I cut my teeth writing on Hubpages back in 2009. I've written 17 novels, numerous songs, and short stories since. I love to write love.
A Father's Question
Dad and Dog
The tall cottonwood tree looked as if it could sweep the gray clouds to a corner of the sky. Eleven-year-old Mindy Corbin wondered why God made some trees so big and some so small. She laid down in the warm grass of the field behind the old lumber company that had been closed since the early 1960s. She propped herself up on her elbows, looked over at the rusty roofs of the buildings, and thought of her dad. She'd watched him paint a barn roof with Armor All aluminum paint when she was six years old. She remembered the brand name because of the profile of a Roman soldier on the can her dad called, "Maximus Paintus."
He took her with him often on jobs. Mindy grinned as she remembered her dad smiling, looking upwards at the end of every day and always saying, "Thanks." He told Mindy he did that because he said, "The one that painted the sky is a far better painter than I." Mindy hadn't heard from her father in nearly three years. She was told that he left without saying goodbye. Mindy didn't know that her mother divorced him and obtained a restraining order from accusing him of multiple abuses which were lies. She was tired of being married to, "Just a painter."
White River Indiana is a small town where the law is followed and it is all about who you know depends on how high you go. Mindy's mother had re-married a local businessman who rarely spoke to Mindy other than telling her to do chores. She was a lonesome child other than her dog named Fritz. He was a Border Collie puppy given to her on her seventh birthday by her dad. It had been nearly three months since Fritz disappeared.
Mindy was told that Fritz ran away because her father never had the dog fixed. Her mother became annoyed with Mindy calling out from their back porch every evening for the dog and told her to go behind the old lumber company, three blocks away, and shout there. She didn't know her mother and step-father had taken the dog to a shelter in the next county. They were tired of the shedding and the expense of food. The shelter employees were told the dog was a stray.
Mindy sat up in the tall, swaying grass and shouted out for Fritz. She shouted a few more times and looked up at a cloud with tears in her eyes. She shouted, "Sky Painter, help me find Fritz!" The September breeze blew her long brown hair over her face as if to help dry her tears. It was almost as if time froze that day in 1983 for Mindy Corbin. Two beings she loved the most were gone and all she had left were wonderful memories of them.
A Painted Sky
Mindy stood up and shouted at the sky, "I want my dad and I want my dog!" She fell to her knees wiped her tears with her hands and cried out, "Ok...Ok. I'll never ask for anything again. I am leaving me here. I am leaving Mindy Louise Corbin right here. So Mr. Sky Painter, when you find my dad and my dog, I will come back here to get me." Mindy Corbin changed that day. Her mother complained about her being almost robotic. Mindy told her few friends often that she had everything but everything that matters.
It was the end of June and Mindy had just graduated. Her 18th birthday was just another day to her mother and step-father. Mindy stepped off of the back porch and looked at the Mini-Mall sign where the old lumber company had been. She worked part-time at the coffee shop there. Mindy's mother shouted from the kitchen, "Mindy, phone!" Mindy stepped up to the porch steps as her mother handed her the phone with the stretched pigtail cable. It was Mindy's boss, Amy. Amy said, "I know it's your birthday but Jason or Molly didn't show up. Can you please come in?" Mindy answered, "Sure...be there in a minute."
Mindy told her mother she was going to work and walked down the sidewalk towards the Mini-Mall. She walked in the door of the Mini-Mall and Amy was serving a customer. Amy spoke to Mindy as she rang up the tab, "Can you take out the trash? I tied the bags but haven't had a minute." Another customer walked in as Mindy smiled and nodded her head yes. Mindy went to the back room, grabbed the bags, and went out the back door.
She took a few steps, dropped the bags, and screamed, "Daddy!" He was standing only a few yards away. He ran to her and embraced her. Both were crying, kissing, and hugging. She nearly fainted when she saw the old dog wagging his tail, making his way slowly to her. She went to her knees and cried, "Fritz....daddy how?" She looked back at the building and saw Amy, Jason, and Molly smiling as they stepped in and closed the door.
After more hugs and tears, Mindy's dad took her hand and walked her to a place in the field behind the Mini-Mall. Fritz walked with them. Her dad explained, "The law kept me from seeing you until you turned 18. I saw your mother and your stepfather take Fritz to the pound. I adopted him that very day. I've watched you from a distance for the last ten years. I was watching you and hiding in one of the old lumber company buildings when you were eleven years old. I heard you cry and heard your words."
They walked a few more steps and Mindy looked down to see a large flat painted stone. It was painted with aluminum paint. She knelt down and while she petted Fritz, she looked up at her dad as he said, "I marked the place you were standing when you cried to the Sky Painter. You can come live with me and Fritz now. It's time to take little Mindy home with you." She stood on the stone, looked up to the beautiful sky, smiled, and softly said, "Thanks."
© 2022 Tom Cornett