Brightness In The Dark
An Amy Tale of Bench Pressing Strong Verbs
Want to improve your vocabulary?
Easy…use stronger verbs.
So, making a game of it, I drew random unused words from my list of 179 strong verbs: assess, entail, measure, eradicate, force, base, compute, aggravate, maximize, and demand.
Can’t wait to see a story of an eight-year old girl with those words? Me, too. Ha.
Uncle Jason’s Expedition lurched across the field, following an endless like of cars. Amy desperately clutched her soda pop, determined not to spill it.
Aunt Jan looked back from the front seat and smiled. “Still back there, girls?”
Amy nodded, tummy fluttering, then giggled. Fireworks…tonight. How she loved them. “Are we there yet?”
“Patience, angel,” aunt said, assessing boy scouts waving cars into lines. “When you two get out, stay close. You know the first rule of parking lots, right?”
“That…there aren’t any rules?” Amy wasn’t sure what that meant, but her aunt and uncle kept telling her. Sometimes, repeating their words made them happy. She smiled, hoping she had the right answer.
“And don’t forget all that entails. These drunken cowboys came for a good time, and aren’t watching for little girls. Don’t want you girls getting lost or run over. Grandpa wouldn’t like that, would he?”
Amy’s heart shrank and she hugged herself. Until this year, grandma and grandpa had taken her to the fireworks. After grandma died, she had stayed with grandpa on the reservation. But, now, he lay in a city hospital miles and miles from home.
Aunt Jan helped both Amy and Carly out, then began setting up lawn chairs. “I talked with dad’s doctor this morning,” aunt Jan said. “They measured his CEA, and it’s way too high. He hopes chemo can eradicate the tumor, or, maybe, force it into remission.”
“Well, now we know,” uncle Jason said. “We have something to base our hopes on, right?”
Amy hugged herself, trying to understand, tears beginning to streak her cheek. “Is…grandpa going to…die?”
“Oh, sweety,” aunt Jan said and scooped her up. “You should go play.”
“He—” Amy’s sobs ended all hope of speaking. She had no dad like Carly did. And her mom went away a long time ago. After that she went to live with grandma and grandpa. Who would take care of her?
“We love you, angel.” Aunt Jan held her tight and they rocked. “Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, things don’t make sense. They won’t add up in a way that computes.”
Amy held tight, eyes closed. If she loved aunt Jan and uncle Jason, would they go away like everyone else? “I’m sorry…don’t get mad at me…please?”
“No, no, sweety. I can’t imagine you ever aggravating us. You are a beautiful little girl, and we want to maximize your chances in this world, with a right to demand happiness and love, like everyone else. Okay?”
Amy leaned back to stare into her aunt’s brown eyes, then kissed her deeply tanned cheek. “I love—”
Something hissed, brilliant light highlighted her aunt’s face and reflected off beads woven into her black braids, then a heart-stopping boom crashed through Amy. She giggle screamed and wiggled to stare at dozens of rockets climbing into the sky. Could grandpa see them, too?