Justine: Short Story — The Trip

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!

giraffeFaith 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.”

12 thoughts on “Justine: Short Story — The Trip

    • Thanks, Kay. I drew on all the time I spent living in South Carolina and Georgia. Like using “mash” instead of “push.” I remember when I first heard that, I did a double-take. “Mash?” But okay, that’s part of living in the south!

    • Thanks, Michaeline. When I was going through the words Elizabeth generated, a stuffed giraffe was the first thing that came to mind. Everything else seemed “southern” to me, and I quickly realized I’d have a girl stuck between girlhood and womanhood.

  1. Nice job, Justine 🙂 . I love that Faith is smart and clear-eyed enough to give her daddy the benefit of the doubt, and strong enough to decide to go see for herself whether he’s worth it. I hope he turns out to be a decent guy.

    • I hope he turns out decent, too. If I ever feel like trying a YA novel, I could use her as the starting character. Seems I’m finding a few different genres for me to try. Perhaps I need a couple different pen names!

  2. Great job, Neen! Faith really ‘feels’ 19; as Michaeline said, she’s part little girl, part young woman ready to strike out on her own.

    • Thanks, Penny! What nice things to say! You’ve given my confidence a great boost! (The other girls did, too, but I’ve been writing with them for years. It’s different coming from a virtual stranger.)

  3. Pingback: Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – Brand New Year! | Eight Ladies Writing

  4. This story is really good if you can write like this maybe you should publish a book and if you already have one out tell me what it is so I can take a look.

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