Reflection


Cara glances at the spoon her mother holds towards her, a spot of lime Jell-o at the tip. She sees herself upside down, a long drawn-out face, a wall of books behind her.

"Cara." Her mother shakes the spoon. The Jell-o moves in response, little reverberations spreading out like an accusation. Cara opens her mouth. A baby bird.

"I'm too thin," she says after swallowing.

"You're beautiful."

"I can still see, Mom." She sighs. "You know what I just realized?"

Her mother dabs at Cara's face with a napkin. "What's that?"

"I see the world through reflection."


"How so?"

"This morning, I watched trees in your windshield. I saw a cloud pass by."

Her mother brightens. "It's good to see nature."

"I see emotion reflected in the eyes of people. Fear. Helplessness. Pity."

"I see it too," her mother whispers.

"And in store mirrors, I see you. Always behind me. My constant companion, putting your life on hold."

"I'm glad to do it, Cara." Her mother had been a successful trial lawyer, all suits and pearls and perfectly coiffed hair. Now...

"What do you see when you look in the mirror?"

Her mother laughs. "Wrinkles. Grey hair."

Cara laughs too.

"Do you wish Dad were here to help?" Cara's father had filed for divorce three days after the accident. Occasionally he would visit, sitting stiffly upon his easy chair, a guest in his own home. Finally, Cara'd told him not to come back.

"It's easier without your father moping about, always asking why."

"We'll never know why," Cara says, echoing the words of the quiet minister who'd tucked himself into the corner of the hospital room that first day.

"Sometimes life just gives you this stuff," her mother says. "And you just have to get through it, one damn day at a time."

Cara imagines nodding, but of course she cannot. "Dad pays you to take care of me."

Her mother dips the spoon into the Jell-o and lifts it to Cara's mouth.

This was written for this week's Trifecta Writing Challenge. The word was companion.







Labels: ,

Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: Reflection

Monday, November 18, 2013

Reflection


Cara glances at the spoon her mother holds towards her, a spot of lime Jell-o at the tip. She sees herself upside down, a long drawn-out face, a wall of books behind her.

"Cara." Her mother shakes the spoon. The Jell-o moves in response, little reverberations spreading out like an accusation. Cara opens her mouth. A baby bird.

"I'm too thin," she says after swallowing.

"You're beautiful."

"I can still see, Mom." She sighs. "You know what I just realized?"

Her mother dabs at Cara's face with a napkin. "What's that?"

"I see the world through reflection."


"How so?"

"This morning, I watched trees in your windshield. I saw a cloud pass by."

Her mother brightens. "It's good to see nature."

"I see emotion reflected in the eyes of people. Fear. Helplessness. Pity."

"I see it too," her mother whispers.

"And in store mirrors, I see you. Always behind me. My constant companion, putting your life on hold."

"I'm glad to do it, Cara." Her mother had been a successful trial lawyer, all suits and pearls and perfectly coiffed hair. Now...

"What do you see when you look in the mirror?"

Her mother laughs. "Wrinkles. Grey hair."

Cara laughs too.

"Do you wish Dad were here to help?" Cara's father had filed for divorce three days after the accident. Occasionally he would visit, sitting stiffly upon his easy chair, a guest in his own home. Finally, Cara'd told him not to come back.

"It's easier without your father moping about, always asking why."

"We'll never know why," Cara says, echoing the words of the quiet minister who'd tucked himself into the corner of the hospital room that first day.

"Sometimes life just gives you this stuff," her mother says. "And you just have to get through it, one damn day at a time."

Cara imagines nodding, but of course she cannot. "Dad pays you to take care of me."

Her mother dips the spoon into the Jell-o and lifts it to Cara's mouth.

This was written for this week's Trifecta Writing Challenge. The word was companion.







Labels: ,

38 Comments:

At November 18, 2013 at 9:19 AM , Anonymous injaynesworld said...

Seriously. Now I just want to shoot myself. You are so freakin' brilliant. What a beautifully rendered piece. And they just put the prompt up today. As the saying goes, "I'll have what she's having." Lovely, lovely, lovely, my friend.

 
At November 18, 2013 at 9:23 AM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

Jayne, madame script writer extraordinaire: You're embarrassing me with your praise. Thanks so much for your lovely, supportive comments!

 
At November 18, 2013 at 11:12 AM , OpenID momosapien said...

Wow. This is really powerful. I love the dialogue.

 
At November 18, 2013 at 11:35 AM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

Thanks, Momosapien. Looking forward to reading your entry this week.

 
At November 18, 2013 at 2:49 PM , Anonymous JannaTWrites said...

This is heartbreaking, but the bond between them is just beautiful. I like how the history unfolded bit by bit as the story progressed.

 
At November 18, 2013 at 3:04 PM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

Thanks, Janna! Your piece was lovely.

 
At November 18, 2013 at 4:16 PM , OpenID thewordpirate said...

This was such a stunning piece of writing that I read it three times. I can't imagine having to be in this situation, but I'd do it in a heartbeat if I had to. Excellent work, Kelly.

 
At November 18, 2013 at 4:21 PM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

Thanks, Pirate! I thought your piece was terrific this week - Loved that you brought in some history.

 
At November 18, 2013 at 5:59 PM , Blogger Draug said...

Great work!

 
At November 19, 2013 at 3:56 AM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

Thanks, Draug!

 
At November 19, 2013 at 4:05 AM , Blogger kymm said...

Love that you chose a mother-daughter relationship to illustrate companion. Another hat to pull down from the hat rack!
I also love Cara's seeing things through reflections - almost as if it were easier that way than head on. Brave women.

 
At November 19, 2013 at 7:02 AM , Blogger MOV said...

oh, so sad! but at least her mind is still sharp after the accident. makes me want to know more about the dad...... great writing!

best,
MOV

 
At November 19, 2013 at 7:56 AM , Blogger Flippa Bird said...

That was haunting and lovely all at the same time!! I loved this piece!!!

 
At November 19, 2013 at 2:40 PM , Anonymous steph said...

Oh the details - everywhere from the jello to the reflections. Wow. It may embarrass you, but I'm sitting next to Jayne on this one. Her comment is spot on. :)

 
At November 19, 2013 at 3:43 PM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

Thank you, Kymm!

 
At November 19, 2013 at 3:44 PM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

I'm wondering about the dad as well - Thanks for reading MOV!

 
At November 19, 2013 at 3:44 PM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

Thanks for reading, Flippa!

 
At November 19, 2013 at 3:45 PM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

Thanks, Steph. Looking forward to reading your piece at Trifecta!

 
At November 20, 2013 at 12:51 AM , Blogger Trifecta said...

This story reaches through the screen and touches the reader in a way that's beyond touching. It's wonderful. Thanks for linking up!

 
At November 20, 2013 at 6:25 AM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

Thanks, Trifecta! You made my morning!

 
At November 20, 2013 at 9:49 AM , OpenID theinnerzone said...

I agree with others - this is one of the best entries!

 
At November 20, 2013 at 9:53 AM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

Thanks so much for reading and responding!

 
At November 20, 2013 at 7:49 PM , Blogger Lauren said...

This is a beautiful, touching piece.

 
At November 21, 2013 at 3:55 AM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

Thanks for stopping by, Lauren!

 
At November 21, 2013 at 5:35 AM , Blogger Alison McDonough said...

Kelly, this is just lovely.

 
At November 21, 2013 at 6:03 AM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

Thanks, Alison! Hope all is well!

 
At November 21, 2013 at 9:10 AM , Blogger Kathy said...

Amazing piece of writing! So poignant!

 
At November 21, 2013 at 9:43 AM , Blogger Ivy said...

Oh, wow! This is exquisite.

"Sometimes life just gives you this stuff," her mother says. "And you just have to get through it, one damn day at a time." <----- This line really hit home for me as I'm currently taking care of my ailing mother.

Really lovely, touching work!

 
At November 21, 2013 at 10:57 AM , Anonymous Lance said...

I'm so envious of how you make every word count. Cara's self awareness is mind-blowing. And those last lines are well crafted.

damn you're good

 
At November 21, 2013 at 11:15 AM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

Thanks so much, Kathy!

 
At November 21, 2013 at 11:16 AM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

Your comments mean a lot, Lance. Thanks for stopping by.

 
At November 21, 2013 at 11:17 AM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

Thanks so much, Ivy. I appreciate your reading.

 
At November 22, 2013 at 7:49 AM , Blogger Jo-Anne Teal said...

Kelly, my breath catches at the beauty you have contained in this. Your use of the sparest and yet most evocative of images is stunning. I will think of this story for a long time. Truly magnificent writing.

 
At November 22, 2013 at 7:54 AM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

Thanks so much, Jo-Anne!

 
At November 23, 2013 at 9:38 AM , Anonymous injaynesworld said...

Congratulations on the Trifecta win! Much deserved! :)

 
At November 23, 2013 at 12:48 PM , Blogger tedstrutz said...

What the hell was that? No wonder you won. Extraordinary depth to this piece. I loved the image in the first paragraph. I had a friend in this condition after diving in the ocean and finding it too shallow. I fed him a few times. My girlfriend and I would take him to the park to watch kids play softball. Your piece brought that all back to me... I had not thought of him for 30 years. Thank you, Kelly. This is what writing is all about.

 
At November 23, 2013 at 1:30 PM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

Thanks, Jayne!

 
At November 23, 2013 at 1:31 PM , Blogger Kelly Garriott Waite said...

Thank you, Ted. I appreciate your comments!

 

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