Are You Okay, Annie? 

Based on true story

I was crying in the corner like a child in time-out when someone placed their hand on my shoulder, asking in a high-pitched voice, “Annie, are you okay? Are you okay? Are you okay, Annie?”

“No, I’m not okay!”

“What’s wrong?”

“I just fussed at a kid in the clinic. It’s probably gonna cost me my job.”

“What happened?”

“This kid has a special voice disorder, which causes her to repeat stuff.”

“This is what Speech Pathology is all about, Annie.”

“You don’t understand. The thing the kid keeps repeating is “You won’t stay little forever.”

“So.”

“That’s what my mommy use to always tell me when I was a little girl, before she … before she …”

The tears maybe blinded me from seeing who I was talking to, but they didn’t make me deaf to what they said next.

“Well, Annie, you gotta do something dramatic to make that child repeat something else. Some other sentence. You can do it ! You can do it! You hear? Annie, you can do it!”

I showed the kid Good Ole Betsy, the car I’m living in. All of my things are in there: clothes; shoes; underwear.

Then I showed the kid a physical address, a place where my grandma lived before moving back to New Jersey. An address that’s on my license. A home my job has no clue a soul lives in.

Next I showed the kid a random public restroom, a place I hope no one walks into while I’m taking a wash-up.

Lastly, I showed the kid a 24 hour coffee shop, a place where I read and work on stuff that I’ve been putting off. A place where I fight sleep, something I lacked for the past 2 weeks. I like to think that I’m head-butting sleep as my head bobs forward. Aha!

“What do you got to say now, kid? Does this look like something a child would go through? I wish I was still that little girl, but I’m not, and I’m going through some real trials and tribulations. Some real adult shit! What do you got to say now?”

“…”

“Nothing, huh?”

Then as I’m turning away, I hear …

“Your mommy loves you!”

“Who said that?!”

I start looking at other customers in the coffee shop. But it wasn’t them!

“Your mommy loves you!”

It was the kid.

“Whaa-whaa-what are you saying?!”

“Your mommy loves you!”

The little girl took my hand and walked me outside the coffee shop. She points at the sky. I see a shooting star. The little girl is jerking her finger back and forth as if to say, “Follow it.”  Call me cray cray, but I jumped in Betsy. I almost had a few accidents because I was looking at the sky more than the road.

Where is it? Boom! I heard a loud crash! Oh my God! Did it land?! I followed the noise and the long black smoke trail. I didn’t wanna get too close because I knew I would be getting out the car. It conveniently started raining, which extinguished the fire. Side by side, holding hands, me and the little girl walked closer to the crash site, a grassy field, but still kept a safe distance. We waited. And waited.  Then waited some more.

“Your mommy loves you!”

“How did you throw your voice like that? It didn’t sound like you were standing right next to me; sounded like you were a few feet in front of …

The last thing I remembered before the tears blinded me was the little girl excitedly jumping up and down, violently jerking her fingers back and forth, pointing at something … or someone!

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One thought on “Are You Okay, Annie? ”

  1. One of the better short stories I wrote. I actually had tears in my eyes writing this. The turnaround was incredible; the idea came Sunday. It’s amazing the extra effort I put into my writing when it’s for a particular person. I notice every time I write with someone in mind, instead of a faceless audience, it comes out great. Example: Those two news stories requested by Ms. Me; Passport Bear. I believe it’s because I don’t wanna let them down. She said she loved it. I need to write with a set reader in mind more.

    My original idea was to have people deduce the protagonist was homeless. They would take some money out of their pocket, and as they walked into her direction, they would hear a voice from above. The person then drops to their knees, praying. They would put the money back in their pocket and walk away. At the end I would reveal who that voice was and why it told the people to help her with prayer instead of dollars.

    P. S. I miss drawing comics😢

    Liked by 1 person

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