Contest #134 winner 🏆

135 comments

Contemporary Fantasy Fiction

She’ll come down when she’s ready.

My mother used to say when you reach the hovering age, it’s important to take your time. Don’t feel as though you need to keep yourself on the ground if your body wants to do something else.

I hit the hovering age at thirteen. The first time I slammed the door in my father’s face, I looked down, and I was three inches off the ground. Always felt useless to me. Not to be able to fly--just hover. So I stopped right away. I didn’t have any interest in being an impractical person. My first boyfriend told me it was a superpower. Some superpower. Outside a haunted house, what good is it? I unslammed my bedroom door that day and my father looked right at me--floating there.

I suppose you think you’re special now, huh?

I didn’t think that.

I didn’t think that at all.

My mother reached the hovering age later than me, but that was a time of suppression. She was promised off to a man she didn’t love, and two minutes before she was set to walk down the aisle, up she went. Only two inches, but it was enough to convince her fiance that she was possessed by a demon, and he took off for parts unknown. A month later she met my father, and he seemed like someone who could handle two inches off the ground if it was presented to him, but it never was again. You hover until you stop. Sometimes it’s in your control, and sometimes you wish you could go back up again, but you can’t.

She always wanted to go back up--just to see the world from a slightly higher vantage point. Mom was five foot three, which I knew she didn’t feel was very respectable. In her mind, she was taller. Deep in the recesses of her psyche, she was tall and blonde and looked like the women at the picture show who were rescued by cowboys and sought after by fine gentlemen in period dramas based on books I was supposed to read in school.

When we closed the coffin on her, she was two and a half inches up off the lining and I thought--

She gained half an inch.

That was all.

My confession to you is this--

I didn’t want a daughter, because I knew.

I knew that sons don’t hover and daughters do, and when I met Oh Henry, I told him that anything goes so long as we never have a daughter.

And dammit, didn’t we have a daughter.

I knew this wasn’t a skipping generation kinda skill, but Oh Henry was a man who had his feet on the ground. I thought that meant maybe the hovering would stay at a minimum if not non-existent. Quite the opposite, in fact. She was younger than me and went higher. My little Jessy Bell. Two-years-old and seven inches high. Oh Henry asked if he should tug on her little polka square dress to bring her back down, but I said what my mother said--

She’ll come down when she’s ready.

But my little girl never seemed to want to come down.

Instead she’d float all around the house. She’d float in the tub while I was giving her a bath. She’d float up past her high chair while I was feeding her fried peaches. She’d levitate at the playground sending all the other kids screaming into the nearby woods. Parts unknown. Just like jumpy grooms and people who don’t understand that a little space between your shoes and the ground isn’t the scariest thing in the world.

Life can offer you way bigger scares than that.

Jessy Bell would hover just up past the swing set and will herself back and forth while I tried to convince her that to sit in a swing can be lovely all by itself. Even at two-years-old, she wouldn’t be brought down. I’d hand her apple slices cut in the shapes of Sesame Street characters and as she was chomping on Grover, I gave her my word that she could stay up as long as she wanted no matter what that meant.

Would the news show up and do a feature on her?

Would the local paper print lies about her being radioactive?

Would a network exec promise her a sitcom that would be poorly written and would her mother be played by the woman who played the wacky detective on Clue Me In?

I put her on the seesaw with me and she saw me get choked up, because I could have prevented all this. I could have taken myself down to the burgundy bedroom carpet when I was thirteen and onto the kitchen linoleum and the green green grass outside on the lawn. I could have tap danced my way to the nearest city and worked as a waitress at a steak restaurant where the special was never salmon and rent an apartment in a building with thin walls and noisy neighbors and never married and never had a daughter and never watched her work her way up faster and higher than I ever could.

She hit the hovering age and just kept going. Past the age I started and stopped and then further on beyond her grandmother’s beginning and end. She had sixteen daughters of her own and each one of them began hovering earlier and earlier. The youngest one was born hovering causing the doctor to have to find a ladder to pull her down from the ceiling.

By then, I was long gone.

Not dead, but living with Oh Henry in a houseboat on Lake Lionel. Every day, I would wake up and try my best to glide across the water. Some days a splash, some a swim. Nobody ever told me that once you choose a gravitational pull, it’s hard to pull back on the science.

It doesn’t stop me from trying though.

Oh Henry scrambles his toast and toasts his eggs every day hoping he’ll hear the sound of a woman he loves walking on water.

He doesn’t know what that sounds like just yet, but one day, he will.

One day I’ll remember the thing about me I tried hardest to forget.

February 25, 2022 07:36

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135 comments

K. Antonio
01:43 Mar 04, 2022

The interpretation of this prompt was sick, but the best part about it was how well developed your main character was. The idea of hovering and how it was linked to the person's emotional state was well-explained, and though this is fantasy everything was laced with such humanity. I enjoyed the read a lot!

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Shea West
16:58 Mar 04, 2022

Kevin is the GOAT.

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Shea West
04:23 Mar 02, 2022

This reminded me of the movie/book Big Fish. It was charming and sweet, but most of all unique and one that feels quite left to interpretation(as your stories are notorious for). I enjoyed that it was only girls that hovered and how each generation seemed to hover sooner than the last. It almost read like a bedtime story too😍 I look forward to your stories Kevin because I cannot truly ever predict where you might take the reader and I appreciate that.

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Penny Nieman
21:02 Mar 09, 2022

So true, I love the movie Big Fish too!

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16:33 Mar 04, 2022

FACTS. x2 on Shea's comment.

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Eliza Entwistle
06:31 Mar 06, 2022

Wow, totally agree - loved this story and I love the movie Big Fish!

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Kevin Broccoli
02:56 Mar 03, 2022

Thank you so much, Shea!

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Riel Rosehill
23:23 Mar 04, 2022

This was such a thrill to read! I don't even know how to put my thoughts into words... Loved it all, well deserved win (congrats!), I mean, just what a brilliant take on the prompt?! And so well-written as well. Loved the premise, the story and the symbolism throughout.

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Kevin Broccoli
23:29 Mar 04, 2022

Thank you so much.

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Zack Powell
16:54 Mar 04, 2022

Congratulations, Kev! Perfect concept and perfect execution here. You've really mastered your prose. I'm happy to see this piece get recognized - it was a lot of fun to read. (Sixteen daughters, LOL.) The ending was very well done. The last two sentences were my favorite. Thanks for sharing this with us.

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Kevin Broccoli
17:05 Mar 04, 2022

Thank you Zack!

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Stella T Morgan
11:40 Mar 03, 2022

I enjoyed the intergenerational element of your story, its sobriety, and the ending was particularly well crafted to bring a nice circular closure. Well done!

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Kevin Broccoli
17:26 Mar 03, 2022

Thank you very much.

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Lily Finch
18:00 Aug 11, 2022

Congratulations Kevin on the win! I enjoyed the hovering becoming sooner and sooner with each generation of girls. Excellent work. I enjoyed this read. Thank you, LF6

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Kevin Broccoli
18:24 Aug 11, 2022

Thank you so much, Lily!

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Rebecca Miles
21:20 May 13, 2022

The title is worthy of a book in itself- gold.

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Kevin Broccoli
22:33 May 13, 2022

Thank you Rebecca!

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Andrea Doig
06:50 May 01, 2022

That was a joyous journey. I really enjoy your writing style. Bring new on this forum, I am working my way through the stories and am really enjoying seeing how people’s different styles carry though all their work. This is one of my favorites so far. Thank you for sharing!

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Kevin Broccoli
01:48 May 02, 2022

Thank you!

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Gareth Hopkins
18:49 Apr 25, 2022

Coming really late to this story (only just joined), but just thought I'd say, I really liked this story. Looking forward to reading more of your stuff.

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Kevin Broccoli
21:13 Apr 25, 2022

Thank you so much, Gareth.

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Steve Uppendahl
05:13 Apr 12, 2022

Oh man, this is badass. Great concept that is almost written poetically. Having four daughters myself, I can almost see this as happening in real life. If only. I also like the fact (at least to me) that only mentally strong men can handle hovering women. I am very envious of your awesome idea and story. So well done. Write on!

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Kevin Broccoli
16:29 Apr 12, 2022

Thank you so much, Steve.

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16:06 Apr 05, 2022

This was an incredible read! It was so gripping and pulled me in with the first line! I absolutely love it.

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Kevin Broccoli
16:11 Apr 05, 2022

Thank you so much.

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Sadika Sharif :)
14:29 Apr 05, 2022

I really loved how brilliantly you took on the prompt!

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Kevin Broccoli
16:11 Apr 05, 2022

Thank you so much.

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Samantha Denise
16:53 Apr 01, 2022

Congratulations on this piece! Also, I'm thrilled she has sixteen daughters haha! Brilliant! The hovering continues and more!

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Kevin Broccoli
17:16 Apr 01, 2022

Thank you Samantha!

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John K Adams
18:33 Mar 24, 2022

This is perfect. So light (obviously) and deep. Quirky and down to earth. Glad for your well deserved win.

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Kevin Broccoli
18:41 Mar 24, 2022

Thank you John.

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Glen Gabel
11:01 Mar 24, 2022

This was really charming. Loved the voice you gave the protagonist. Great read!

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Kevin Broccoli
16:09 Mar 24, 2022

Thank you so much Glen.

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22:22 Mar 22, 2022

i like it

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Kevin Broccoli
16:24 Mar 23, 2022

Thank you Nathaniel.

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Ranya Navarez
04:56 Mar 22, 2022

Wow!!! I loved this!!!

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Kevin Broccoli
16:03 Mar 22, 2022

Thank you, Ranya!

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Tyler Havoc
01:55 Mar 22, 2022

This was very deep to me, Actually had to re-read it a few times. Great job!

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Kevin Broccoli
16:03 Mar 22, 2022

Thank you, Tyler.

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Chinenye Mba
21:48 Mar 18, 2022

Wow! A winning story, indeed. I enjoyed every bit of it. Keep writing ❤️

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Kevin Broccoli
22:19 Mar 18, 2022

Thank you!

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Susan Whitlock
17:41 Mar 18, 2022

Absolutely beautiful. It expresses what I have often thought about mothers and daughters...what the mom has - the daughter will often have in SPADES. This was a graceful, smiling story that left me feeling hopeful for the generations to come.

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Kevin Broccoli
18:01 Mar 18, 2022

Thank you so much, Susan.

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