Let Me Go
Myfanwy Collins

The mothers were starving, but for those who did not smoke. The smokeless vacationed in Switzerland, brought home fine chocolate which tasted vaguely sour.  

Once she, a smoker, found a non-smoking mother in bed with her husband.

She had gone out for cigarettes, of course, and came home to find them, side by side, turned toward each other. His hand on her hip, their faces this close. Her husband was shorter than the plumper, non-smoking wife. He was muscle and sinew, small hands, bitten nails.

She said nothing, the thin, smoking mother, left the room wordless and stood out by the glittering pool with her cigarettes, breathing in chlorinated air, musing over her thin, thin life.

Oh what a glorious life it had been. What a glorious globe of a life.

If she could paint this life she would paint it in a circle with a sun and a moon and a sun and a moon, all rising and setting and rising. And beneath that a blue sky and clouds and stars. And below that grass as green as a turtle leg and deep water and a field of poppies.

Sunflowers everywhere. Just everywhere.

She would paint herself in the middle, lying in a borrowed hospital bed on Easter Sunday waiting to die. She would paint her youngest daughter next to the bed, their hands clasped together over white eyelet. How to capture the desperation on her daughter's face? Somewhere between fear and desire. Somewhere between pushing away and pulling in.

And there was her daughter's mouth opening and shutting, opening and shutting, and words just dribbling out of it.

Let me go. Let me go.

Myfanwy Collins lives in New England. Her work has appeared in Quick Fiction, The Kenyon Review, AGNI, Monkeybicycle and others.

To link to this story directly: http://wigleaf.com/200901letmego.htm

Detail of photo on main page courtesy of Marcus Zorbis.

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