“Why do you still use those toilet-paper roll binoculars to watch Marlie?”
Liz continued to focus on Marlie playing in the tree fort. “They help me remain objective. Keep my distance.”
“And why do you need to do that?”
Now she let the paper binoculars hang by their yarn strap around her neck as she answered her husband. “Because that unplanned offspring of ours couldn’t be more perfect by design. I don’t ever want to get in her way.”
“She’s going places alright. Mars. She’s in her spaceship.”
Marlie beckoned them. “Come to the launch! It’s time for take-off!”
*** *** ***
“Space travel! That explains the snow suit and hockey helmet.”
The crowd quieted as the astronaut communicated with Mission Control. The countdown began. The tree fort shuddered and roared. At liftoff Liz looked for reassurance in her husband’s embrace. When she turned back to see the capsule hurtling beyond the atmosphere her binoculars were crushed. She shielded her eyes with her hand and watched her daughter soaring over them, searching new adventures in far-flung worlds of her own imagination.
“Don’t worry,” her husband said. “Lunch is waiting. She’ll come back to refuel. Come on, I’ll make you new binoculars.”
*** *** ***
The Carrot Ranch December 26, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes the phrase by design. It can be used in any manner — a label, a mantra, a story. Go where the prompt leads!