Saturday, March 11, 2017

Writing Prompt: The Word: Skittish

They called her many things, her wild red curls like a strawberry dust devil trying to keep up with her endless bounding, her sudden stoops, and her turn-on-a-dime twirling. She was indeed fiddle-footed, fluttery, skittish, even high-strung. But she was also free-wheeling, wild and fearless. She was at once brave and terrified, joyful and broken. She would have owned it all had she cared enough to think it through. But she didn’t. She let the others: the watchers, the observers, the gossips and yes, the artists, do that for her.

Often she wore dresses, unlike the identically jean-clad peers who either ignored her, or pointed in giggle/whisper cruelty. She was unaware of either reaction, loving the way her circle skirts fluttered around her calves, even though sometimes her long, thin legs got so entangled in the fabric, that she stumbled and tripped. It was rare her freckles didn’t frame some scrape or bruise, but earthy, autumn-kissed beauty held its ground: ginger, and stubborn.

She laughed for no reason, and sang too, making up songs with breathy tones and poetic lyrics. Sometimes she’d fold in her Cervidaen limbs and snuggle up to a tree with a rhyming dictionary, or it could just as easily be a book on Quantum Physics, or Pippi Longstocking. No one could really put a finger on her, on who she really was. And that was her preference, although an afternoon of hugging wasn’t out of the question…but then neither was an afternoon of feeling jumpy every time a human was spotted.

She cried over fallen birds’ nests, tricked out trucks whose roaring engines burned her ears, and she cried for the pleasure of tears running down her cheeks and leaving her eyes watery and washed clean.  There was no question hers was an Irish temperament, but there were many questions about why she was angry, or at what, as often there was no explanation at the ready.

I’d choose her for my own if she was an unbroken colt, a Barbary stag, a setter, or an errant teen. I’d pick her first for any team, although I doubt she’d join one. I’d vote for her, polish her cowboy boots, kiss her hand and yes, even lay my coat across a mud puddle for her. I know she’d never need any of those things, and in fact, prefers a good stomp through a mud puddle. But whatever it is she wants? I’ll give her. You would too, if you really knew her. I’m not worried though. You probably never will…

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