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"Still"

Excerpt from the unfinished novel, Leaving September

continued from last month

By Sandra, Xanii@aol.com

"Mama?! How come we don't get to go to Ms. M'Taii's house no more?"

Ashley packed sand into her bucket and turned it upside down to add to her growing hill. Sam sat back on her heels a distance away picking shells for the sand sculpture she was helping Ashley with.

"Well..." Sam stood and walked over to the massive mound and started placing shells all over. Ashley walked to her and grabbed a small handful of her own shells from what Sam had in her hand and pressed them into the soft sandy mound.

"... sometimes people get mad at each other and they have to spend time apart."

"Like when I have to time out?"

"Kinda... yeah. Why do you ask sweetie?"

Ashley tugged on the back of her canvas hat and dug her heel into the sand.

"Cause you don't sing no more. When we used to go there you used to sing all the time." She looked into her mothers face and watched for any signs that she was going to lose her temper again. Quickly she looked around for her Grandpa in case she had to run for cover.

Sam took the last of the shells and covered her area, then stood and went to look for more. Ashley followed cautiously behind.

"If Ms.M'Taii kisses you again, will that make you sing?" She had her hand on the top of her hat and looked up at Sam. Sam crouched down next to her and they began looking for shells together.

"I'm not sure Ashley."

"I think it would. Whenever you give me a kiss on my boo boo that makes me feel better."

"Sometimes, some boo boo's can't get fixed with a kiss sweetie."

"But Mama, don't you miss her? I miss her a lot!" Ashley ran her small finger through the wet sand and unearthed a small crab. She stopped and patted it back underground.

"Oh honey, I'm sorry you miss M'Taii." She stroked Ashley's back and kissed her forehead.

"Hey Ashley!! I bought you guys some sherbet, how bout you go to the towel and keep it company for a minute?"

"Mmmm Grandpa, sherbet? Yeah!!!"

Sam watched as Ashley dove on the towel and peeled back the top to the sherbet.

"Why don't you call her Sam?"

"Dad...for what?"

"Because you and the kid are miserable and I'm afraid you might just go ballistic one day."

"It's not that simple."

"Nothing is simple or we would all have what we all wanted."

"You should be the last one to be on her side."

"Why? Because she wants to date you? I'm here for you and the kid, whatever that entails, I'm in for the count. I'm too old to be telling you what's right or wrong, that's for you to hash out. One thing I do know, if you and the kid are happy, then so am I."

With that, he left and joined Ashley with the tub of sherbet.

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