Sand slipping through fingersAnna stood in front of the full length mirror, twisting to get a look at her new bathing suit.  She smoothed her hands down her hips and exposed thighs, a smile on her face.  It was her first bathing suit since giving birth that didn’t have a skirt attached to it.  Months ago, when planning the summer beach trip, she resolved to lose the “baby weight” she’d gained five years ago.  She’d done it.   She would spend the week on the beach, building sand castles, throwing a Frisbee, and playing in the surf with Charlie and not watching from a beach chair, a towel strategically draped over her lower half.  The confidence she lost so many years ago, bubbled to the surface.

She went to the porch and watched as Charlie poured a bucket of sand over Steve’s foot.   He waved at her.   “Look, mom!  Daddy got attacked by a shark and all that’s left is his head!”  Steve exploded out of the sand and chased a screaming and giggling Charlie to the beach house.

“Alright, you two, it’s time for lunch.”

“Aw, mom.”  Charlie hung his head.

“If you want to be big and strong like Daddy, you need to eat.”  Charlie slogged past her and she grabbed him around the chest.  “After lunch, we can build a sandcastle,” she whispered in his ear.

“A big one?”  Charlie asked, his blue eyes wide.

“The biggest sandcastle in the world,” she promised.

Charlie threw his arms around her.  She kissed his cheek and breathed in the scent of salt, sunscreen, and the little boy smell that was Charlie.  He let go, too quickly, and sat down at the table.  Anna sat down and watched as he devoured his sandwich.  “Slow down, kid.  It won’t run away.”  He grinned his toothless grin and then he was off, gathering buckets and shovels.  Anna shook her head and bit into her sandwich.

“Are you sure you should be eating that?” Steve asked.

Anna froze.  “What?”

“It’s not good for your diet.”  Steve said, his mouth full.

Anna put her sandwich down.  “I haven’t eaten today.”

“Oh.  It’s just that it looks like you’ve put on some weight.”

Charlie ran into the room.  “Come on, mom.  Hurry up!”

Steve stood up.  “Come on, sport.  We’ll get started.  Mom will be out when she’s finished eating.”  They jogged out to the edge of the water.

Anna pushed her plate away and walked out onto the porch.  She stood for a moment and went back inside.  She stared at herself in the mirror–her newfound confidence slipping away, as sand through her fingers.  She went to join her family, grabbing her cover-up off the bed as she went.

Write On Edge: Red-Writing-Hood
This post written for the following Red Writing Hood prompt:

It’s the first full week of summer here in New England, so to celebrate, take 450 words and write about sand. Whether it be beaches, backyards, or hourglasses, think sandy thoughts and come back on Friday to link up!


16 comments on “Confidence

  1. *sigh* This strikes such a resounding chord in my heart. In the past, it was other people’s comments would make my confidence wither, but more often than not now, it’s me…a chance glimpse of myself in the mirror, comparing myself to the people around me. Very touching….

  2. Jackhole! I mean, nicely written. Daddy could use some training in manners. Love the “little boy smell”, it says it all doesn’t it? Very well done!

  3. wow ~ powerful words I bet we’ve all heard or imagined fro someone. Nicely done.

  4. Damn, I just want to reach through and smack Steve upside the head. What an ASS!!

    Nicely done. I’m right there with her, staring into that mirror

  5. what an asshole. I’m sorry for my gender and this is fiction. Want me to have Millicent put something in his coffee?

    great descriptions and obviously you evoked the right emotions. well written.

  6. Great exploration of the power a careless word can have!

    • Thanks. He was trying to be helpful. As any woman knows, the LAST person on earth she wants diet or exercise advice from is her husband/boyfriend. Even if they’re more delicate than poor Steve.

  7. Well done. Pulled me into the story and I felt her pain.

  8. Yeah. Kinda rude of Steve! Just goes to show how a few thoughtless words can have so much power. Nice job.

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