Short Stories, Love Stories: Short Story Based on an Image of a Tire Swing

Everyone loves a love story. Women go weak in the knees at the thought of Brad Pitt playing a role where he falls in love with the movie’s heroine. Tough guys who relate to celebs such as Sylvester Stallone secretly cheer when a character like Rocky Balboa wins the girl’s hand. Face it … they won’t admit it, but even tough guys have a heart.

This particular short story, based on an image of a tire swing, will capture the imagination and touch your soul. Whether you’re a man or a woman–and despite the fact that it doesn’t involve Brad Pitt, Sylvester Stallone, or any other celebs–you’ll remember the story long after.

A Shadow of a Life

The warm summer wind keened softly as it blew through the branches of the dead elm. The old tire–suspended by a chain on a thick limb–swung for a second, and then stopped as Katherine’s slender fingers caressed it.

A tear slid down her cheek and her voice choked, “Brady, where are you? Why didn’t you come back to me?” She climbed onto the tire and swung back and forth like they’d done as children. Only this time there were no giggles, no sounds of joy–just the breeze, drying her tears.

“You promised! You promised when you received your activation notice that you’d live through it.” Her voice inched up a notch, and her brown eyes took on an unnatural glitter. “You weren’t supposed to go missing in action. I was pregnant! How could you leave me behind? I hate you, Brady!”

But, she knew that wasn’t true. Katherine only hated the life she now lived … a shadow of a life that barely resembled the joy and happiness she’d felt before he’d gone to war.

The sound of footsteps caught her attention; she jumped from the swing and turned to see a handsome man dressed in military attire, walking toward her. She held her breath, hoping that he’d returned. “Brady?” she whispered, hardly daring to say his name for fear it would break the spell. “Is it really you?”

He leaned against a crooked fence post near the swing, and gave a sad smile, almost seeming to look right through her. “After all this time, I hope you still love me,” he said. A tear coursed down his face, leaving a streak that she reached out to trace.

He stepped away and Katherine’s breath caught in her throat. He seemed so different from when he’d left. Similar to the Brady she’d grown up with, fallen in live with … and yet … not quite the same.

He nodded toward the distance. “I’m not home for good … just on leave. We’re shipping out for Afghanistan in two days, and I’m not sure how it’ll turn out. But, I want to make you proud–both you and Daddy. I read the letters you sent him in Vietnam. I know how much you loved him, Mama. If only you hadn’t died two years after I was born, you’d have been here at the swing to welcome him home as a POW and a hero.”

He cleared his throat. “Daddy always told me if I ever needed you, I’d find you here. And if there was ever a time I needed you, it’s now, Mama.”

Katherine’s eyes widened with sudden understanding. She reached out and wrapped her arms around him, whispered courage to him, promised him that he would return home again. And as Sgt. Brady Larsen, Jr. turned and walked back down the road, his mother’s spirit finally rested in peace–comforted with the knowledge that both her husband, and the son who looked so much like him, still loved her.

Other Stories by this Contributor:
Scary, Spooky, Mystery Story–Bodies in the Basement
Fiction Stories: Scary Story About a Woman Jogger and a Hitchhiker
Children’s Short Story: Funny Mystery Story for Kids About a Missing Jar of Peanut Butter
And more….

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