wordwhacker: (NaNo 2008)
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Written for word 139 over at [livejournal.com profile] 15_minute_fic.

Been a while since I've done one of these.


All I Can Give You (flash, 459 words)


Cathy stopped talking, or rather let the words peter out and be replaced by the thrum of the highway. She looked over at her daughter. Jenny's face was turned toward the passenger side window and only the roundness of her cheek and the tips of her long lashes were visible to her, slightly hidden behind long wisps of hair. She was a woman and a girl, that awkward place in between. Cathy remembered what that was like - better than she would have readily admitted, in fact - but for some reason she wasn't able to talk around the age barrier.

"What are you thinking about, hon?"

Jenny shrugged and swiped at the stray hairs, tucking them behind her ear. "Nothing."

"You want to stop for lunch soon?"

"Sure, I guess."

"What would you like?"

She turned her head just enough to catch Cathy's eye. "McDonald's?" There was a note of hope in her voice.

Cathy rolled her eyes. "You can go to McDonald's any time. Wouldn't you rather try something more... rustic?"

"Rustic like what?"

"Like a little mom and pop place. McCreedy's Diner, maybe. We can get off at the next exit, take a little drive into Hampton."

Jenny grimaced. "I dunno."

"It's just as bad for you as McDonald's. A real greasy spoon."

"A what?" Jenny sat up and looked at her mother with a mixture of pleasure and disgust that keenly reminded Cathy of what it was like to be twelve. "A greasy what?"

"A greasy spoon. It means a place that has really fatty foods."

"Oh. Why a spoon?"

Cathy shrugged. "I have no idea. Maybe it's the opposite of a silver spoon. You've heard that expression, right?"

"So the rich people get to eat off a silver spoon and the poor people get a greasy spoon."

"Something like that."

Cathy took the next exit and they wound their way through the town of Hampton. When she'd been younger and married for the first time Cathy had lived there for a while. She pointed to a little picnic area next to a park.

"You remember Fred?"

"Yeah."

"That's where we had our pictures taken after we got married."

"Oh." She didn't sound impressed, but her eyes moved to the spot and she watched it as they drove past. McCreedy's was only a few blocks away. Cathy pulled into a parking space.

"Mum - would you do it again?"

"What, hon?"

"Marry Fred."

Cathy let out a slow breath. "I don't know, hon. There were good things about getting married to Fred, even if there were more bad things. I think those few things were worth it."

"More words of wisdom?" Jenny said, rolling her eyes.

Cathy smiled. "They're all I can give you."

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