Henrietta Maddox Webloner

Making Happy
June 16, 2011, 10:49 pm
Filed under: Telling stories, Writing | Tags:

Illuminated whizzing wheels of gold mesmerised the crowds that stood in wads of mud anticipating more. Wows and cheers from the audience coalesced into an amplified sound each time the multiple bursts of colour exploded through the sky. The display got everyone’s attention successfully except for one overwrought man and, beside him, a little girl with arms crossed holding a sulky expression of contempt.

Harry thought celebrating Guy Fawkes Night would give his daughter a chance to come out of herself; reconnect with other children and with him. But since her mother’s death she didn’t show interest in anything. Weary eyed, he looked down at his little girl, “Isn’t this great, Ems?” he said, desperately trying to fashion a smile, “Aren’t you happy we got out into this fresh air?”

“It’s too cold. I want to go home.”

“It will all be over soon. Don’t you want to see the final display?” he said.

“Is Aunty Hannah coming?”

Offering a white lie, Harry told her that his sister in law couldn’t come because she was too tired. The truth being that since his wife’s death, Hannah and Harry argued constantly over the best thing for Emily’s future. For Hannah, her niece coming to live with her in France was the most practical option. Harry wanted Emily with him but couldn’t make a decision yet, fearing he wouldn’t be able to bring her up to her full potential. Every time he even looked at Emily his head filled with anxious susurrations.

“Please, Daddy, can we go now? I want to play at home.” she whinged, the winds scrambling her hair across her face.

A riotous spark shot through the air with a shrill whistle as Harry finally threw his hat into a puddle and shouted, “For fff..floosies sake, Emily, we’re staying here till the end.”

The winds changed to reveal something worse than a strop; vulnerable little Emily staring at him with blank, confused eyes, barely holding back the trembling pools of tears. It made him feel like a big oaf for losing his temper. He went to comfort her but his welly got stuck in the mire. Before he could gain balance his foot slipped out of the overlarge rubber boot. Trying to avoid shoving it in the sludge, he fell face first into it, instead.

Ungracefully struggling to get up from the slippery gloop, he felt two little hands softly grasp his arm. His face softened when he saw Emily smiling at him, helping him up. Just managing to stand, now covered in mud, he felt a surge of lightness permeate in his chest. Smiling at his giggling daughter as he reluctantly shoved his foot back in its welly, he said, “You know, I’ve just had an idea.” He reached out to her.

Pausing for a few moments, Emily looked at his hand with a pensive gaze, before grabbing it with both of her little mittens. They bought a box of sparklers and found a space to light them up. Harry went first and wrote her name in big letters and drew cartoon pictures of dogs and old men with big noses to make her laugh.

“Look, Daddy.” She shouted, wanting to show off her own skills. An anchor of his eternal love for his wife, Emily emanated back at him. As she drew a big, bright heart midair with her sparkler, he realised she belonged with him.

© Vicky Bigmore 2011


This piece was inspired by two tweeters from the #fridayflash group: Icy Sedgwick and John Wiswell.

John recently wrote a post on Happy Endings.

And Icy Sedgwick with her photo prompt 37: light trail (photo above). All photo prompts are her own photography – you can find more of it on Flickr. You can also buy Icy’s prints from Deviantart. 20% of all proceeds go to charity – the other 80% go towards her PhD fees!


17 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I know how the father character feels, it is just me and my daughter as we make a life for ourselves.
Great write that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Comment by Trevor

Sweet story! I love it.

Comment by Sonia Lal

Nice sweet story, father and daughter finally connect after a tragic loss. Well written.

Comment by Helen

Aw this was a beautiful story. Amazing that such a simple thing can really connect two people. Wonderful!

Comment by Icy Sedgwick

I can’t believe he would even consider not staying with his daughter. At first, I thought it was that he didn’t want to move to France, not that he would send her without moving himself! The poor girl just lost her mother, and they need each others! She can’t lose BOTH parents!

I’m glad there was a happy ending, and they were able to connect in the end. Nicely done.

Comment by ganymeder

Sweet story. Icy and John are great inspirers.

Comment by ~Tim

Nothing like a good pratfall to get a child laughing! Great job sketching the bereaved father agonizing over what the best thing was for his daughter. I’m glad he decided to keep her with him.

Comment by FARfetched

What a wonderful way to show how connecting with our children can bring them closer to us. Love the story:)

Comment by Tania Dakka

Aw, she hearts her dad! A good night for recovery.

Comment by John Wiswell

Very appropriate flash for father’s day. Very touching. Nice to see them reconnect.

Comment by laradunning

A lovely warm piece – found myself cheering

Comment by Glen

Nice story. Could you please publish this writing on our new Twitter application http://twimagination.com? It would be so great to see your story there!

Comment by twimagination.com

Such a touching story! The happy ending was perfect here. I love it when something totally unexpected breaks the ice in a tense situation.

Comment by Chuck Allen

This was so well tied to the everyday experiences of life and the fragility of relationship between father and daughter. I loved the opening paragraph and the description of the fireworks in contrast to the closeness of father and daughter in the last. Beautiful.
Adam B @revhappiness

Comment by adampb

Sniff – great story you almost had me in tears – glad it had a happy ending, wonderfully told

Comment by brainhaze

A really nice little moment captured with simplicity and feeling. You laid the groundwork of a whole family in so few words but it left me feeling like I really knew what had happened to them all.

Comment by Dominic Perry

This is so beautiful, it actually made my eyes fill with tears. Love it.

Comment by Rebecca Emin

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