Writing stories is my joy.
But I’ve been having a hard time making myself sit down and start one lately, and I feared I’d lost the skill, the thread, the mph. The other day I forced myself to sit down for an hour and grind this out. Rough though it is, I was glad I could still pound out the skeleton.
“Mom, we have to talk.”
Mom stood at the kitchen sink, elbows pumping as she scrubbed pans.
“Can you stop for a minute and look at me?”
“I can hear you fine.”
I swallowed, then took a deep breath. “Mom, I’m sorry you’re upset.”
Water splashed out of the sink as she banged the pan up and down. Her arms moved faster.
I chewed my lip. “I’ve been talking for a long time about wanting something new. Moving to California, getting a better job. This isn’t new.”
Mom turned on the water and rinsed the pot.
I shifted on my feet. “When Sue mentioned this opening at her company—”
“Don’t blame your sister for this.” Mom grabbed a cookie sheet and slammed it into the water.
“Blaming … I’m not blaming her for anything.” I walked to the table and pulled out a chair. “I’m glad she thought about me when this job came up.”
Mom grabbed a pot scratcher and attacked the mess stuck to the pan. “Hmph.” She added warm water to the sink.
I moved away from the chair and circled the table. “Mom, this job is a real step up for me. It’s something I’m good at finally, something I really want to do.” I pushed the chair back in and continued to move around the table. “I’ll be making more money than I do now. And at least to start with, Sue and I will live together. I won’t be alone.”
The pan jerked, and more water sloshed onto the floor. “What about me?”
I stopped dead still. How many years had it been since I’d heard my mother scream?
“What about me being alone?”
She turned from the sink to face me. Her eyes were wide and streaming. She squeezed the dish cloth between her hands. “I’ll be alone.”
Mom moved to the table and sat down, laying her head in her arms and giving way to loud, shaking sobs.
My body shook too. I knelt by my mother wrapping my arms around her, pressing myself against her soaked self.
“Mom, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I don’t want to hurt you.”
Mom gasped and managed to speak to me through the rough sobs. “I know you need to move. Just like Sue did. I know you need to do this for your life.” She took a deep ragged breath and made a jerking shake in my arms. “I know it, but it hurts me so.” She sputtered and coughed.
I rested my head against my mother’s trembling shoulder and let my own tears squeeze out. “I know. I’m sorry. I love you.”