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Fiction Drama

Mama? I see her, or at least I think that’s her. After twenty years, I can’t be certain. I assess my surroundings. People have flocked to the baggage carousel. Everybody’s eyes are on the first suitcase as if it will magically transform into theirs; it’s bright blue. It’s doubtful that it will go home with the wrong owner, yet people ponder it just the same. There’s an exit to my left. Has she seen me? I’ve grown up; she might not know who I am. I could bolt, but something grounds me. What that something is, I know not. Fear? Curiosity? The need for answers?  I stand transfixed. I want to run to her, envelop her, and pretend that time has not lapsed. I want to bury my head in her shoulder and cry like a little girl. At least then she could comfort me. At least then we could tell ourselves that we have a normal mother-daughter relationship. There’s nothing to see here, folks, take your luggage and keep moving. But if I ran to her, would that mean forgiveness? I am uncertain that I have the capacity. They say that forgiveness is for the person giving, but assuming I agree to this tabula rasa, would she not benefit?

 Forgiveness is not forgetting; I assume that’s why it’s so damn hard. I’ll never forget the taxi waiting in our driveway. Its headlights shining into our living room as mama opened the door. There was no yelling, no crying. The silence baffled me. I wanted her to fight. I wanted her to do something.  Something to show that she cared, that she was going to miss me, that she loved me. My parents’ faces were stoic. A deal had been made between them, but one that I was not made privy to. My mother walked out the door and I whispered goodbye.   

I spent many a birthday blowing out my candles holding my wish close to my heart. Please let my mother come back to me. When others would ask about my wish, I would tell them it was a secret. A wish desperately desired that a fear of uttering it would make it not come true. I spent many a night wishing on stars, hoping beyond hope. Christmas wasn’t any better, except instead of wishing, I was actually asking. Asking the man in the bright red suit to put my mama in his sleigh and bring her back to me.  I asked the Man upstairs too. If he would give me this one thing, I would be a better person. I would give all my money to the poor, if only. 

When I turned sixteen; however, I soon came to realize how life really works. I stopped wishing, asking, and praying. I misplaced my faith and instead entrusted my heart to boys at school.  These boys only used and abused me. Instead of filling the void, they created a greater one. This hole seemed inescapable.

My childhood wasn’t without love, though. I will be forever grateful to my father for putting his blood, sweat, and tears into raising me. It wasn’t easy on him either. Every night he would come home from work a little older and a little grayer. He never complained, and we always had food on the table. He never cursed or blamed my mother, at least not out loud anyway. When I fell into the hole, it was my father who saved me. He could see that I was lost. One day he sat my sixteen-year-old self down and said I was old enough to know the truth. He said I could do what I wanted with it, but it was time that I knew.

My mother had a new life, a sober one. She had a new husband, new kids, a dog, and a white picket fence. Okay, so I might be speculating somewhat, but she really did have a new family in Florida. At first, I was angry. I was jealous. Why had she replaced us with them? Why weren’t we good enough? From that day I still have resentment, but I have an understanding. My mother had not left because she didn’t love us. She left because my father was protecting me. He sent her away, and told her to come back after she had dealt with her demons. Armored with knowledge, I said goodbye to the boys and put my faith back in God. I focused on my studies. I had decided it was time to stop feeling sorry for myself. The pain was still there, but I was able to suppress it some. My journey wasn’t easy, but I graduated from high school, then college, and then I got my master’s in education.     

Now, at thirty years old, I have lots of love. My students shower me with it, as does my fiancé. My father is doing well; he and I talk just about every day. It was during one of those talks that he told me that mama had found him. She had asked about me and wanted to see me. I had considered keeping her out of my life. I had worked tirelessly to cope with her loss. What if she left me again? I decided, however, to at least listen. My fiancé offered to go with me, but this was something I had to do alone. 

Which is why, after all of these years, I find myself staring at my mother. She is different than I remember. Her once long, brown hair is cut short and dyed blonde. She is thinner too as if time has whittled her away. I suppose it’s whittled away at all of us really. She finds her suitcase and starts looking around. This is it. I tell myself as I put on a brave face and waive. When she locates me, she doesn’t run but her pace quickens. As soon as she gets within a few feet of me she stops. 

“Wow. Is that really you Lu Lu? She said. 

It hurts to hear her call me that. Lu Lu walked out that door with her. She can’t waltz back into my life and pretend nothing has changed. I can’t fault her though. In her mind, I’m still a ten year old girl. 

“It’s me, Mama. It’s Lucy.” 

“Aren’t you a beauty?” She replied with tears in her eyes. “May, I hug you?”

      I nodded. She wrapped her arms around me and held me tight. To my surprise, I buried my head in her shoulder and cried. I had thought acquiescence meant instant forgiveness, instant healing. What I’ve learned is that it’s the first step in a long process that only time can give.   

February 03, 2021 01:33

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14 comments

Writer Maniac
04:44 Mar 04, 2021

I really liked this story! It felt very personal and realistic, and her backstory was not new or different, but the way you portrayed it made it feel more real. There were many lines that stuck with me till the end, and will stick with me for a long time, here are some of them: 1. A wish desperately desired that a fear of uttering it would make it not come true. 2. She is thinner too as if time has whittled her away. I suppose it’s whittled away at all of us really. 3. Lu Lu walked out that door with her. I really enjoyed the story, very we...

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Kate Winchester
05:22 Mar 04, 2021

I appreciate it! Thank you. Glad you liked it. 😀

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Writer Maniac
05:55 Mar 04, 2021

No problem, would you mind giving me feedback on a story of mine called 'Not Worth It'?

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Amanda Lieser
22:35 Dec 16, 2021

Hi Kate, My heart absolutely melted in this story. I loved how you structured the way the narrator’s mother’s life was and the way hers was. I also loved how you described the way her father stepped up to the plate. My favorite line in this piece was: Forgiveness is not forgetting; I assume that’s why it’s so damn hard. This was a beautiful story; thank you for writing it. If you have a moment, please consider reading my piece “Birth Mother” and tossing me a comment. Thank you so much! Amanda

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Kate Winchester
23:27 Dec 16, 2021

Thank you! I’m glad you liked it. 🤗 Yes, I’ll be sure to check out Birth Mother!

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Wow, this story is stunning, Kate! The main character's thoughts of forgiveness and healing add so much beauty to the story and they have an impact on the reader. The way she asked the questions helped the reader to understand her thoughts perfectly. This was a very powerful piece. If you would like feedback, there are just a few lines that could be changed, feel free to ignore this. - "I tell myself as I put on a brave face and waive." Should it be spelled wave? I might be wrong if there are two possible spellings of the word. - "Is that r...

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Kate Winchester
21:34 Mar 07, 2021

Thank you so much! Oops, I can’t believe I made those mistakes. Lol

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Andrew Krey
02:17 Mar 01, 2021

Hey Kate, I really liked this story, its a great example of not needing action/a thriller to be gripping, as the whole story is set (in terms of timeline) within a few moments as she waits for her mother, but we get her whole life story. I really liked that concept - to anyone watching her she's just standing there waiting, but in her mind she's on an emotional roller coaster, and we get taken along for the ride too. The wishing on the candles was an excellent touch, great imagery and also heartbreaking that those are the wishes of a child....

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Kate Winchester
02:51 Mar 01, 2021

Thank you! Your comments mean so much to me. Everything you said is what I was hoping to evoke from the reader. :) I wanted it to be a journey of sorts, and I'm glad that you got it. This writing style was different from my other ones, so I'm happy it worked and that you enjoyed it.

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Andrew Krey
03:04 Mar 01, 2021

You're welcome, glad to hear your writing is hitting it's marks in the right/intended way! :) Yeah it was a good approach to the story, reminded of the prompt a few months back to tell a story across ten seconds; her mind is going a mile a minute, but really it's only a few seconds of time passing. It was a clever way to express how raw her experience still is - despite all those years, her mind picks out those bad memories straight away. Then her breaking down again reinforces that while she's got a great life, it doesn't mean there isn't ...

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Kate Winchester
03:14 Mar 01, 2021

I remember that prompt! I didn't write anything because I didn't think I could do it. Apparently, I just needed a different prompt, lol. Yes, exactly, I like the way you describe it. She made the best of her situation, but it still stings.

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Andrew Krey
03:38 Mar 01, 2021

Yeah exactly, she's happy at the adult she's become, but it still stings and she wishes she had a less traumatic journey - that's the impression I get. Yeah I did write a story for that prompt, which was similar to this (probably my inner narcism thats made me like your story for the similarities lol) - mine was the contrast between an agonisingly slow action taking place across ten seconds, compared to the POV's mind that was unraveling super fast.

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Linda Brodsky
15:25 Feb 11, 2021

You did a great job, Kate, of showing us Lucy's pain over having been abandoned by her mother, and the tension she felt as she waited for the moment when they would meet agian after so many years. Nicely done.

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Kate Winchester
16:05 Feb 11, 2021

Thank you!

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