backhand stories the creative writing blog

We danced the Tango on newly-cut grass and across the white-gravel driveway, hopping more than gliding, stumbling and trying not to hurt each other. I was eight years old and she was my best friend.

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There was no music, of course, except what we always heard in each other’s company; the music of friendship. I held the dandelion in my teeth – she wouldn’t even try. She shuffled and hopped over my feet, her skinny legs trying desperately to keep up. We fumbled through the mechanics of the dance; she with one arm out stiff with mine, the other draped over my shoulder; my hand pressing into her lower back and pulling her along. My mother watched us from the kitchen window and declared us a sight.

That was the year I finally grew taller than her. That was the year I could finally hold my own in a race against her, or maybe that was when she started letting me win. It was the year I finally beat her wrestling.

As we danced, she tried to kiss me, awkward and silly, but with a huge, honest smile on her face.She was always trying to kiss me, and it always made me giggle. I turned my face from side to side, joyfully avoiding her kisses, until she tripped over my feet and we tumbled to the cool grass. I sprawled, laughing, and she stood over me on all fours, kissing me right on the lips and wagging her tail in delight.

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  • Byron Browne

    Having read some of Miller’s work before I am not surprised at how wonderful this short story is. True to form, Miller maintains an extraordinary narration with an equally extraordinary idea. Who could ask for more?