By Jim Bates

My daughter hands me the soapy wand and says, “Here, Mom, your turn.” I take it from her and dip it in the solution before whipping it through the air. Allie watches mesmerized as the bubbles form and begin to float away. Then she’s all motion as she bolts from my side, running after them, giggling, trying to catch them before they pop and disappear. 

Next to me Dad stands watching, arthritic and crippled by the years, yet eyes twinkling with life as he remembers, I can tell, when he and I both played this game. Gently, I touch his arm and hand him the wand. He takes it and reverently holds it for a moment, taping it in his open hand. Then he confidently immerses it in the solution and, like an orchestra conductor with his baton, he moves it with subtle grace in a sweeping arc through the air. We watch as the bubbles come alive and go streaming, floating out on the soft, summer breeze, carrying with them joyful memories of long ago when I was a child and we shared happiness like this together. 

Next to us, Allie is still, but for only a second. Then in a flash she takes off running with wild abandon, laughing and chasing our bubbles, while Dad leans his tired body against mine and we both watch, grinning from ear to ear.

Jim lives in a small-town twenty miles west of Minneapolis, Minnesota. His stories and poems have appeared in over three hundred publications. “Resilience,” a collection of twenty-seven short stories was published by Bridge House Publishing. “Periodic Stories” and “Periodic Stories Volume Two” were published by Impspired. A dystopian adventure novella “Something Better” was published by Dark Myth Publications. “Short Stuff” a collection of flash fiction and drabbles was published by Chapeltown Books. His story “Aliens” was nominated for the 2020 Pushcart Prize. His story “The Maple Leaf” was selected Non-Poetic Publication of the year by the readers of Spillwords.

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