‘What if it tips?’

‘What tips?’

‘The balance’

‘Of what?’

Her father isn’t really paying attention. He very rarely does, unless a problem is right there in front of him. Like that time when her knee had been shredded by the gravel and dripped blood onto his shoe. Then he’d had a lot to say (mostly about soft leather and the cost of replacing things nowadays).

At school today they had practiced walking across the high beam with bare feet. Janey had held her breath and stuck her arms out rigidly, placing one foot in front of the other until Ronny had come along and blown her off.

‘Hey, that’s not fair!’ she’d told him, rubbing her ankle.

He’d smirked, mimicking her flailing limbs and open mouth as she’d toppled.

‘Weather pattern’s changing, Janey. The balance is tipping…’ He’d hooted at his own cleverness and run off to join his mates.

Janey sighs. ‘Oh, never mind.’ She opens the back door and drags on her mud-caked boots. They are sitting upside down beside her father’s immaculate pair. ‘We need to take good care of our things,’ he’d explained, as he pulled sheet after sheet from a plastic packet, wiping away the earth until he could see his satisfied face in their shining surface. ‘It’s important.’ The strong smell of those wipes had given Janey a headache.

She makes her way down the gravel path towards the greenhouse she’s built in which to protect her seedlings. Last year the slugs had gotten the lettuces as they’d emerged from the soil. Janey had found off-cuts of plastic sheeting and some old bits of wood in the shed, and a few nails had stabilized the structure. Her Dad had returned from the shops with snail pellets. ‘That oughta teach ‘em,’ he’d laughed.

Squatting, Janey peers inside, marvelling at the vulnerability and determination of the delicate green shoots. ‘It’s ok,’ she whispers, ‘we will protect you.’ She stands, holds her arms out at her sides and, hopping carefully from one rock to another, makes her way back up towards the house.

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Margarida Brei
Margarida Brei(@margarida-brei)
1 month ago

Penni, welcome to Voice.Club. The young girl seems so much more environmentally conscious than her wasteful and non ecofriendly father.
I like how you compare environmental balance with her walking across the beam.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
1 month ago

Janey is so admirable in his/her eco-friendly behavior. And your greenhouse setting is so calming and relaxing. I can clearly imagine all the greenery. Keep on writing.

Welcome to voice club.

Susan Giles
Susan Giles(@susan-giles)
1 month ago

Penni, I enjoyed your story. The final paragraph does a good job of showing your double use of the word balance. Well done.

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