Bar-B-Q Goodbyes

This short story was entered in a competition. I didn’t win nor was I a runner-up. But I had fun writing it.

To read about the competition go here

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It was only a small ceramic jar, but it reminded her of that summer back in 1968 when her father had come home from work and announced that they were going to have a Bar-B-Q. She loved it when her father did these spontaneous things.

The jar had been a Christmas gift from someone at her mother’s workplace and it sat at the back of the cupboard gathering dust. Today however, her father had reached for it, taking the lid with its attached brush out and tickling her cheeks with it. He chuckled as she wriggled and squirmed, loving his attention but begging for him to stop.

He opened the bottle of Bar-B-Q sauce and handed it to her. “Go ahead, Peanut”, he said, using his nickname for her. “Pour it in”. He always made her feel so important. She felt sorry for her friends. Their fathers were off in some foreign country called Vietnam. Who cooked their Bar-B-Qs?

Hamburgers, Hot dogs, some Spareribs with the sauce smeared all over them, all cooked to perfection. “Daddy, this is so good. I love you!” she squealed.

Later, after a scrumptious dessert of toasted marshmallows that were browned over the dying embers she darted about, chasing fireflies and taking each one back to where her parents sat and showing them to her father. He would smile and peek through her fingers then gently pull open her hands and let them go. She in turn would pout playfully and stretch up to kiss his cheek.

“Peanut, time for you to get your PJs on! Then you and I need to have a chat.” he said. She bounced off towards her bedroom leaving her parents murmuring quietly. Soon she was back, scrambling up onto her father’s lap and snuggling as close as she could.

He cleared his throat and spoke softly. He knew what he had to say would bring tears but he had no choice, it was his duty. “Peanut, I have to go away for a while.” She looked up at him, her brow furrowed as she thought about this. “Where are you going Daddy? Is it someplace nice? Will you bring me a surprise when you come home?” He did his best to smile and hugged her tight. “Sure Peanut, I’ll find something special, just for you. Now off you go to bed and I’ll come tuck you in soon.”

Off she ran, leaping up onto her bed and curling up. She loved Daddy tucking her in at night, he always checked under the bed for monsters and they shared butterfly kisses. Tonight though, he came in, pulled the covers up and sat down on the edge of the bed. He smiled, hugged her tight, kissed her nose and told her that he would see her before her birthday then turned out the light and went back to sit with her mother.

The small ceramic jar would always remind her of him. It was their last supper together.

~submitted 13 Oct 2009

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