Contemporary Fiction

 I often think about that infamous night our mother left. Oh trust me, I don’t recall this unbearable time every day,    But that particular rainy night is something etched in my memory forever. Not a good thing. And here’s the ironic thing that I think about it. My father had a whole different perspective of what happened that fateful night.

 I will try and tell the story from my viewpoint as close as possible.

 It was a  usual Friday night, and it was raining. My mom was a stay-at-home Mom, and Dad was an insurance salesman.  We typically ordered take-out every Friday from Starlite Pizzeria in town. We would order, A large plain pie, 

( they always served their pies with thin crust) and Sausage and Italian hot dogs sandwiches to share.  These sandwiches were on fresh sliced Italian rolls, served with crispy potatoes. No sauce.

Anyway this particular evening, My dad had not arrived home yet, and mom drove down to pick up the food. You see, Starlite did not deliver. and we did not drive. 

 My younger sister Kerri was ten and I was twelve.  Prior to  Mom leaving she instructed us to set the table as she continued down the steps into the garage and drove off in her navy blue Monte Carlo. The last thing we heard was the garage door closing and silence.   

 That’s it. Case closed. Nothing more to tell. All she wrote.

 Apparently, as we found out years later, she left to meet a man, her boyfriend a neighbor.  We never had any idea that this was happening. Why would we?  After all, we were only kids. My dad? Well,  that is another story. He knew something was going on. But there would have been no reason to share this information with his daughters. And, we also found out later, she also apparently left our father a note.   She explained the whole thing. The whole sordid story. I never saw the note. Ever. My Dad destroyed it. Ripped it into shreds.

 My sister and I had no idea that anything was wrong. Looking back, we had the perfect family.  Or, so we thought. We always thought our parents had the ideal marriage. He worked, she took care of the family and paid the bills. We had the ultimate Christmas every year and celebrated birthdays with lots of presents. Every summer we went down to Cape May and rented a house for 2 weeks and brought Max our dog, a large Golden Retriever.

So what happened? Was she crazy? extremely unhappy?  My sister and I never knew. Anything. After Mom left time we were able to continue living at the house, and My Aunt Miranda and Uncle Billy came to live with us. Thanks to them our life continued as normal as normal could possibly be in those circumstances. 

My dad never discussed anything with us until we were older and  Kerri was getting ready to be married. A week before the wedding,  Dad decided to let us know what really happened that night.

 My dad sat us down in our childhood living room after fixing himself a Scotch and handed us each a  glass of Merlot.  He sat down on that same olive green faded couch that was in our living room forever, and stretched out his long legs, as he sipped his drink.  

He explained that he and Mom had not been happy.   He was wrapped up in his work and after leaving her job as a teacher to stay home and raise children,  they lost whatever connection they had to each other. They continued to go through the motions, Working, raising children, holidays,  everything in life but there was no connection. He told us that mom was depressed and being prescribed medications and seeing a  Therapist to guide her in dealing with her everyday life. At this point, I chimed in, 

“  If she was unhappy, well, how come she never went back to teaching? I mean after we were already going to school? “

“ Because at this point, she was on meds and I guess it was too late for her to go back to that life. After all, it had been years. She probably felt it was too much for her.

Dad continued with the story. He said that they both continued living their day-to-day,  existence until he found out she was cheating on him with one of our neighbors. 

He was devastated and gave Mom an ultimatum. He explained that he could deal with her depression and not talking, but cheating, this went above and beyond.  That was more than he could deal with between his work and his daughters, and well, he told her to give up the affair, and he would welcome her back. Perhaps they could go to counseling together, or maybe just work this thing out. 

He looked at the two of us  and said “ Your mother said she would think about it .”

 At this point in the conversation, Kerri Started to cry.

“ Dad! How could this have happened? Right under our noses, she was so alone in all of this !”

“ No Kerri, she was not alone. She was with our neighbor, our good friend that we went out together with as a couple. One of the parents of the children that you played with on our block. No!  She was not alone! Her Therapist tried to talk to her, I tried to talk to her !”

Then he leaned back on the couch and rubbed his eyes. 

“ Perhaps I never should have told you girls this. Maybe I am wrong to be telling this whole story.  Perhaps this is not the right decision.”

Kerri and I responded together.

 “ No Dad, you were  right to tell us .”

I continued as Kerri nodded in agreement. 

“We are a  family and we all got through the turmoil and this heartbreaking experience. We should not have any secrets. Thank you for telling us.”

But I still have one more question. “ How come we never heard from Mom? Whatever happened that she never reached out  and  we have never been able to contact her?”

My father leaned over toward my sister and me and with tears in his eyes  said  softly, 

“That is another story  for a different  time .”

November 19, 2021 15:52

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Tanya Humphreys
00:48 Nov 29, 2021

Reedsy critiquer here... I'll jump right in- You have commas in the wrong places and missing in other places. Also, inappropriate capitalization and also inappropriate 's's. Because of these issues, the story doesn't flow well and in some places is just annoying to read. What does this even mean, "...after mom left time we..." ? I don't find the last sentence a cliffhanger. Unless you plan on actually writing another chapter, it's a weak ending.


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J Jordan
14:24 Nov 25, 2021

Really nice story. Your cliffhanger has me hanging! Since I was matched with your story on Critique Circle, let me give you a little: 1. Check for simple typos, things like a period where it shouldn't be, a capitalization where it shouldn't be, too many spaces, things like that. I'm not god's gift to writing, but one thing I do is read my story aloud to myself and listen to where it sounds jagged, mismatched, or if the dialogue sounds off. If you have to adjust your speech pattern to make it sound correct, then the wording and/or punct...


Lin Darroe
16:00 Nov 29, 2021

Hi, Thanks so much for your positive critique! I use Grammarly, and I am trying to be more careful ! Glad you liked the story ! The other person's critique that I received was so negative, only focused on the grammar, and was frankly a little unsettling. Appreciate your positivity, something we all can appreciate ! Thanks!!


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