One Simple Thing

“I asked you to do one thing, just one simple thing, and you screwed it up,” Jamie’s mother scolded her, standing with her hands on her hips and glowering. “All you had to do was take the loaf of warm banana bread over to Mr. Brown across the street.  But no, missy, you couldn’t ring the doorbell and wait for him; you just set it on the porch and ran, and his dog found it before he did.”

Nine-year-old Jamie looked sadly at her feet, trembling and holding back tears.  She mumbled a feeble apology, but couldn’t explain to her angry mother why it was that she didn’t want to see Mr. Brown or be asked to come inside his house.  Mr. Brown had made it very clear that she was never to tell anyone.


This has been a Six Sentence Story, written for Denise’s blog hop at GirlieOnTheEdge. The prompt word we needed to use this week was “simple.” Click on the link to read some other great stories, and maybe add one of your own!

Author: Josie Two Shoes

I've been blogging off and on since August of 2006. I adopted the pen name Josie Two Shoes in 2007 as I began a new chapter of my life standing on my own two feet. Now I'm married to the man of my dreams; we live in dusty West Texas with a house full of furkids. I am an Aquarian by birth, and although I am past sixty and slightly frayed around the edges, my fascination with this thing called life continues. Faith, family, and friends are important to me; so are honesty, trust, tolerance, compassion and kindness. I'm pretty up front about most things, so if you want to know something more about me, just ask! :-) You can also reach me by email and find me at my Facebook page.

36 thoughts on “One Simple Thing”

  1. ewww…. (and a cringe) *

    * both compliments to a very effective Six Sentence Story**
    ** effective being defined as a story that is immediately engaging with characters that one can readily identify (or otherwise sympathize) with and a twist that grabs the reader where they least expected to be grabbed.

    1. Maybe not in childhood, and maybe not before she has spent years trying to deal with this horrible experience internally with much damage done. There are some people who have gone to the grave with secrets that should have been shared, if only they had felt able to do safely.

      1. That is exactly the point I was trying to make with such a heavy tale. Too often we judge people and their actions at surface value without looking closer. In this case, Jamie didn’t simply blow off her mother’s instructions, she wasn’t being lazy or uncaring, she had a valid reason to not want to ring that doorbell, and yet she couldn’t vindicate herself by confiding in her mother. I know many stories like this that are not fiction. We are only beginning to create environments where people feel safe in telling their darkest “secrets” so they can be helped.

    1. Things of this nature happen to children far often than we want to consider or believe. We have to learn to pay close attention, ask the right questions, and make sure our children know that all their secrets are safe with us.

    1. Thank you, Lisa. This was one of those important stories where everyone knows the ending without belaboring it with details. The message behind it is to not judge at face value, so often there is something more going on.

    1. I think as parents in today’s world, we all find ourselves wondering at times if there are things our children didn’t/haven’t told us. I know there are things I didn’t tell my parents that I wish I could have, rather than face their wrath. But I’m not sure they would have understood, their typical response was not one of compassionate understanding. I think that at least my kids know that I am there for them, I believe them, and my love is unconditional, no matter what.

    1. You understand the message of this story clearly, Viola. We have to listen to others (and not just children) with an open heart and mind before we jump in to criticize or condemn them.

    1. Thank you, Patricia. Yes, sad to the point of heart breaking, because we know that most stories like this are not fiction. Children need to know that it is safe to tell the truth, and that they will be believed and helped.

  2. Compelling (and not in a good way) story. You totally caught me off guard with the ending. How sad and tragic that what happened to Jamie happens everyday, somewhere.
    I suspect Jamie will never confide anything of substance to her mother. What an awful response to a 9 year old!

    1. That was exactly the point of my telling such a dark tale, Girlie, a reminder of this brutal reality and how common place it is. I know of at least a dozen children/young people/adults who carry this horror in their memories, and far too often didn’t have anyone they felt they could safely confide in, or were too ashamed to tell. You are right that Jamie’s mother in her accusatory response, has set the groundwork for Jamie knowing she can never depend on her mother to understand anything really important that happens in her life. That is another one of the real tragedies of this situation.

  3. What a well written story, but, oh so sad. One wonders how many years Jamie had been carrying that burden and how many more years it would be before she felt safe enough to talk about it.

    1. Ha! I have that same problem when people start talking about good food. When we visited my daughter, she and I made banana bread to take to the neighbors across the street. Both Papa Bear and her husband were sad that they weren’t going to eat it, so we ended up having to make more. 🙂

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