Little Jim was uncomfortable as he drove the teeny rental car to his childhood home. The fact that he had specified a full size SUV when reserving the car the week prior did not seem to faze the small freckle faced, red-haired girl behind the counter.
“We don’t have any SUVs sir. There must have been a mistake on the booking site. It really is a nice car though,” she informed him cheerfully from behind the counter.
Little Jim grumbled some not nice things under his breath that the girl either didn’t hear or pretended not to.
“Here are the keys,” she prompted with a smile. “If you need anything else, just let me know.”
He took the keys with a mumbled thanks and made his way to the rental lot, pulling his suitcase behind. At the car he realized that it was nice, if you were a 90 pound girl. This was why he had left, and why he had not been back in over the past five years. There was nothing to hold him here. That statement was truer now than it was when he had left. He was home now…too late. Now that he was here, he was beginning to regret his absence. There was nothing in this little town, though, and nothing he could do about it now.
Little Jim had never been little. He had been given the Little tag to differentiate him from his father, who had also bore the name Jim. It could have been worse. He could have been Junior. He shuddered at the thought and regretted it immediately as the seatbelt buckle cut into his hip, causing him to curse the little car.
Readjusting himself, he drove on toward home. After this week, he would never come back here. He would bury his father in the small cemetery, beneath the large oak where his mother was put to rest ten years earlier. Big Jim, as people almost ironically took to calling his slim dad after Little Jim was born, had died almost to the day his wife had ten years before him.
His death was somewhat of a mystery to everyone in the small town as he hadn’t had any real health problems. For a man in his early 70s, he was as healthy as could be. Some said that he was just ready to go. That he missed his wife so bad that living had lost its zeal. Little Jim didn’t buy into that superstitious mumbo jumbo. Small town people liked to talk. It gave them something to do, so he would let them talk. There was a perfectly reasonable explanation for his father’s death, even if he didn’t know what it was.
Prying himself from the miniature automobile, Little Jim found himself standing in front of his childhood home. It needed work. That much he could see from here. The paint, once bright white, was dingy and bore a craquelure that was evident from the yard, giving the whole house something of a Humpty Dumpty after falling from the wall look.
Running his hand over the paint deepened the cracks causing some to flake off and flutter to the ground. It left chalky white residue on his fingertips that stained his pants as he wiped his hands over them. Little Jim shook his head and wondered why anyone would want to buy the old place, counted his blessings that they did, and missed his mom and dad immensely, before returning to the matchbox sized car to drag his suitcase out and into the house.
Short Tuesday is a little something I try to do on Tuesdays! Sorry, couldn’t help it. Anyway, I take a word, a word like craquelure and write a short story with it. The words typically come from Dictionary.com’s word of the day e-mails that show up in my inbox every morning, but aren’t limited to them.
I hope you enjoyed reading my Short, and feel free to come back anytime.