13 comments

Fiction

“We should go to the party,” I whisper to Kia. 

She stares blankly at me. Her green eyes are unnaturally dim, and her lips are pressed in a thin line. 

“You haven’t been to one in a long time, and maybe it’ll help.” 

Kia blinks. 

“No.” The single word seems forced and coated in grief and sadness. 

“Not after what happened.”

Four. Words. I swallow my suppressed joy, usually she speaks in one word. Sometimes two.

I sigh slowly and look towards the mirror, at the ragged, tired woman that I am. I sip slowly from the chipped floral teacup. The tea has gone cold and tea leaves have pooled at the bottom, just like Kia likes it. I take another sip from the bitter liquid, unable to subdue my growing thirst. All Kia has, all she wants is bitter tea. She won't even let me, her own housekeeper, add a single grain of sugar.

I fold my hand over her cold fingers. “I know what happened, but that wasn’t your fault.” 

Kia sucks in a breath and lets out a dark chuckle. “It was my fault though, I should have protected her.”

I shake my head. “The fire wasn’t your fault. And it wasn’t your fault she died.”

Kia covers her face and a quiet sob shakes her frail frame. I pull my hand away.

"I shouldn't have let her go to that party," She whispers after wiping her eyes.

I look away, unable to see the once formidable woman so broken and weak. A small droplet of water carves its way down my cheek. But then I tell her something I could have learned a long time ago. Something she needs to hear.

"Stop blaming yourself."

I exhale, pushing away the memories and everything else that resurfaced with the tear.

"I know it's the easiest thing to do when your hurting." I pull her in, rubbing my hand on her back. I can feel each bone of her spine against my palm.

"But it's not healthy, or good for you."

Kia presses her lips together hard and I can hear as she pulls them open. "I know."

"Mira would have wanted you to go," I add.

Kia looks towards me her eyes glistening with tears and hope. "Maybe we should go. Maybe it will help."

"If it's what Mira would have wanted."

I cover my mouth to hide the gasp that escaped from my chest.

"It might help," She pauses to smile, "and they might have decent food. Lord knows I hate your tomato soup!"

I'm so happy, I don't even mind her insult. Or count the words.





"You look...nice," Kia says, retrieving her purse from it's dusty spot on the counter.

I smile. For the first time she speaks without the heaviness in her words. "Thanks. You look good too."

It's true, she's wearing a dark blue dress with pearls on the waist line. I have no idea where she got that from since her closet is mostly an array or blacks and grays. She's tied her graying blonde hair in a nice bun at the nape of her neck.

I smooth a wrinkle in my skirt and start to unlock the door. The keys jingle as the the locks click.

"Go ahead and wait in the car while I finish up," I tell Kia.

Click!

Click!

I push the silver button and the car chirps it's unlock song. I hear the door slam shut as Kia gets in. I twist the edge of the key into the door and feel my body relax when I realize the reality.

We are going to this party.

Kia will stop blaming herself.

And I am going to find a new recipe to feed her.

I tuck the keys in to the pocket of my jacket and make my way through the overgrown hedge.

As soon as I spot the bright orange convertible, leaves, seeds, and acorns strewn across it, I realize it's been months since she's driven.

No, since I've driven.

Have I really spent the last five and a half months cooped up in that house door dashing groceries?

"Hurry up!" Kia shouts, banging her fist on the window.

I pick up my pace and yell, "Kia! No! Don't hit the glass-you're way too strong for-"

CRACK!!!

My eyes widen and Kia starts to suddenly realize her fist has broken through the glass and is now sticking out the window.

"Oops," Kia mumbles.

My lips curve into an O and a slow gasp rocks through my mouth.

"How is that even possible?" I ask as I get in and start the car. Luckily, none of the glass cut her and now the sixty year old woman is sitting in the back, arms crossed, and lips in a frown.

"Hey," Kia says, flexing an impressive bicep. "You're looking at an ex-body builder."

"Whaaaaaaaaaat?" I call, mouth hanging open.

Kia grins ear to ear. "You didn't think this old lady was that cool huh?"

"Ya' know, back in the day I could bench press one hundred fifty pounds."

I raise and eyebrow as we start to pull out of the driveway. "What's a bench press?"




The Miller's house was four blocks away from Kia's. On this particular day they were celebrating the graduation of their youngest son, Alex. Kia used to be very close with Katherine and Eric Miller. Alex was around Kia's daughter's age and they went to the same school. Often, when Kia was at work, Mira would stay at Katherine's. More often then not, Katherine would stop by Kia's house to drop off cookies or cards. When the invitation came to celebrate, Kia hadn't thought much about it. Until I started cleaning out Mira's room.

I brought the old yearbooks and her stuffed animals to Kia to see if she wanted to keep them. She did. And amongst the proposal to keep the books, she skimmed through her daughter's classroom pictures.

"We're here," I finally say, watching Kia's hopeful expression through the mirror makes me smile.

I see Katherine waiting at the doorway, she ebony colored hair hangs past her shoulders and her smile...

"Kate!" Kia says, jumping out of the car before I park.

That woman almost gave me a heart attack. But seeing her smile and the way the carried herself makes me want to cry. With each second she grins harder and harder, she takes another step on the road to recovery.






May 12, 2021 20:53

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

13 comments

TJ Squared
19:07 May 28, 2021

wow. I liked the details you used in the mansion, the chipped tea cup, the bitter tea. And geez, you'd think a housekeeper could take better care of the house XDDD I like that irony there. I literally can't stop obsessing over the tea! It showed that she was feeling bitter, sorry, sad, worn-out, and that was just amazing! I really liked this one, Esther! L.W.

Reply

Esther :)
19:07 May 28, 2021

Lol! Thanks! XD

Reply

TJ Squared
19:09 May 28, 2021

np, ofc :)

Reply

Esther :)
19:10 May 28, 2021

:)

Reply

TJ Squared
19:16 May 28, 2021

;D

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
KED KED
20:02 May 26, 2021

What a lovely, subtle introduction to a life altering tragedy. I like how you don't really mention what actually happened...just the sadness of its effect. Nicely done :)

Reply

Show 0 replies
Olivia Wood
07:30 May 25, 2021

Nice debut story! I like that the characters are old and have lived their lives. Moreover, the happiness of the narrator when Kia speaks more is wholesome. I especially like the line, "I smile. For the first time she speaks without the heaviness in her words. "Thanks. You look good too."

Reply

Show 0 replies
Pippin Took
18:12 Jun 08, 2021

Hey!! I have a book suggestion, and there's like 12-15 books in this universe (i think) a bunch of series...The Shadowhunter Universe by Cassandra Clare!! Basically the modern Tolkien, who knows where she comes up with this stuff. It's about a fictitious (i hope) world that starts with City of Bones, where a teen named Clary is sucked into it. It's sort of...policed...by warriors of the race Nephilim called Shadowhunters. Another group of beings are called Downworlders, they're vampires, werewolves, faeries, and warlocks. Try to read in ...

Reply

Esther :)
20:41 Jun 08, 2021

AWWWW!!! Thanks so much for taking time to write these all down! WOW! Enough books to last me a couple months! Lol! Thank you! XD

Reply

Pippin Took
20:44 Jun 08, 2021

No problem!! :DDD

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Esther :)
17:24 May 23, 2021

Thanks for catching that typo! :)

Reply

Show 0 replies
Dhwani Jain
05:48 May 22, 2021

Hello again Esther, It was a fabulous story, I liked the bit of humour you put in it (How in the world did a 60 year old woman break a glass window? :0) Also, your dialogues were awesome (for me, even I am new here.) I did find one typo: I have no idea where she got that from since her closet is mostly an array or blacks and grays. I think it should be 'an array of black and grays.' Nice story in general.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Esther :)
21:15 May 16, 2021

This story was done kind of fast so if you have any comments/editing tips feel free to post them. I really appreciate any feedback you can give, I am new to this so any advice would help. Thanks!!! :)

Reply

Show 0 replies