Adrift

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A daughter watches her mother break into her boyfriend's car and find out he is chaeting. The moment reverses the mother-daughter roles and forces the girl into the adult world of cynicism.

Submitted: October 01, 2008

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Submitted: October 01, 2008

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 At fourteen, I am my mother’s constant companion. The passenger seat of our silver, Chevy sedan is my spot. One particular, errand-running afternoon my mother effuses tense anger. She drives purposefully. Her head stretches up with alertness and her profile is as serious as a portrait on a Roman coin. I sense we are on a mission.
We pull into the garage of an apartment building. The automatic door opening and underground space are novel to me. My mom steers the car off to the side and stops, out of the way of the garage’s intermittent traffic. My mom stares straight ahead and reaches over to my side accessing the glove compartment over my lap. She removes a pair of thin, transparent gloves like ones I have seen in doctors’ offices. I watch her put them on. “Stay here,” she orders me as if she were running into the convenience store for milk. I witness her walking to a car and opening its door. She bends over and the top half of her disappears from my sight. After several minutes, she returns and hops back in our car. Her movements are jerky and her face is flushed. She u-turns to the exit lane.
Once the garage doors closes behind us, she speaks, as if we are now out of enemy territory. “Boris is having an affair,” she announces vehemently. Boris is my mother’s boyfriend, a jolly, pot-bellied professor.
I do not say a word. I notice the car seat sticking to the backs of my thighs. my mother does not like my silence. “I thought you of everyone would understand,” she explodes. her hands clench the steering wheel and her face crumples. She starts to cry.

Honestly, I do not know what to say. I know she is hurt but it strange to see my mom cry in the same way I cry, like a girl. “I’m sorry,” I manage. “Are you okay?"


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