My heart leapt when I heard the click, then the creak, of the front door.  The jangle of keys landing on wood announced that Daddy was home.  Usually my heart jumped in a good way when he got home from work, but not today, ‘cause Mommy said I was in trouble bad.

I heard Mommy’s voice echo in the entryway.  She’d probably ambushed him before he could even kick his shoes off.  Couldn’t wait to tell him, I suppose.  I felt the weight of his sigh travel all the way up the stairs.  His heavy footsteps followed.  Twelve…thirteen…fourteen.  I gulped.  Seconds later, his knuckles rapped on my door.  I buried my head in the crook of my elbow, but didn’t answer.  He opened the door anyway.

“I hear you’re in some trouble.  Tell me what happened.”

I sat up and rubbed my eyes, trying not to cry again just thinking about it. I stared at my fidgeting fingers which were wriggling like a bucket of riled up garter snakes.  “Well, Mommy made me dress in Sunday best, on account of church this morning,” I began, trying out my big girl voice.  I thought I did good for seven years old.

“Go on.”

“Well, Mommy dressed me in my favorite black and white polka dot dress with the red tie around the waist, and then my bright white ankle socks with lace trim.  I wanted to wear my favorite boots, but she told me God would listen to me better with my shiny black shoes that are hard to buckle.”  I looked up at Daddy.  “I wore them, ‘cause I wanted God to hear me.”

Photo by
Photo by

“I’m sure he heard you fine,” Daddy said.  “What happened after church?”

I stared at my hands again.  “I saw this girl across the street looking through bags of trash with her mom.  Her brown moccasins had holes in the toes.  I crossed the street while Mommy talked to Mrs. Henderson .  The girl told me they didn’t have a house ‘cause her Daddy left and didn’t come back.  So, I gave her my shoes.  Told her that God would hear her if she wore them.

When Mommy saw I had no shoes and my white socks were filthy on the bottom, she got mad and told me you’d have to work an extra day to buy me new shoes ‘cause we barely had money for food.”  I bit my bottom lip, but it was no use; I cried anyway. “A-and she said G-god was m-mad tooooo,” I said in between sobs.

“Interesting,” Daddy said.  “I don’t think God is angry with you at all.  In fact, he told me to give you this.”

Daddy wrapped his strong arms around me and pulled me into a tight hug.  He held me till my tears stopped.  When he let go, I saw his face.  I noticed his red eyes first, then his damp cheeks.  Finally, I glimpsed the hint of a smile.

Maybe I wasn’t in trouble after all.


At around 500 words, this story was way too long for any Trifecta challenge (333-word limit).  I’ve sat on this one for several weeks and finally decided I can’t trim it.  So, since I’m bowing out of the weekend challenge again, I wanted to go ahead and share it.  Let me know what you think – it helps to know what works (or doesn’t work).  Have a wonderful weekend 🙂

36 thoughts on “Trouble

  1. deanabo February 22, 2013 / 10:36 AM

    o.k. This made me cry. I loved it.

    • jannatwrites February 23, 2013 / 11:27 PM

      Thank you, Deanabo – I’m glad this affected your emotions.

  2. diannegray February 22, 2013 / 2:36 PM

    Absolutely beautiful story, Janna. It made me misty!

    • jannatwrites February 23, 2013 / 11:28 PM

      Thanks for sharing your reaction, Dianne!

  3. sojourner February 22, 2013 / 3:42 PM

    You are not in trouble after all. 🙂
    Captivating story! I love it!

    • jannatwrites February 23, 2013 / 11:29 PM

      I appreciate you taking time to share your opinion of the story, Sojourner.

  4. Connor Rickett February 22, 2013 / 4:07 PM

    It’s always tough to squish them down that far. Sometimes they’re good enough to leave long and just find something else to make short. I think this was a great little story Janna!

    • jannatwrites February 23, 2013 / 11:30 PM

      Thanks, Connor! I’m glad this ‘longer’ story still worked okay to you. Although, this is pared down compared to what I used to consider “short” (less than 1500 words :))

  5. nrhatch February 22, 2013 / 5:08 PM

    I enjoyed it quite a bit . . . glad that dad was on her side. 😀

    • jannatwrites February 23, 2013 / 11:31 PM

      Thanks for reading, Nancy. The mom was too caught up in the financial hardships to see the heart behind it. Dad was able to see it from a different perspective.

      • Deborah February 24, 2013 / 1:54 AM

        YES!!! That’s the strongest part of the story. That the girl’s act was viewed from such two opposite viewpoints. And even though the father has to work for another pair of shoes, he appears to find it a small price to pay for the joy his child brought to another.

        • jannatwrites February 25, 2013 / 8:26 PM

          Thanks, Deborah – I was hoping that aspect came out in the story without it being too obvious. Although this story is fiction, there have been things with my kids where I look back and realize I was too caught up in the mess, the extra hassles or whatever – not the innocence behind their actions.

  6. Eric Alagan February 22, 2013 / 5:18 PM

    Very touching and inspirational – God did hear her, loud and clear.

    I can understand where Mommy is coming from – she saw problem, little girl saw opportunity —

    Luv and hugz for a wonderful read,

    • jannatwrites February 23, 2013 / 11:33 PM

      Thanks, Eric! There were a few thoughts running through my mind on this one…one of which was God doesn’t have ears for only impeccably dressed people. I appreciate you taking time to read the story and share your thoughts.

  7. Deborah February 22, 2013 / 6:25 PM

    I’m glad you didn’t give in to trying to trim it. I love it!

    • jannatwrites February 23, 2013 / 11:34 PM

      Thanks so much, Deborah! I was afraid that cutting it would take away from the scene…but then I wondered if it was just me getting too attached to my words 🙂

      • Deborah February 24, 2013 / 1:52 AM

        I’ve never had the sense of you being attached to your words. I think you have a healthy attitude toward your writing and editing. 🙂

        • jannatwrites February 25, 2013 / 8:27 PM

          I’m happy to know my editing seems on target, Deborah 🙂

  8. pattisj February 22, 2013 / 9:24 PM

    It’s a beautiful story! I don’t know if a child would describe their white socks as “bright.” Unless she’d just watched a Clorox commercial. 😉 I love the story, though.

    • jannatwrites February 23, 2013 / 11:36 PM

      You’re funny, Patti! Maybe on her own, ‘bright’ wouldn’t be used…but perhaps she borrowed it from her mom (“go get your bright white socks”) to keep her from wearing dingy ones. I dunno 🙂 Thanks for reading and offering your opinion…it does give me something to consider next time around with respect to word choices for characters.

  9. Emmeline February 23, 2013 / 1:46 AM

    Love it! No don’t cut it, it’s great. It’s style is choppy and visual and modern yet it’s theme and story remind me of the wonderful old children’s stories in my Nanny’s old storybooks.

    • jannatwrites February 23, 2013 / 11:37 PM

      Thank you so much for reading and sharing your reaction to the story, Emmeline!

  10. Debbie February 23, 2013 / 12:25 PM

    I like the way the little girl’s fears are negated by her dad’s attitude. I like the way she comes across as such a gentle, generous soul. While I could probably cut a few words here and there, I don’t know that I could keep the same feeling of suspense you’ve created if I tried to bring it to under 333 words. In all honesty, who hasn’t wanted to give away something like shiny black shoes that are hard to buckle?!!

    • jannatwrites February 23, 2013 / 11:39 PM

      Haha…I had shoes like that when I was younger and I HATED them, Debbie. I had really narrow feet and my mom wouldn’t buy me the slip on shoes because she didn’t think they’d stay on my feet very well. You confirmed my concern that shortening it that much would change the scene too much.

  11. Diane Turner February 23, 2013 / 5:00 PM

    Visual and sensual and poignant. What a lovely way to depict the charity of children. Made me teary. Don’t trim a word. Thanks for sharing.

    • jannatwrites February 23, 2013 / 11:40 PM

      And thank you for reading, Diane 🙂 Kids think so much differently than adults – they aren’t concerned so much with financial aspects as they normally see that what they need, they get.

  12. mairzeebp February 23, 2013 / 8:56 PM

    I loved reading it Janna and wished there was more. You always paint a picture that is so easy to climb inside. I love living in your stories. Love it.

    • jannatwrites February 23, 2013 / 11:42 PM

      Your comment made me smile, Mairzeebp 😀 I appreciate you taking time to read it and to let me know your reaction to it.

  13. agjorgenson February 24, 2013 / 9:06 PM

    Thanks for this lovely ending for my Sunday!

    • jannatwrites February 25, 2013 / 8:28 PM

      Thanks so much for reading, Agjorgenson 🙂

  14. Imelda February 24, 2013 / 10:23 PM

    I am glad you kept it as is. It is beautiful and the writing is excellent, as always. 🙂

    • jannatwrites February 25, 2013 / 8:33 PM

      I appreciate you reading, Imelda, and for your kind words…

  15. Sandra February 25, 2013 / 10:37 PM

    What a sweet, heartfelt story, Janna! Daddy’s red eyes made mine sting a little, too! I’m glad you didn’t trim this. Bless this little giving girl, full of heart and kindness.

    • jannatwrites February 26, 2013 / 8:14 PM

      I’m glad you felt the emotion of the story, Sandra. Kids do have caring hearts and don’t often think of any ramifications.

  16. philosophermouseofthehedge February 27, 2013 / 5:57 PM

    One of your best. Really. You are a close observer of people – and pick just the right words

    • jannatwrites February 28, 2013 / 12:09 AM

      I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts on the story, Phil. (And I’m happy that you liked it!)

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