This Great Society - Contents




Creative Writing

Illustration: Joel Bentley

"Pattern" Short Story by Linette Schut
Illustration: Joel Bentley

“Dad’s home!” Naomi yells. She runs onto the porch of the farmhouse, excitedly watching her father’s red pickup kick up dust as he avoids the potholes on the long lane. She can’t wait to tell him her latest idea.
          “Dad! Dad!” She skips up to the truck, her bare feet braving the gravel.
          “Hi, honey,” he says, getting out of the truck and wrapping her in a tight hug that lifts her off the ground. “What’s up?”
           “I have a new plan for my life,” she says in her grown-up voice. “I’m going to be an author. I’ve already started my novel.”
           “That’s great, Naomi. I’m sure you’re a great writer. Can I read it?”
           “Not yet, Dad. It still needs a lot of work. But you can read it first when I’m done, I promise.”

She sighs as she looks at the clock. 5:00 a.m. Time to go serve people their breakfast. Another night of no sleep leaves her almost paralyzed. But her father’s work ethic, coursing through her veins, gives her the power to get up, get dressed, and put on a face that is acceptable to the public.
           Throughout the day, as she pours coffee, yells at the cooks, smiles prettily at the regulars, she can’t shake the image of her seven-year-old self hugging her dad, believing anything was possible. She can’t even remember the last time she talked to her dad.
           After work she blows off a coffee date with a girl she cared about once, and presses “ignore” when her latest, super-attractive fling calls. She lies in the fetal position on the couch under a grungy navy fleece blanket with her eyes closed, trying not to think of the bottle of Jack Daniels that is taunting her from the kitchen.

“Naomi, honey, have you been crying?”
           “No, Dad. I’m fine.”
           Eleven-year-old Naomi wipes a trail of tears off her face. Today was the worst day of her life.
           “I don’t believe you. Tell me what’s wrong.”
           “Really, I’m fine. I’m a big girl now, Dad. I can handle stuff.”
           “Tell me anyway.”
           “Ok,” she says, as a new wave of sobs hits, without warning. “James broke up with me. He said I wasn’t good enough for him. He said I was too boring.”
           Her dad sits down on the bed beside her and rubs her leg. “Honey, that boy doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He’s not mature enough to appreciate you or see your worth. You are an incredible girl, Naomi, worthy of all sorts of love.”
           “Thanks Dad. But it still hurts.” She gives him a hug. “Can you leave me alone now? I just need to be by myself.”
           “Sure thing, kiddo,” he says as he walks to the door. “Come downstairs when you’re ready. Mom and I will make your favourite dinner.”


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