Empty Heart

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


He had never known his mother, and now here she was, standing in front of him. Tired and weary from yet another long and arduous workweek, the overwhelming emotion he felt at this very moment was enough to bring tears to his eyes… but he dare not allow that to happen. He was in public, and he would not allow perfect strangers to see that kind of vulnerability.

 

“Margaret, it was nice to meet you today. I am still in disbelief.”

 

“Oh James, please, call me mom. I’m glad you were able to come to the station to see me off after a busy day at the office,” she said while absentmindedly rummaging through her purse. It was as though she couldn’t perceive the palpable tension between them.

 

“It was on my way. So, have you had the opportunity to think about my question —“

 

“James, do you have change for a payphone? I cannot seem to find any in my bag. Goodness me, I would lose my head if it wasn’t attached my shoulders.” Her eyes locked on his, and he sensed a nervousness in her tone.

 

“Yes, I believe I do. Do you have your train ticket? You don’t want to misplace that.”

 

“I do. Thank you for asking.”

 

While light streamed down through the window above, silence fell for what felt like hours. Though there were only a few reports in it, his briefcase felt like lead. James had a guarded nature, a defence mechanism developed over time to protect himself from situations like these. He did not know what else to say to her, and deep down he knew that he would not get the answers he was looking for today, and more than likely not ever. How do you carry a conversation with someone you don’t fundamentally know, but yet are connected with genetically like no other?

 

A day was not enough time to mentally prepare for this meeting. It simply wasn’t. He had built up what he thought was enough courage and resolve to sit down and talk with Margaret, but as it happened he didn’t feel like a strong and capable adult — he felt like a child again, lost in the world and not knowing where he belonged.

 

“Well, I guess I should get going. The wife likely has dinner on the table already, and the kids are going to wonder why Daddy is late.”

 

“Oh, they’ll understand. I am family, after all!” He couldn’t help but wince at that.

 

“Either way, I am hungry and starting to feel a headache coming on. Be safe on your travels home.”

 

“When can we talk again, James? I have waited so long for this day, and it all went by so quickly.”

 

For him, it couldn’t be over fast enough.


Submitted: May 01, 2020

© Copyright 2021 April V. All rights reserved.

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