(About 1000 words)
“You sure you’ll be okay, honey?”
Danny looked up from his copy of The Secret Garden. Again. He smiled and nodded. Again.
“Come on, Winnie! The market closes in an hour and a half!” His dad called from the other room.
“Coming!” She looked at her son. They’d be back in an hour or so, sure, but this was the first time they were leaving him alone. She had every right to be worried.
“There’s some leftover meatloaf in the microwave if you get hungry,” she said for the twentieth time, “and remember—”
“Don’t let in strangers, don’t go out into the backyard, and if Doormat barks, only check from the balcony. I remember, mom.”
Winnie smiled. Her little boy was growing up fast. It seemed like yesterday that she was teaching him to say his name.
Meanwhile, John came in. “Winnie, let’s go.”
“I was coming, just—”
“Danny’s a big boy now.” He went in and ruffled his son’s hair. “Almost eight, am I right?”
“Yes, daddy.” He smiled.
“You be good, Dan.”
Danny saw them off and bolted the door. Their deep blue Chevy screeched away and finally, for the first time ever, he was alone.