Jane clicks on the save icon. She grimaces at the red squiggles, then smiles at the memory of the phone ringing. Dad instead of Mom, unusual in itself.
“How do you spell conscientious?” he asks.
She tells him. “What’s up?”
“Just writing a letter back home.”
“Mom has a dictionary there. She can spell.”
“Nah. You’re the best speller.”
She laughs. “I must be, if I’m worth long distance rates. Not that anyone can tell with your handwriting anyway.” She lowers her voice. “You don’t need an excuse to call. It’s okay to miss me. I miss you, too.”
Every week at the Carrot Ranch Literary Community, Charli Mills hosts a flash fiction challenge. This week’s prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes a speller. Follow the link for fun flashes from other writers, and to answer the call to be a Rough Writer.
This flash, this memory of Jane’s, is actually my own memory. Write what you know, they say. My dad, a wonderful man, was not demonstrative in the slightest, in word or in kisses. Shy about it, maybe, but he had to come at that stuff sideways. After I left home as a young woman, headed off to the Bright Lights in the Big City, he would call out of the blue, to ask me how to spell a word or figure out something mathematical. It made me smile, the way he sneaked into calling just to talk, along with the unspoken compliment that he needed me for a simple division problem.
It’s those little ways we say we love each other, that we never stop missing.