2 girls laying in the grass

The Top of the Stairs

Excerpt from Hibiscus Strong


…Agnes and Helen headed downstairs to tell their parents goodnight.  “Dad, are we really going to move to Miami?” Agnes whispered quietly in his ear so Mama wouldn’t hear. She was busy helping Helen tie a scarf around her head so her curlers wouldn’t come out in bed.

“Would you like that?” he asked.

“Yes! I want to go on an adventure to a tropical land.”

“It’s still part of the United States, you know.”

“Yes, but it’s so different from St. louis,” said Agnes. “Can you tell me more about it tomorrow?”

“Yes, yes. I’ll tell you more tomorrow night. But now you and Helen need to go to bed so your Mama and I can talk.”

“About moving to Florida?”

“Go to bed, Agnes!” Dad turned her around to face the stairs. “Goodnight, Helen. We will see you both in the morning.”

Agnes and Helen dutifully headed to the room they shared. Agnes pulled back the covers, but Helen stopped her. “You aren’t really going to bed, are you?”

“Well, yes,” Agnes replied. “That’s what I usually do when I’m in the bedroom.”

“Come on! You know they are talking about Florida. If we creep down the stairs really quietly, we can hear what they say.”

“We’ll get in trouble.”

“Only if they catch us,” replied Helen. “And they’ll catch us only if you make noise like the last time.”

“I couldn’t help that! You sat on my hand.”

“Well keep your hands in your lap. You want to hear more about Florida, don’t you?” Helen coaxed.

“All right. But if we get caught, I’m telling them it was your idea.”

The girls crept quietly down to the middle of the stairs, then sat in the shadows where they could hear their parents but could not see them. It was obvious Mama and Dad were already discussing Dad’s idea.