Three Days Late and A Dollar Short–the Good Life

So, I got this prompt for Catapault magazine, about “the good life” and had no inclination to write  until yesterday which was three days past the deadline.

Anyway, it was a good prompt and after the fold, you can see what I wrote.  It’s formatted a little oddly, as it was intended for an audience that didn’t know anything about me.

The Good LIfe–A Good Night

It was, in fact, a dream vacation.  My five year old and I joined up with two other small families in a shared hotel space for a week in Florida.  We visited the mouse and all of his friends, including the much-adored princesses.  We swam until our hands were puckered and pale.  We ate too much cotton candy and not enough vegetables.  We saw fireworks and Irish step dancers.  We ate ripe watermelon and laughed until its juices stained our faces and clothes.  We let the kids stay up too late, sometimes swimming in the blue-black night past everyone’s bedtime.   I was never sure what time it was.  It was fantastic.

It was supposed to rain on that last day, so we got to the pool early, intent on getting enough runs on the water slide before the lifeguards called us all in. But the weather held, and we stayed all day.  I finally pulled my pruney daughter out of the pool as the snack bar began frying up burgers for supper.

“Make me into a burrito,” she cried, and I complied, wrapping her up snugly in two hotel towels, each blindingly white on her nutmeg skin.  She reclined on the lounge chair, tight in her cocoon. The sound system cued up the Black Eyed Peas’ “I’ve Got a Feeling.” She sang along, substituting, as always, words she didn’t know (didn’t like?)  for words she preferred.

“I got a feeling, that I’m gonna have a good life….I’m gonna have a good, good life”

I smiled. “You like this song, duckie?”

“Yes. It’s good….I got no money, let’s give it up,”

“So, are you going to have a good life?”

“Mommy, I already HAVE a good life.”

“Oh, why?”

“I have food and mommy and now I’m a burrito.”

“Oh. Yes, you do have a good life.”

“Of course.”

“You have a good life, too, Mommy.”

“I do.”

We looked out on the pool together, watching the swimmers careen down the slide, the air pregnant with rain and tomorrow, and the music all around us.  Our friends took chairs near us, and the kids chattered together, their excited voices rising above the music. The song changed, but my heart kept time with the old one.

“I got a feeling, that I’m gonna have a good, good life.”


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