Never Throw Anyone Away
Flash Fiction by Voni Harris

People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone.—Audrey Hepburn

Wendy slouched on their couch—pristine white leather—and the silence stretched longer and longer. She knew they weren’t impressed with her black clothes, dark eye liner. They were more the type for perky blonde cheerleading kids.

But she didn’t choose to be here, so who cared?

The social worker sat next to her, the wheels of her brain obviously spinning in overdrive trying to find a way to overcome the awkwardness. Finally, she gave Wendy a pale grin, and shrugged apologetically at the man and wife.

Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, Wendy thought. But there’d been too many foster families to keep track.

The man suddenly did the oddest thing.

“Sherman, come here, boy!” A powerful Siberian Husky with piercing blue eyes trotted in from the other room and sat in front of him. He patted him on the head, then stood.

“Come over here Sherm,” he instructed. He and the dog came over to Wendy, and the dog sat in front of her. The man knelt in front of her.

“Wendy,” he said, looking into her eyes. “I remember when we got Sherman here.” Sherman’s tail thumped at the sound of his name. She started petting him, couldn’t help herself, really.

“We got this big guy, knowing he would do all the puppy things…the chewing, the nipping, the barking, the peeing on the carpet.” His face squinched up, and Wendy couldn’t help but smile a little. “We also knew he’d grow big enough to eat 50 pounds a week. Some people give up dogs when they are difficult or expensive or whatever. We didn’t. We don’t work that way.”

Wendy looked up from Sherman into the man’s eyes. Mr. Johnson’s eyes.

She could probably make it here. Worth a try, anyway.

The End

(Hepburn quote: