Tag: Family

Carrots by Phoebe Thomson

I was smoking in dad’s garden, pacing and stamping around. There were some seeds on Dad’s kitchen table and I had sprinkled them onto the soil. I might have fainted or tripped, the doctors say. I don’t know which.

Dad’s neighbour saw me, and she got me to the hospital. They didn’t want to send me home that night, so they kept me in a bed there. I listened to the same podcast over and over. It was about wild deer living on a housing estate on the edge of London. The deer peeped in the ground floor windows while people were doing their washing up. I must have listened to it five or six times. I kept forgetting parts, because of the concussion.

Compassionate Leave by Dan Brotzel

‘Hi Barry, it’s Tanya.’

‘Oh hi Tanya, thanks for taking my call. I know you must be busy with the pharma conference…’

‘Certainly am, Barry. We most certainly are! We’re missing your input! Anyway, what can I do for you? How’s it all going?’

‘Phrr, well it’s pretty tricky, I’m afraid. I’ve managed to pin down my daughter’s location…’

‘Right…’

Amy by Sheila Kinsella

The oars swish through the water, each stroke taking me further away from Mum and the baby. Brown and orange leaves float on the water around the boat. The baby’s screams echo around the valley from the canal bank; she didn’t want to get in – now she does, but it’s too late. My brother bickers with Dad, rocking the rowing boat from side to side. I cling to the seat; water splashes my face.

I scream and sit bolt upright. It’s as if there’s no air in my lungs; I let out a huge sigh and take shallow, fast breaths. My heart is palpitating, and I am soaked in sweat. It’s the same dream, always without an ending.

The Peacock Lady by Erica L. Williams

Your house smelled as if bathed in Pine-Sol. Ebony and Jet magazines cluttered the coffee table. You didn’t care that they were twenty years old. It reminded you of when Junior was young and your husband, Manny, was faithful and alive.

“How you been, Mom?” Junior asked. Cheeks puffy. He sat in the chair next to the sofa.

“I’m fine, Junior,” you said, adjusting your auburn-colored wig. “Nice of you to ask since I haven’t seen you in months?”  

His face, the color of sandalwood, flushed crimson. “It’s only been a couple of days.” He fiddled with the papers in his hand. “You’re all set to move next week.”   

Flung to the Winds Like Rain by Rick Hollon

“Tell me about my other lives, Mama.”

“That’s not a good idea, Elm.”

“I’m not a child.” I stomped away from Mother and pressed my nose against the station window. I saw my eyes, brown, angry, reflected above fog and black rocks. If I looked at the horizon I could pretend not to see the other reflections, the vast white curve of Mother’s body behind me, the other girls tumbling around me. I could pretend to be alone on this empty wet and dreary world.

Collapses of the Night Sky by Laysha Ostrow

3:33 a.m. Every night for the past six weeks. In the long moments before dawn, far away but imminent. The sleeplessness wasn’t just annoying, it was persecutory. Waking in a pool of her own sweat, blazing like she was running in her dreams, chased by demons. Quickly falling into sleep only to be woken with a start.

And why 3:33? Or was it sometimes 3:23, or 3:43, or even 4:33?

Clothes Make the Man by Tom Barlow

Sybil had known her brother Wyatt was gay since he was 14 and sold his BMX bike to pay for a ticket to a Madonna concert. However, in the 15 years since he ran away from home, they had avoided the subject during their infrequent phone conversations, he in San Francisco, she back in Columbus.

Although she and her husband Ian worked hard to show no prejudices in that direction, she’d been just as glad to avoid sharing her brother’s orientation with their children rather than try to explain it to Xavier and Bailey. At eight it might just confuse the boy, and Bailey, now a teenager, had reached the point where anything having to do with her family, from her father’s bicycle commute to Sybil’s hand-knit Christmas sweaters, was deeply humiliating.

An Exoskeleton of Fear by Catherine O’Brien

That night I shed an exoskeleton of fear. It happened as a sweet pulsation overlooking the river. My body crackled with suspense as, like an exhausted sprinter, I was overlapped by a clear and gracious winner. There was no creaking or moaning as it wrenched itself free. It left quietly and with all its dignity. 

I’d been gifted an excuse, a chance to reclaim my wilderness and that’s the end of my story.