26 comments

Fiction

Part One – Ida

“Did you feel that?” Ida placed her hand on her cheek while turning away from the open window.

“Feel what, love?”

“That breeze.”

“I wish. It’s hotter than blue blazes in here.”

Ida knew that to be true. Her damp blouse sticking to her back was proof enough. But yet, there was that breeze she had felt on her cheek just for an instance. Then it was gone.

“You’re right. Would you like some iced tea? We can sit for a while, watch the sun go down.”

Moments later Ida brought out the old tray with a pitcher and two glasses. She and Hank settled themselves comfortably on the front porch in their favorite chairs.

“It’s almost your big birthday. Have you decided what you want to do this year?” Hank took a long sip of his drink then placed the glass down on the small metal table between them.

“We can barbecue and set up the kiddy pools in the back. Maybe I’ll bake a pie or a special dessert. There’s a new recipe I’ve been meaning to try.”

“You sure you don’t want to go someplace instead? We can try that new place on Main Street. Joe said they make a mighty good pecan pie. He and the wife were raving about it.”

She sat up suddenly. “There it is again. You must have felt it that time?” Her heart thumped unexpectedly.

“Hun, I’m starting to worry about you. It’s happening a lot lately, no?” He looked at her quizzically over his glasses. 

Ida flushed. “No, not really. Never mind. Just a silly old woman getting older by the moment.”  She changed the subject. “Have you heard from the kids lately?”

“Sure did. Jackie has some sort of surprise she’s cooking up for your birthday.”

“Any clue what that could be?” 

“I tried my best to get it out of her. She said I let the cat out of the bag too many times to be trusted again.  Can’t imagine for the life of me what that girl is up to now. Maybe she’s expecting?”

“She has got her hands full with the tribe running under her feet already. Can’t picture another little one on the way right about now,” Ida responded with her thoughts elsewhere. That breeze blew in for the third time in just a few minutes. It never comes that often, must be something besides Jackie’s surprise that’s brewing. Something in the air.

“Come to think of it, Michael was acting awful suspicious when I dropped the kids off after practice yesterday.”

“Did you question him?”

“Sure did. Rushed the kids in and shut the door in my face. Leaves me wondering if there’s something more than his typical rudeness. Maybe he’s in cahoots with Jackie?”

“I do love those kids, hun. But sometimes I can’t figure them out for the life of me. Like they were dropped here from another planet.” She stroked her cheek absentmindedly. Sometimes she felt that she herself was dropped here from another planet. Then just on cue, another breeze swept by. 

***

Part Two – Natalie

Screaming in pain with sweat pouring down her face she begged him for help. “You have to get me to the hospital. I can’t do this.”

“You have no choice, girl. I ain’t calling for no help. You can think twice about laying down with that fella next time he comes sniffing around.”

She leaned her head back in the hay and let loose a bloodcurdling scream. Maybe a hired hand would hear her and break down the barn door or maybe she would die from the pain. Either way would be a sweet relief. 

She silently cursed Pete for showing up with a bottle of whiskey that day. Finished with her chores early, she had been restless and bored, more than happy to indulge. They passed the bottle back and forth until it was empty and by nightfall found themselves tangled together in the corner of the darkened barn. She knew it was wrong, knew she was too young, but that didn’t stop her.  She was her mother’s child after all, as her father had reminded her as often as the day was long.

Another searing pain shot through her, worse than the ones before, threatening to rip her insides out. She flailed about, digging her hands into the hay like a wretched animal. 

“You will go to hell for this. I’m not one of your animals giving birth in the barn,” she hissed, her voice ragged from the hours of agonizing screaming.

“We’ll see who goes to hell, girl. It ain’t gonna be me. You’re lucky I didn’t throw you out when your belly became round.”

“I hate you. I truly do,” Natalie moaned.

“You better thank me if you know what’s good for you. You have no one else.”

Rough hands pulled her apart filling her with humiliation worse than the physical pain.

“Clean yourself up, girl.”  He threw a rag down at her as she lay bloody and soaked in sweat.

Natalie watched the silhouette of her father walk out the barn door hearing the cries of her baby grow fainter and fainter as she lost consciousness.

***

Part Three – Jackie and Michael

“They found her.” Jackie scooped ice cream into two bowls and handed one to her brother as she sat down at the kitchen table next to the playpen.

“Holy shit. Are you serious?” He cleared the toys off and sat down across from her.

“Totally.”

“Tell me everything.” Michael switched off his phone giving her his full attention.

“Well apparently Mom was left on the steps of Main Street Church. She was wrapped in a burlap sack as if she were a bag of seed.”

“That’s sick.” He shook his head looking horrified at the thought of their mother starting life in that manner. 

“Yeah. Grandma and Grandpa were the first ones to arrive that Sunday morning and found her. They took her home and eventually were able to legally adopt her. It was all very hush hush. No one knew anything all these years.”

“Who is the mother?”

“A farm girl from the outskirts of town. Her own mother had died in childbirth and her father raised her. From what we were able to piece together, he was a very cruel man. He didn’t even tell her if she had a boy or girl, he just took the baby away from her right at birth. Horrifying.”

The siblings sat quietly absorbing the information. They had known their mother was adopted but the details were a mystery.

“Is the reunion set?” Michael asked, breaking the silence.

“Yes. She’ll be at Mom’s birthday party. I can’t wait to meet her.”

“Same,” Michael said, his voice muffled as he licked the last soupy drops of ice cream out of his bowl.

“Ewww. You still do that?” Jackie looked at her brother with disgust.

“Sure do.”

***

Part Four - The Birthday Party

The two women sat on lawn chairs sipping their iced tea, their feet in the kiddy pool. They appeared more as sisters than mother and daughter with only fifteen years separating them.  

Being surrounded by the children playing and laughing filled them with joy, made their blue eyes sparkle as they looked at each other in amazement. Although sixty years had passed since last being together, the love they felt for each other was strong.

Natalie leaned in close and whispered, “I blew you kisses all the time, more on special occasions.”

“I know,” Ida replied, absentmindedly stroking her cheek, “I felt them all.”

March 03, 2024 16:37

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26 comments

Kelly Grabovac
16:11 Mar 14, 2024

Great story! I thought it was very cool how the narratives came together at the end.

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Hannah Lynn
19:26 Mar 14, 2024

Thanks so much, Kelly! It was fun telling each character’s story separately. Thanks for reading!

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Karen Hope
15:14 Mar 11, 2024

What a beautiful story. I love how it slowly unfolds in several scenes, and we finally see how the characters are connected. The wind represents the ties between a mother and her long lost child. How sad and lovely!

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Hannah Lynn
01:13 Mar 12, 2024

I love how you said …. “The wind represents the ties between a mother and her long lost child.” I appreciate your feedback!

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Silent Mumbler
09:54 Mar 10, 2024

Wow, loved this story!

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Hannah Lynn
13:46 Mar 10, 2024

Thank you so much! I’m so glad you enjoyed it! 😊

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Kristi Gott
00:31 Mar 10, 2024

Wow, incredible writing with vivid sensory details, a well developed plot, and a surprise twist at the end. Excellent writing technique and dialogue. I am in awe.

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Hannah Lynn
02:24 Mar 10, 2024

Wow! Thank you so much! 😁

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Jeremy Stevens
16:30 Mar 08, 2024

Lovely. I adore your writing; easy to read, while simultaneously thought provoking.

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Hannah Lynn
21:04 Mar 09, 2024

Thanks so much!! That really means a lot to me! :)

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Corey Melin
17:07 Mar 06, 2024

Beautifully written story. Flowed well and well written. Just to read a sweet story always puts a smile on my face. Especially the kisses

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Hannah Lynn
13:14 Mar 07, 2024

Thank you so much, Corey! It’s always nice to hear that a story put a smile on the readers face!

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Trudy Jas
00:53 Mar 06, 2024

A soft breeze, a blown kiss. A great take on the brompt. And well told. A winner in my book.

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Hannah Lynn
02:37 Mar 06, 2024

Trudy, thanks so much for that! I’m glad you liked it. 😊

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03:33 Mar 05, 2024

That's so sweet she got to meet her biological mother at the end! "something in the air" was great foreshadowing. The transition into the violent history of her mother created a lot of tension, and showed a real contrast with her current life. Life is often like that, we eat dinner over polite conversations in a nice restaurants with table clothes, and back in the kitchen, cursing chefs are throwing our food around messy cooking stations.

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Hannah Lynn
21:42 Mar 05, 2024

Thanks, Scott! You make a good point. We really never know what goes on behind closed doors! Thanks for reading 😊

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Wally Schmidt
19:50 Mar 04, 2024

The structure you set up for this story worked beautifully. I am so glad there was a happy ending after the horrific childbirth scene. That really took a lot out of me. Great storytelling. Can't wait to read more of your work.

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Hannah Lynn
02:51 Mar 05, 2024

Thank you so much, Wally! Yes that childbirth scene was rough, really wanted to show the difference between the life of the mom on the farm versus the good life that the daughter ended up in. Thanks for the nice comments :)

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Hazel Ide
18:24 Mar 04, 2024

Wow this was really great and I love how you structured the different perspectives.

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Hannah Lynn
02:47 Mar 05, 2024

Thank you, Hazel! I’m glad you enjoyed it!

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Ty Warmbrodt
12:33 Mar 04, 2024

Awe, great story.

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Hannah Lynn
02:34 Mar 05, 2024

Thanks, Ty! Glad you liked it!

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Mary Bendickson
04:54 Mar 04, 2024

Sweet caress of an idea. Well told. Thanks for liking my 'Blessings Tree '.

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Hannah Lynn
02:34 Mar 05, 2024

Thank you so much, Mary!

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Alexis Araneta
02:15 Mar 04, 2024

I really like this ! Such a fresh take on the prompt. I was wondering how the stories were interconnected, but you brought them together seamlessly. Great job !

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Hannah Lynn
13:05 Mar 04, 2024

Thanks Stella! Glad the relationship remained a mystery until the end! Thanks for reading. :)

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