For Mother’s Day, I share another gift of short fiction.
I wrote the original version of “Mother’s Day” several years before my own mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, so she was able to read and enjoy it. It later won a large prize in a small contest and a small prize in a large contest, and still stands as the only fiction that has earned me any money; $100 total, I think.
These days, I write enough fiction in the present tense that it no longer seems weird or experimental. This was the first effort.
It is the first day of third grade. I am going to skip all the way to school. My flopping braids beat my back and my new yellow dress flaps against my legs. My arms drink September sunshine as I spring first on one foot, then the other. My mother calls to me from the porch. I turn back, but my mouth does not reply with the usual, “Yes, Mama?” I can’t move my lips. The street, the houses, the sunshine, and Mama all fade into gray.
“Good morning,” says a woman’s voice. “How are you today?”
Where am I? I’m lying in bed with light shining on my closed eyelids. I must be awake, but it feels like a dream. I keep my eyes closed. I want to go home, one more time.