a short story by Joshua Coffman


Soft rain pelted the tin roof as Holly sat in a big comfy bean bag. "Dad?" She started. Her dad looked up, over his glasses, from the work he was doing on his fishing lures.

They were sitting in a little cottage on the side of a large field. A big oak tree stood in the front yard and a dirt road curved around to the neighbors property.

Robins were everywhere. All the worms were looking for a breath of air in the soggy ground and the birds were ready for a feast.

Holly asked, "Can you tell me about Mother again?"

Her dad stood up. He looked like a giant to her. He stretched and sat down on the comfy reading chair on the other side of the room.

"Well, Holly, she was an incredible woman." He started then paused for a moment.

Holly loved these stories. Her mom had died in a car crash 3 years ago. But Dad had so many wonderful stories that it felt, sometimes, like she was still there.

"One time, before you were born, while you were still in Mother's womb, we went to a museum." His voice was like a warm blanket on this rainy day.

She looked out the window and her mind imagined what it would have been like to be in the museum on that day. She also couldn't remember what happened in this story. She couldn't remember if she ever heard this story before.

"Wait." She interrupted. "Did you ever tell me this story before?"

"No" and a mischievous grin spread across her dad's face.

She sat up a little because she wanted to make sure that she heard every word.

He continued, as the rain fell and as the robins hopped around the yard. "I remember, it was spring time. The air smelled so good outside. We were walking around the museum for maybe an hour and Mother told me she was getting thirsty."

A squirrel darted across the yard and scampered up the oak tree.

"Wait, what museum was it?" Holly questioned.

"It was the National Museum of Electricity. We were visiting because they had just made an exhibit of one of the satellites I had helped program."

"What's a saddle light?"

"A satellite is tiny plane way out in space that flies by itself around the earth." He shifted in his chair and continued. "We started walking to the gift center because I was pretty sure that they had some water bottles or something Mother could drink."

"When we got to the front of the museum there was a little coffee shop, stand thingy-majig. I asked the girl who was making the coffee for a water bottle. She started to scan it into the cash register when Mother quietly asked for a second one."

"I thought to myself, 'oh, maybe she thinks I forgot she was the thirsty one.' I told the girl that we actually wanted two of them and she reached back into the cooler to grab another one. We paid and as we walked away, Mother grabbed both the water bottles."

"It didn't really make sense to me because I thought it made sense, one for me and one for her. So I said, 'hey, can I have my water bottle?' She said, 'oh, this one is for me and this one is for Holly.' Then she started running for the door!"

Holly laughed at the thought of Mother running through a museum, it made her think of the books Mother and Dad always read to her called Curious George. She started to cry.

Her Dad picked her up and carried her back to his chair.

"I miss Mother."

Her Dad held her tight in his arms, "Me too."

As they embraced in the big comfy recliner, the rain continued to drone on, tapping the tin roof and dripping in front of the window steadily.

Her Dad wiped her tears away. "I didn't think she would be so dedicated. She ran right out the door without stopping. I stood there and the cashier looked at me as if I did something wrong."

"I walked out the door and Mother had already disappeared into the parking lot. As I passed the first row of cars she jumped out and tried to scare me. I picked her up and carried her, kind of like I'm holding you now, back to the little car we had."

Holly had become very quiet.

Her Dad paused and let a few more minutes of rain fill their hearts with coziness and comfort.

He continued. "But when we were sitting inside the car, Mother reached inside her purse and pulled out a beautiful homemade card which she handed to me. 'Best Dad Ever.' Your Mother always was encouraging people. She lifted people up. She wrote kind letters and made kind phone calls. She did little things like that for all the people in our life."

It was true, Holly remembered getting little encouraging messages from Mother before she died.

Holly snuggled deeper into her fathers breast. Today she remembered her mother. Today was a good day.