay sprawled on her back across her bed, staring up at the enormous stuffed giraffe that had been parked in the corner of her matchbox-sized room since she was five. Probably time to trash it. But it was the only thing she still had from her daddy. Momma had tossed everything else he’d ever given to her when she found him in bed with that skanky waitress. Faith had begged and pleaded with Momma to let her keep the giraffe. Momma agreed, but she didn’t like it. Mamaw and Pappy were never so glad as when daddy left. Pappy even fired off his shotgun several times in celebration.
But his leaving had broken Faith’s heart. And her trust in men.
Cowboy Casanova blared from her speakers, but she didn’t hear the words. She also didn’t hear her momma hollering through the thin trailer walls to keep it down. When her daddy had left, he’d gone to New York City and managed to get a job as a police officer…on horseback, if she were to believe him. Fourteen years and a week later, he’d called talkin’ about how much she was the love of his life. Said it was time to mend fences. Not his and Momma’s, of course, but theirs. He had even invited her to visit him.
Momma didn’t know about his call. Or the invite. If she did, she’d surely pop like a firecracker. Faith wasn’t sure she wanted to go. If she listened to the stories Mamaw and Pappy told her about her daddy, she would be inviting heartbreak. He was the villain in their eyes, but Faith knew her mother. Always flirting. Always carrying on. Always asking for trouble. She was no saint. She probably drove her daddy away, same as she had the scores of men who had followed in his wake.
There was only one way to find out if her daddy was worth knowing.
Faith rolled off her bed and stood. She rubbed the fake-velvet nose of her carnival-prize giraffe like they rubbed Howard’s Rock before a football game, then mashed STOP on her MP3 player. After dumping that and the dog-eared book of poetry Momma had given her into her already-packed oversized duffle, she zipped it up.
She stood, looking around at the room that had been her home for nearly twenty years, then took a deep breath and opened her bedroom door.
“Momma. I’m takin’ a trip.”