November 2019 Short Story of the Month
Even after a long day at work, my mother’s hands worked tirelessly: chopping vegetables for dinner, stitching our clothes, whatever needed doing. I loved her hands and admired them. I wanted to be strong like her. But at the time, I couldn’t be. I would have, and gladly, if I weren’t so wrapped up in my own world — a world she would never understand.
I was sitting at the table when she came in from cleaning houses. She gave me a withering look out of the corner of her eye. She thought I didn’t see those looks, but I did.
I knew I should be better but there was a large part of me that wouldn’t care. I couldn’t make myself. The pills kept me from caring about almost everything. I liked being checked out. It was easier. The longer I stayed checked out, the longer I wouldn’t have to acknowledge what happened to me.
Two Years Ago
“Have a great day at work,” my mother said as I was walking out the door. I nodded over my shoulder but kept walking. My partner was waiting for me in a navy sedan bobbing his head to whatever was on the radio.
“Let’s roll,” I said shutting the door.
The first few hours of our shift were uneventful. We broke up a fight between two men arguing over the price of fish, and we were called out to a domestic disturbance. We ended up putting bracelets on the husband, the wife, and the mistress.
The next call was the call that would change my whole life, but I didn’t know that at the time.
The Next Morning
I woke up in the hospital. The pain was excrutiating. I couldn’t even sit up. I couldn’t feel anything other than the pain. I screamed or thought I was. Then, I saw the nurse just standing there, so maybe I wasn’t screaming.
She leaned over me. “Are you awake?” She asked.
“Yes,” my voice sounded scratchy and hoarse.
The doctor was brought in and talked to me a lot, but I couldn’t focus on him or really process what he said.
Then my mother came into view. She was talking to the doctor and there were tears coming down her face.
I didn’t care and I didn’t want to talk about it. I’d lost my job and everything that day, but there was no way I was going to tell the department appointed therapist about it.
We did our usual stare off for my required weekly hour and then I left. She knew what had happened, and she knew I was taking pills. She didn’t talk about it, and I didn’t either. But I still went because if I didn’t my mom would be really disappointed in me.
At this point, it was no longer about getting better; it was about keeping the looks to a minimum.