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Contemporary Fiction

The ringing of the doorbell jerks me from my slightly uncomfortable sleep on the sofa. I brush the hair out of my eyes and get up, wobbling on my feet.

The doorbell rings again.

I yell that I’m coming, finding it a bit weird in itself that Mom would ring the bell more than once. She had once waited almost a half-hour outside the door for me to finish a shower, it was quite unlike her to ring it again within the span of a few seconds.

Opening the door, the back of my mind pokes at me, telling me to have looked through the peephole.

Maybe if I’d have looked, I wouldn’t even have opened it.

A woman stands there, a terribly familiar woman. Her face is lined with light wrinkles and there are dark bags under her eyes, but other than that, she looks exactly like I remembered.

She smiles kindly at me and extends her hand to supposedly stroke my face.

I flinch.

Her hand drops, and so does her smile.

I open my mouth, but my throat has gone dry.

I try again, and this time, I manage to push some sound out.

“You.”

******

“What are you doing here?” I ask, knowing that it was a rude thing to ask the moment I had opened my mouth.

But she deserves nothing less. She should thank her stars that I am even talking to her. She should be happy that I didn’t close the door on the face.

She isn’t happy though. Quite the opposite actually.

Without waiting for an invitation, she pushes past me into the house, looking around, her eyes shining.

I huff and slam the door hard, bringing her back to her senses.

“The house is looking good,” she says, with a smile.

“No thanks to you,” I say, crossing my arms and looking at the wall.

“I’ve just come to talk, Corinne,” she says, raising her hand to place it on my shoulder.

I push it away and walk towards the couch, sitting down.

She sits down next to me, without me offering her a seat.

I guess it is clear where I get my rudeness from.

“So, how have you been?” she asks, almost sounding like she genuinely cares.

Almost.

“Spit it out,” I say, my patience waning with every extra second I’m being forced to spend with her.

“Don’t be like that way, you’re better than that,” she says, pulling her mouth to a frown.

“You don’t know that, you don’t know anything about me. If you did, you would have known that I never want to see you again and that I want you to get out. But you’re still sitting here,” I say, and she flinches.

I suppress a smirk, feeling satisfied at ruffling her.

“Just hear me out honey,” she says, reaching for my hand.

I pull it back.

“You’ve lost the right to call me honey. You’ve lost the right to talk to me. The last time I heard you out, you left. What could you possibly have to say to me now?” I ask, frustrated at the fact that she had managed to get in the house the one time Mom wasn’t home.

“I was thinking that we should hang out more often, get to know each other. After all, you are my dau –”

“No, no I’m not. I’m my mother’s daughter, and you are not my mother,” I squeeze out through clenched teeth, wondering how I could get to the phone without her noticing and call Mom.

She gives me a sympathetic look, the one you give to a child when they don’t quite understand what you are trying to say.

“I am your mother honey, and that’s never going to change, no matter what you say,” she says, a slight smile on her lips.

“I told you not to call me that!” I say, getting up with a yell.

******

I gag at the bitter taste.

“You don’t like it?” she says, holding the whiskey bottle in her hands.

I shake my head, and she laughs.

“Don’t worry honey, one day you’ll love it.”

The person in the mirror looks beautiful.

I touch my face, and the beauty touches hers.

“What do you think honey?” she asks, a brush tipped with foundation in one hand.

I don’t say anything, I just hug her middle.

“Who is that?”

She stops kissing the strange man, and looks at me, her eyes wide.

“Look honey, I can explain.”

“Honey, take care of daddy for me, would you?”

I nod, my vision blurry with tears.

She kisses my forehead, and Dad’s hands are heavy on my shoulders.

******

“Corinne? What’s wrong?” she says, standing in front of me and trying to catch my attention.

“Everything is wrong. You shouldn’t be here. You need to leave, right now,” I say, and reach for my phone.

“Please just listen to me for once,” she asks, her eyes starting to become moist.

“Your tears are not going to work on me, not this time. You never cared about me, why should I believe that you suddenly do?” I ask, trying not to lose my composure.

“I have always cared about you, I lo –”

“No, you don’t. Stop lying. If you cared about me, if you loved me, even a little bit, you wouldn’t have kissed that other man. You wouldn’t have left me alone with Dad. Dad wouldn’t have drunk himself to death, and I wouldn’t have become an orphan.”

“You’re not an orphan, I’m still here,” she says, tears now flowing freely.

“I might as well be an orphan, you weren’t there. You were never there. You played your dirty games of love with me, made sure that I got so attached to you and adored you, so that it would hurt me in the worst way when you left. You planned it all. It was so obvious, I just didn’t see it at the time,” I say, sitting down again, my head in my hands.

She moves towards me to say something, but before she can, the doorbell rings.

I run towards the door and open it, praying under my breath that it is the person I need the most right now.

Mom gasps as I hug her tightly, dropping the grocery on the welcome mat.

As I help her pick it up, I whisper into her ear.

“She’s here.”

Mom looks at me, puzzled.

“My real mother.”

Her eyes widen, and her expression becomes grim.

She gets inside, and as they face each other; I’m struck by how different they look.

Mom’s face is lined just like the other woman’s face, but the lines are different. Mom’s lines come from working hard at earning for us, while her lines come from drinking late into the night and never getting any sleep.

Mom just raises her hand and points to the door.

When she doesn’t move, Mom clenches her fists.

“You had your chance with Corinne, and you blew it. Now if you think that I’m just going to let you hurt her again, you are very much mistaken.”

She still doesn’t move.

“Get out of my house, and my daughter’s life,” Mom says, her voice sounding eerily calm.

“Now.”

She finally gets the hint, and slowly walks towards the door.

“Also Corinne, don’t forget that I’m still your mother. Even if you continue to deny it, it will always remain the truth. You will always love me, even if you say that you don’t,” she says.

Before I can wring her neck, she leaves the house.

I’m suddenly exhausted, and I slump on to the couch, Mom next to me.

Lying down with my head on her lap, Mom strokes my head, and I finally get the sleep I had been woken from.

She doesn’t say anything about the tears that now stain her skirt.

She just strokes my head and lets me sleep, lets me dream.

******

February 05, 2021 06:24

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3 comments

Radhika Diksha
17:22 Feb 05, 2021

Shout out writer IVY HATHERALL https://blog.reedsy.com/creative-writing-prompts/author/ivy-hatherall/ FRANCES https://blog.reedsy.com/creative-writing-prompts/author/frances/ Shout out story https://blog.reedsy.com/creative-writing-prompts/contests/78/submissions/52220/ {This story is amazing. A must read} This week's list. Please do read their stories and give them feedback. It will boost their confidence and give them a nice moral support

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Roni Tong
05:38 Feb 11, 2021

The flow of the story is really great. The dialogue feels very natural and although the plot had been done before, you still manage to bring out the feeling of having a mother that abandoned the main character and is now trying to reconnect with them.

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Writer Maniac
06:03 Feb 11, 2021

Thank you so much, I really appreciate it! If you would like to read any more of my stories, I would suggest 'Not Worth It', 'Paper and Ink' and 'A Good Day', I would appreciate some feedback on these :)

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