“It was right there!”
“You say that every time you lose your phone, Celeste.”
My mother’s grimace was growing on her face as I frantically started throwing the papers on the dining room table around searching for my phone.
“I mean it this time,” I wailed and continued my desperate attempt to locate my Smartphone.
“I would say retrace your steps, but we do not have time. We have to leave, now.”
Her tone was final, and I let the last few teardrops that had been welling in my eyes escape down my cheeks. It was hopeless. All day without my phone. This would be excruciating. A wedding for my mom’s friend and then a family reunion, both without my dad for the first time. It had been almost a year since he died in the line of duty as a Springfield police officer. He was on the side of the road with a disabled vehicle when a drunk driver hit his cruiser and him from behind. Mom and I both didn’t leave the house much afterwards. In fact, this was the first real outing for us together since the funeral.
“We are going to be late.”
“I’m not sure I want to go,” I said quietly.”
“Celeste, honey, you are going to be a junior this year at school and you need to start getting back out there.”
I raised my eyebrow at her.
“Alright, we both need to start getting back out there. That is why I accepted this wedding invitation. Your father hated going to weddings, so I figured it wouldn’t be so painful to be there without him.”
I laughed a little. Dad did hate weddings. He thought it was all a colossal waste of money and gave people too many reasons to act badly because it was a “special day.” We usually sat at a back table and watched. Mom, however, liked to dance and mingle. She was a pro too. She floated around weddings and other events with ease striking up easy conversations, laughing with people she had just met, or reminiscing with people she hadn’t seen in years. She never missed a beat and was pleasantly exhausted on the drives home.
I looked back up at my mom who was also smiling.
“Do you remember Josephine’s wedding?”
I took in a short quick breath.
“Yeah, that old woman spun dad around on his way back to our table. She started trying to dance with him. He was horrified and tried to dance a little while getting her to release his arm. I wish someone would have snapped a picture of that!”
“Oh. I did,” my mom said triumphantly.
“Seriously?” I responded and gaped at her.
“Yes, but he made me promise to never show it to anyone.”
“Figures,” I grumbled.
“I might be persuaded to show you between events though today. Especially, if we need a good laugh.”
Mom winked and then headed out toward her car. I rummaged around on the table one more time for my phone but gave up after a few swipes of my hand. It was gone and had disappeared right before my eyes.
The day was wonderful. The wedding was beautiful and as I walked around with my mom her energy and excitement became contagious. She introduced me to all of the people she worked with, and I even got asked to dance by one of her co-worker’s sons. He was gorgeous. We danced a couple of fast dances and then one slow dance before my mom and I had to leave. He asked if I was interested in going out sometime and I said sure, but I didn’t have my phone with me to trade information. He laughed and ran to get paper and a pen from his table. He returned with his name and phone number on a napkin. Then he snapped a quick selfie of us and said if I wanted a copy of the picture, I would have to text him. I hated leaving the wedding.
On the way to the family reunion, my mom showed me the infamous disco dancing picture of my dad. It was hilarious. His inability to escape mixed with the determination on the old woman’s face was priceless. My mom and I couldn’t talk for ten straight minutes, because it was extremely hard to breathe and speak with that picture open.
The family reunion was much more difficult. Family members from my dad’s side of the family were thrilled we had finally decided to come to a gathering, but they overwhelmed my mother from the moment we walked onto the driveway. Everyone hugged her as she walked in, people were crying as they reached out for her, and my grandmother even asked if she was dating anyone. My normally exuberant mother started to wilt before my eyes. It was devastating to watch.
“Sorry, Aunt Lucille,” I said interrupting her sobbing on my mom’s shoulders, “I am not feeling well. I need my mom to take me home.”
The surprised look on my mom’s face gave no indication if she was angry, relieved, or surprised at my interruption. However, ten minutes later we were back in our car and mom had her head on the steering wheel.
“How long were we there?” She asked with her head down.
“A little over two hours,” I answered and reached out to put my arm around her shoulders.
“I never even made it to the backyard.”
“I know. I turned around to ask you about food and realized I had been pushed through the house without you. When I finally was able to make my way back out front, Aunt Lucille had you in a pretty tight hug.”
Mom lifted her head and looked at me.
“You’re not sick are you.”
“No. I just thought it was time to go. We can always go back another time when they are not so needy.”
Mom smiled weakly at my attempt at a joke and then started to cry.
“For what, mom.”
She reached over and pulled my phone out of her purse. My mouth fell open slightly as she handed it to me.
“It really was on the table, but I was afraid you really wouldn’t spend the day with me if I didn’t take it.”
I took a few breaths as I looked at the phone in my hands.
“You would have been right,” I admitted reluctantly, “I had planned to stay in a corner all day and just watch YouTube videos or listen to Spotify.”
“I shouldn’t have taken it. I am really sorry, and I hope you had a good day.”
“I had a fabulous day with you mom and wait until I show you the picture of the guy I danced with at the wedding. He wants to go do something next week too. Maybe we could go to a movie. I haven’t been to a movie since before Covid.”
I could see my mom beginning to smile as she started the car.
“That sounds great, and he was cute. I saw him give you a piece of paper.”
“It was a napkin with his number on it,” I paused as I pulled it out from my purse, “Do you mind if I text him back now?”
“Not at all. Please do. Just tell me what you want for dinner. We can pick it up on the way home. I’m starving.”
There was a small silence and then in unison we both loudly said, “Hawaiian Pizza!”
It was dad’s favorite.
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I love this story! I think it encompasses so many emotions so well, and I enjoyed how, despite all the negative buildup, the wedding turned out so well. I only have one suggestion for you: use more contractions in your dialogue. It'll make it flow nicer and sound more realistic to the way people talk. The dialogue definitely improved in flow towards the end of the story, but it felt a little stiff at the beginning. Super enjoyable read. Nice work! --Tommie Michele
Thank you for reading my story and offering constructive feedback. I appreciate your thoughts and when I revise this story I will try to work in more contractions. Thank you again!
A true little piece of life. It captured so well the mind of a teenager addicted to the smart devices. I found myself on the 'mom' generation, especially since today someone mocked me for not using Spotify. I said I still use vinyl records.
I totally relate! I find myself enjoying music on all fronts, but I still prefer the classics! Thank you for your comments!