Not Far From The Tree (209 words)
“God, Dad, you’re such an a-hole.”
He watched his son storm off, all thunder and lightning. Seems it was always that way lately, always gray where he and his eldest were concerned.
When had the clouds come? When had the sun stopped shining? When had the ground beneath them cracked, shifted, to become a barren, parched landscape of lost moments, dying of thirst in spite of the insults and epithets that rained down daily?
Sometimes, just for an instant, he saw him again as a baby, crawling away with such delight, only to turn and cry because he’d gotten too far. Or as a toddler, racing free across the playground, only to demand daddy’s help on the slide or the swings. Even as a grade schooler, his son would come to him, seeking shelter from the bullies.
When had the weather changed?
He wished he had an olive branch to offer, some shade from the storm.
His colleagues assured him these tempests were normal, that eventually all would settle down again, that calm waters would return.
He knew they were wrong. He knew if he couldn’t fix this, couldn’t shore up their crumbling relationship, one day, his son would walk away and not come back.
Just as he had.
This week’s required Flash Friday Fiction element was to focus on conflict, specifically a man-to-man conflict, incorporating the photo prompt (literally or figuratively) into a 200 (+/-10) word story. I opted for man-to-almost-man. What do you think of my efforts?
I hope you’ll join us over on the official Flash Friday site, where you can read (and comment on) others’ entries, as well as check out the fabulous tales from weeks past.