MOM

“I wish I could sleep forever.” She said it casually, like commenting on the weather. She wouldn’t look directly at her son as they sat sipping coffee. In his 50s now, he had his own problems.

“Seems like I’m tired all the time,” she said. She wasn’t looking for pity. That wasn’t her way.

“Have you gone through the safe deposit box? There’s some old jewelry . . . hasn’t been touched in years. Take whatever you like. Maybe it’s worth something but I don’t know. It’s of no use to me, though.” She glanced at him, still not willing to meet his gaze.

DAD

“Great to see you again.” He smiled thinly at the computer screen, trying to sound cheerful.

“Hi Dad. Great to see you too.” Had it really been fifteen years? “Nice of the staff to set this up for you.”

“Your brother helped too.” Oh. Of course he did. I watched the smile shift ever so slightly. “He’ll be back again tomorrow.”

In the background, I saw the wheelchair, food tray, pill bottles and toiletry kit on the side table.

“How’s your mother?” he asked. Even now, he still couldn’t say her name.

“She’s fine,” I said, and wondered if he cared.

“How are you?” I asked.

He didn’t answer, but just crossed his arms and sighed.

ME

It was my first appointment and I was extremely nervous. After fifteen minutes of light chat, she said, “So why are you here?” I hesitated.

“I’m not sure . . . but I can’t sleep.”

“Why do you think that is?” she asked.

An image of my Dad appeared. I could feel my shoulders tighten and I had trouble swallowing. Tears started.

“I think I need to forgive someone.”

She leaned forward slightly and offered me a tissue. “It’s okay. Just let it go.”

Something twisted inside. I shook my head as more tears streamed down my face.

“I can’t.”

“Then maybe just write it down. How would that feel?”

I took a deep breath. “Yes, I think that might help.” 

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Margarida Brei
Margarida Brei(@margarida-brei)
10 days ago

Preston, I really admire the way you tell the story from three perspectives through three different characters. Great novel inspiring approach. William Faulkner’s “As I Lay Dying” is told by many characters. Are you like Faulkner showing that reality is created in the eye of the observer?

Your simple dialogue and explanation of the character’s thoughts and behaviour are evocative. I will definitely read. “Mom, Dad and Me” again for ideas to write about my own parents and upbringing. The USA Thanksgiving – this Thursday, 24th November, 2022- certainly encourages us to reflect on our past personal histories and our present family relationships.

Allan Neil
Allan Neil(@allan-neil)
4 days ago

Preston, this is so touching and will hit that discordant chord with anyone familiar with broken families, or even those with just a tangential experience. Maybe I shouldn’t ask but…was it close to home?

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Sotto Voce
Sotto Voce(@sotto-voce)
2 days ago

That is a beautiful and touching story, Preston. I hope time heals the old wound, at least partially. 

Last edited 2 days ago by Sotto Voce
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