Without further ado...please see my snippet with "meat" as the prompt word.
“I’m sorry, Pearl, I’m not trying to ruin our picnic. I’m asking questions, that’s all. I’m trying to understand you.” Owen reached up and lightly gripped her hand.
Pearl shook him off and walked toward a tree stump, then quickly sat down on it. “I don’t care if you believe me or not. I didn’t ask for any of this and I’d much rather be alone than try to continually explain myself.” Pearl sighed and picked at the strings from her cutoff shorts. “Owen, there are times in my life when I feel ashamed, but, most of the time, I’m happy with who I am…you know the person deep down inside of me.” She aimlessly pulled off pieces of bark from the stump, but snapped her hand back when she got a splinter. Pearl rotated her knees from side to side then stood up. “Someday I’ll leave here and go someplace where no one knows me. People won’t whisper ugly things behind my back.”
“Do you have any family away from here?” Owen began putting away the remnants of their lunch.
“Not that I know about. Why do you ask?”
“You could escape and become anonymous again. Start over with family somewhere new.” Owen slapped at a mosquito and mumbled. “These dang things think I’m fresh meat.”
“I’m Little Orphan Annie.” Pearl stood up abruptly. “I’m also an adult and I don’t need to mooch off more people like my aunt. She’s as good as it gets for me, at least for now. I won’t be here forever. I have plans.”
“I have people whispering behind my back too, but, they don’t do it as much the more time passes. Eventually they stop.” Owen thought back to the times when everyone in town looked at him with a mixed gaze of fear and pity. He hated it then and really hated it now. “Plus, I have tough skin, it all rolls off.” Owen knew that was a lie, but, it sounded good.
“Let’s stop with the motivational speech. My life hasn’t been any good from as far back as I can remember. I was basically still a kid when everything got messed up. This isn’t about sticks and stones breaking my bones, but words never hurting me. I didn’t have a choice, I wasn’t even at home- I had no alternatives.”
Owen squeezed his eyes shut against the flood of bad memories, usually he did a very good job of keeping his darkest secrets in check. But, this was Pearl and he cared about her and maybe it was time to start purging his mysteries. He cleared his throat, yet his words still sounded like a bullfrog croaking. “My mom is in jail.”
“I’m sorry, Owen. I can’t imagine how hard that could be.” Pearl’s words trailed off, pain ricocheted off each syllable. “We don’t have to talk about this.”
“I can’t go into details right now, maybe sometime soon you and I can talk about everything. But, maybe this helps you understand you can trust me. I do get where you’re coming from. I promise.”
“Owen, I appreciate you shared that with me, I know it wasn’t easy for you to do.”
“Yea, but, you don’t feel like sharing with me? Nothing, you have nothing to say? I feel like such a girl right now.” Owen angrily shoved their picnic blanket into the duffel bag.
Pearl suddenly looked life weary and she looked off into the distance. “I don’t want you mad at me. I’m sorry.” Her words trailed off and she walked up next to Owen. “How much longer will she be there?”
Owen shrugged his shoulders. “I dunno. I don’t go visit her.” He surveyed their spot one more time. “We’ve cleaned it all up, I’m ready to go back to Mr. Richard’s house now.” He started for the narrow trail.
“Wait, Owen, there’s something I do want to tell you.”
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