Write one leaf about fire.
“Mom said no fire.”
Jess smirked and continued to place twigs in a compact teepee around the ball of moss and dry grass.
“Jess. She said it’s too windy today. The drought.” Lucy pulled at a tendril of hair that the breeze kept blowing into her mouth. Jess was going to light this fire no matter what she said because he’d been told not to do it. She leaned back against the warm boulder and sighed.
“Give me your lighter.” Jess stretched his hand out, palm up and met her gaze with his usual expectant challenge. Lucy wondered what he would say if she just ignored him. Staring at his open hand, she guessed that would probably invite another punching session and a brutally bruised thigh she would have to explain away to her gym teacher. Still, she felt herself drifting off into the quiet place between the act of just this once saying no to her brother, and of slipping her hand into the zipper pocket to lift out her purple Bic and pass it over.
“Lucy. Give it.” Jess stretched his arm closer to her, his mouth now hardening into a thin line. She felt her lips twitch to reflect a slight smile back at him. It wasn’t about the fire. It was about not being stuck in the middle again. About always having to play shadow-mommy. She grabbed her pack and stood, gazing down at Jess, who looked suddenly off-balance.
“Bang some rocks together.” Lucy swung the bag over her shoulder and started walking.