It’s that time of the week again!
The contest is growing! This week, we have three wonderful pieces to choose from in advancing the story. They all pull at our heartstrings and I’m sure you’ll enjoy reading them. Check out part one and two, and choose which of the pieces below best continues them.
Chad R. Smith – @CRSmith4719
Her gentle hand on my cheek recoiled quickly. The eyes which had moments ago been tender and loving, darted quickly around the room. Momentary panic gripped Mom tightly. She fidgeted in her chair, shuffled her feet.
“Gotta get up,” she mumbled. Frail arms struggled to move her slight frame upward.
She was so weak. I barely knew the woman before me. She was not the Mother from my memories. Not the spitfire woman who held a house of five children together, while Dad worked long hours at the mill.
My Mom bravely faced the daily struggle of surviving. My Mom took life’s hardships with a grin and the perseverance of a battle-hardened soldier. She was a fighter. Now this weak woman in front of me wanted only to flee.
I put a hand gently on her shoulder to stop the struggling to stand. Instantly her battle against gravity was forgotten as she spun her head towards me.
Mom stared blankly as our eyes locked. She tried in vain to hide the confusion. I knew she was straining to understand why I looked familiar. I was a fleeting memory, a name on the tip of her tongue. A person forgotten. Her cracked lips pursed and her sad eyes squinted as she searched for a glimpse of insight.
“I’m just a friend.”
The final word caught in my throat. It threatened to choke me. I wanted to run. I wanted to scream. I wanted to make her remember me. I wanted to yell that I was more than just “a friend!” That I was her youngest. Her baby!
I turned away quickly and fought to hold back the tears. I never imagined that being simply “a friend” could hurt so much. Being a friend implied so much to most people. A friend is the person that is there when you need someone. I was much more than a friend, yet someone much worse. I was the child that left.
In that brief second, I wanted to fall to my knees and beg her to forgive me. I wanted to cry in her lap and have her tell me it would be alright. I wanted to be a child again with a scraped knee that Mommy would make better.
At that moment, for the first time in years, I wished I had not left.
Renee L.Tennis-McKinley – @
I opened my lips to say Mother, but no sound came. In my hesitation, I saw the focus leave her face once again. She clutched the quilt tightly and began to rock. Lost in memories that may or may not include me.
I left her there with the quilt in her lap.
Perhaps I should not have come back.
Wounds long scarred over began to seep anew. Bruises faded by time and distance throbbed.
Had I really believed I would receive an apology…an explanation, for the despair of my childhood?
Any hope faded with the blank gaze of her eyes. Questions to the nurses attending her confirmed my fears. She hadn’t recognized her husband for months. She seldom spoke. She ate when told, slept when the lights were turned off. Nothing more could be done.
With my father’s death, I lost the chance to ask him why. What was the crime I’d committed that made him turn against me. I’d written so many times, hoping he would slip, give me a hint to his lack of feeling. He never wrote back.
My mother’s letters had been filled with postcard descriptions of her days. She conveniently avoided the subject of her husband. When she stopped writing I assumed she had gotten tired of the charade. I found out she’d been in the nursing home over a year when I spoke to their neighbors.
I should have come back sooner.
Once I slid behind the steering wheel of my car, I let the tears flow. Searching for a tissue, I found the one other thing I’d taken from their house.
A letter addressed to my mother, from a man I didn’t know.
It began; “Mom.”
Stephanie Ayers – @theauthorSAM
I opened my eyes, remnants of the daydream hazing around the edges of my mind. A gust of wind made the rocking chair creak, its chilly finger caressed my cheek as it passed. Tears pooled against my eyelids. I let them fall, unable to withhold the ache of my heart any longer. I buried my face into the quilt, inhaling the scents of the house—cinnamon, moth balls, Downy April Fresh. The wind changed direction, resting heavy arms on my shoulders and threading wispy ribbons around me. I wailed once, my voice filled the small space. It bounced back to me from the window and trembled through me. The wind clutched me tighter giving me pause.
My face rose from the blanket, and my eyes sweep the room. Ice ran through me again, jerking the blanket from my grasp, and it fell to the floor. I gasped as a shadow crossed the wall. It waited for a moment, like a beckoning finger, and disappeared as I stepped forward. I opened the door to another shadow bathed room. Whatever I thought I saw was lost in this darkness. Wind pushes me forward. I stumbled over something in my path. I knelt, and searched the floor until I found it. Soft velvet crinkled under my fingertips.
A tear plopped hollowly on the wooden floor. My childhood teddy, the one Christmas present I ever received, its white fur yellowed with age, its soft brown nose peeling, and its sapphire blue velvet vest cloaked in dust, cradled in my arms. I had thought it lost so many years ago, but here it was, a kept memory.
Yes, I had indeed stayed away too long.
I can’t express enough how excited I am about this contest! Thanks to everyone who’s submitted and voted thus far – this contest would be nothing without you guys.
Hope everyone enjoys these stories as much as I do. Can’t wait to see which story leads us into next week!
Voting will be open until Saturday at 11:59PM EST. Be sure to share the voting post and show these authors some love!
As always, think happy thoughts!
Image Credit: Image found via Google Image Search on photoree.com