Age: 13, Grade: 8
School Name: Packer Collegiate Institute, Brooklyn, NY
Educator: Todd Johnson
Category: Flash Fiction
My stairs echo my family’s footsteps throughout the entire house. Each morning I skip down them, a new rhythm in my head every time. One that slows each time I stop to admire something- which is often. I listen to my brother’s strong runner’s feet pattering. Tapping the floor. Running to my room to tell me that my alarm is on too loud. I listen to the strong and brisk footsteps of my mom – she walks fast because she always knows where she is going, and can not wait for the world to catch up.
But my dad likes to take his time. He holds his briefcase in one hand, and my hand in his other. We walk home together because it is late and it is dark. Mom says bad things happen to girls when it’s late and it’s dark. My dad takes long steps. He holds his head up. Staring ahead at the crosslights. Daring them to stop him from crossing. He may look strong and mean, but I know that he wanders. Like me. He often doesn’t know where he’s going. But he walks anyway. And he stops too. To look at things. To admire things. To admire the moon. To admire the stars. To admire the trees. And when we walk together, I can feel his steps as my own, his strong hand shielding mine, his loud footsteps like drums scaring away anything in our path so it is just me and him. And the sound of our footsteps.