A Mother - A Short Story Dec 21, 2015 21:57:12 GMT
Post by HED on Dec 21, 2015 21:57:12 GMT
Another story from my Advanced Creative Writing class. This one is very, very different from the rest of the stuff I've written. It steals a lot of Rick Moody's Boys, which I'd find a reference link for if I hadn't blocked myself out of Google to avoid Star Wars spoilers. The assignment was to use a "lyric" form to reinterpret an element of another story we'd written. I really don't know how much I like it, but it was a worthwhile experiment. It might be hard to read.
A mother. A mother has made lunch for her son who is not home, should be home, but is not home. The lunch is getting cold, it was made fifteen minutes ago, the melted cheese of the sandwich congealing into rubbery goo. A mother is waiting for her son, her son who said he would be back for lunch, her son who is just a child. Her son who turned ten last month, her son who went out into the great outdoors of the neighborhood wilderness on an adventure. Her son who has no watch, no sense of time, who has not bothered to learn how to read the face of an analogue clock. Her son who never returns when he should, her son who always returns with a smile on his face. A mother wonders if her son is playing with that boy from down the street, who is really a no-good troublemaker who just invites himself over without even asking, who she hasn't figured out how to tell her son not to play with without hurting his feelings. A mother calls her neighbors to ask if her son is there, her son who is not home, even though he was supposed to be home an hour ago to eat lunch. A mother hears the neighbors say that no, her son is not there, but he can certainly come over if he wants to. A mother starts dialing the number of her husband’s work, wanting to ask if he knows where their child is, which is ridiculous because he left on a business trip yesterday long before their son went out, went out for what sounded like a short little hike. A mother reminds herself that an hour is really nothing to worry about, that an hour is a measly twenty fourth of a day, which is a thirtieth of a month (most months anyways), which is a twelfth of a year. A mother thinks about how she has lived for nearly five times as many years as her son, about how a twenty-fourth of a thirtieth of a twelfth of a year might seem a lot more to someone with only eight years to remember. A mother wraps the sandwich in plastic and puts it in the refrigerator, ready to be eaten later. A mother thinks about looking for her son in the backyard, her son who didn't come when called for lunch but who might be closer to the house now, her son who might come running if she went out and called. A mother wonders why her son likes to play outside as foxtails stick in her socks, socks that her son gave her for Mother's Day, socks that had waves on them because her son liked the ocean, lakes, rivers, bodies of water. A mother's voice grows hoarse from shouting for her son, her son who could be hurt, her son who left the house with only a granola bar stuffed in the pockets of his shorts. A mother hears a rustling of a bird in a tree and for a second mistakenly hopes that it is her son, her son who could be limping through the trees after a fall, who could bleeding and crying all alone. A mother reminds herself that her son nevers returns crying, that her son occasionally comes back with scrapes and scabs but nothing more, that her son is always fine. A mother circles around the house and looks down the block for her son before going back inside. A mother sits on the couch and feels alone, feels the pain of her mother, and her mother's mother, but not her grandmother's mother because she died in childbirth. A mother decides that dying in childbirth must be the ultimate terror, to die not knowing if one's child will survive the weight of the world without their mother to help them. A mother wishes that they had a dog, even though dogs are smelly and noisy and needy, because her son has been asking for a dog, because the right dog could keep her son safe. A mother stares at the phone, wondering if she should call the police. A mother decides against it, because her son is never lost, her son always comes home. A mother picks foxtails out of her socks, the socks her son gave her, her son who might have wandered down to the river, her son who hasn't learned to swim quite yet. A mother decides that when her son gets home, she must believe that he will get home, and when he gets home she will first teach him to read a watch and will then sign him up for swimming lessons at the sports center first thing. A mother takes the sandwich out of the refrigerator, because it is too late for even a late lunch, and a cold grilled cheese is no sort of proper dinner. A mother decides not to cook chicken for dinner, chicken needs to be cooked for too long and she wants to get her son a hot meal as soon as he's home, her son who has been out all day, her son who is afraid of the dark, her son who could get lost among the trees if he has not fallen into the river and drowned. A mother reminds herself that the sun sets late in the summer, that her son knows his way home, that that the river is neither deep nor fast. A mother pours a box of pasta into a cold pot of water, because she read in an article that soaking dried pasta ahead of time makes it cook faster. A mother chooses rotini because her son likes the corkscrew shape, her son who should be home, her son who could be in danger, her son who could be dead. A mother reminds herself that her son has never even broken a bone, that her son always comes home, that imagining somebody’s death every time they are late is ridiculous. A mother tears up as she cuts and sautés onions. A mother adds grated carrots for sweetness, adds garlic because she couldn't imagine not adding garlic, even though she hates chopping it. A mother simmers the tomato sauce for half an hour before turning off the heat and putting on the lid. A mother realizes that, fearing a late dinner, she has made an early one. A mother looks at the spoon she stirred the sauce with, imagines the red of the tomato, imagines the red of blood, like a cheap transition in a bad movie. A mother envisions the blood of her son, her son who should be home, her son whom she cannot stop herself from imagining is dead. Her son, who that at that very moment opens the back door of the house, calls for her. A mother runs to her son, embraces her son, asks questions of her son faster than they can be answered. A mother closes the door her son left open. A mother hears her son announce that he is hungry, her son who was always going to be fine. A mother smiles. A mother is prepared.