|Author: Jo Brielyn
Author web: jobrielyn.com
Setting: anywhere, in the present day
Availability: In the anthology Elements of the Soul
Story: Cassie, and her 10-year-old son Matt, are doing Christmas shopping with money Matt has earned shoveling snow. They don’t have very much to spend on the holiday, and Matt understands this, as much as a child can, but he really would like a brand new bicycle.
To escape from crowds, and the difficult shopping decisions, they go to the park and make snow angels for an hour, simply enjoying each other and having fun. They are startled by a homeless woman who has been watching them, and also enjoying the angels they have made.
We are well into the story before we realize that Matt’s father died in a house fire, and that Matt, himself, is badly scarred. Cassie hates the way that other people look at her son, since she is so grateful that he was spared, when she had first thought that both the boy and his father were dead.
The homeless woman, Rose, notices Mattie’s scars, but after a quick double-take just treats Matt normally. Matt loves Rose’s dog, and seems completely oblivious to the woman’s ragged clothes and layers of grime.
Rose encourages Cassie to tell her about the fire.
Commentary: This story offers counterpoint and harmony on the various types of scars that people can carry. Mattie’s are physical, but Cassie and Rose have their own kinds of emotional scars to deal with.
Cassie looks normal, but is struggling with her immense losses at the young age of 25. Rose is philosophical about her lack of family, friends or material possessions, but she is shunned by most of society. Mattie is the most outwardly scarred, but seems least damaged in his soul.
The story is told mostly in the present tense.
Author info: Jo Brielyn is a free-lance writer, mother, and host of the Creative Kids Ideas blog and blog talk radio show. She is an Air Force veteran, and holds a degree in Workforce Education and Development from Southern Illinois University. She loves writing for children, and creating educational and creative opportunities for them. Learn more about Jo at JoBreilyn.com. She is currently writing a fiction story for middle-age children
Language skills 7
Depth of meaning 7