15356167607_97c700c164_b “Boot,” she named her daughter, because she liked how it sounded, how the first three letters puckered her voice into a whispery kiss, how the “t” clipped the kiss short lest her voice tumble into mushiness over her only child, born as she and her husband approached middle age. She liked “Boot” because there was only one way to pronounce it; no matter how often or wherever in America her husband’s company transferred them, the pronunciation of her daughter’s given name would remain perfectly constant.

Nothing remains fixed.

She hadn’t foreseen the weeks of night terrors in a new home, when “Boot” sounded too much like “boo,” to her toddler. Or, the teenage years, when her daughter called herself “Brittany,” because “Boot” sounded boyish and odd to classmates in her new school. Or, the saucy phase, when she dubbed herself “Booty” to amuse a new boyfriend.

Or, the humbleness she’d feel when her estranged daughter finally phoned.

“Mom, it’s Boot. Can I come home?”


About the Author: Sue Ann Connaughton writes from the Halloween capital of North America, Salem, MA. She tries not to let this fact influence her fiction and poetry. Twitter: SAConnaughton.

Story Song: "Summertime" by Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong

Photo Credit: Leesa Cross-Smith