Let Me Go
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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