cannot mean to raise a child here.”
Patty’s mother took a sip of her wine and grimaced before swallowing
not?” That wine was expensive—for Patty.
just not a…” her mother looked around the apartment. “…safe environment. Or particularly clean. Are you certain there are no bedbugs?”
fine. For now. Until I can get…”
me a knife, Rose. This roast is a
got it.” Patty shoved out her chair and
stomped to the kitchen. It was a
mistake, she knew now, to invite her parents to New York for the week. She’d worked so hard to make everything
perfect. The wine and the roast she’d
scrimped for. The cake she’d made from
scratch. The tree she could ill-afford. She handed her father the knife and sat.
should have thought about this before you got pregnant.”
think I’ve done a good job, Mom.” In the five years since she'd dropped out of high school to have Ellen, Patty'd managed to
get her GED, move to the city and get work at the college she was
that babysitter…” Rose began.
yeah.” Her father said. “She’s
just can’t do this, Patty.”
people off the streets to tend to your illegitimate child. Living in squalor. Likely living from paycheck to paycheck. You need to come home.”
name is Ellen, Mom.” Patty stood. “And there’s no way you’ll raise my daughter. You ruined one child.”
put a hand to her chest. Her eyes
widened. “We’re leaving.”
And within fifteen minutes, they were, indeed, gone.
she got Ellen bathed and put to bed, Patty surveyed her apartment through the
eyes of her parents. The second-hand
furniture looked dingy. The paint was
chipped. The carpet was stained. But it was hers. All she wanted now was to be done with Christmas. To remove every trace of her parents’
removed the Christmas cards from the doorway.
She could smell her mother’s sweet perfume. She unplugged the Christmas lights. She could hear her father’s cautionary tales
about fire hazards. She took the candles
from the window and unscrewed the bulbs.
She packed away the nativity scene, carefully wrapping each piece in
newspaper before tucking it away for next year.
looked up. Ellen stood in the doorway.
baby?" Patty stabbed out her
cigarette. She’d promised Ellen she’d
give them up.
wiped the tears from her cheek. “Just
straightening up a bit.”
to tell the child that she could no longer stand the sight of all these
decorations; that they served to remind her of her failures, not her successes?
She smiled. “I thought we’d take care of
it early, baby. So we can go skating in
the park tomorrow. Try out those new
skates of yours.” The skates that her
parents said were too dangerous.
A bright smile spread across her face.
tucked her daughter back into bed and gave her one last sip of water.
returned to packing away the Christmas decorations. But what to do with her residual anger; grown
cold and stale, but still there, heavy and thick upon the air?
will package them up, store them away.
She will put them right next to the nativity scene, carefully wrapped up
Next year, she will unpack them; polish them up and set them upon the mantle.
Because everyone knows that leftover anger is easily reheated.
The was written in response to a prompt from Story Dam
Choose one direction or topic
along the “leftovers” concept. It can be some additional weight gain from the
holidays, a wanton shopping spree that will be showing on the next credit card
bill… it can even be the pain-in-the-neck start of a New Year’s resolution.
Once you have your topic, write a descriptive piece (fiction or non) in which
your character is working through it. We’re shooting for realism this week, but
Labels: flash fiction, Story Dam