Keeping Up

Reads: 256  | Likes: 4  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 1

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


They looked at her, the passersby, she knew that - not at the man with the briefcase, not the man taking his time to stoop slightly to look at her, the man going somewhere important. So, tall. So, handsome. Her son.

And they gave her space. They gave her the space to study him, to touch his hand, to tell him things.

The other women, women from her group, women she’d known for almost thirty years now, hadn’t let their sons grow. They had trouble with time. They kept locks of hair and baby teeth in fancy little boxes or in Ziploc bags – if they had their sons’ hair and baby teeth – and they carried these with them in their handbags when they met. They would touch the pieces and examine them. They pulled out old photographs when they remembered their sons. They laughed about old times and got confused they were laughing about old times. But not Betty.

Betty let her son grow. When he turned five, she decorated his room with cowboys. She bought him Superman comics and Hardy Boy mysteries, when he got older. And on his twenty-fifth birthday, she got rid of it all and turned his bedroom into a sewing room. She didn’t sew, and he still came to visit her often, but it was what complete mothers did.

He bent further, now, to let her kiss him on the cheek, and he turned away first. She never ever turned away first. It was their thing, for him to turn away first, their understanding.

She’d left him for only a second to get the phone. He was old enough to leave alone for just a second. He was two, almost three. There was hardly any water in the bathtub.

Her hand blotted the tear before sending a kiss, and she watched him until he mixed with the crowd. The crowd saw only her, not him; she knew that. And they gave her space. They gave her the space to walk away.

He might already be there, she thought, waiting for her, when she got home. She’d pick up his favorite for dinner, just in case.


Submitted: May 05, 2020

© Copyright 2021 Lisa Lange. All rights reserved.

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Comments

Debby Rice

This was a terrific story. Great job. Fits the picture perfectly. Well crafted and well written.

Tue, May 5th, 2020 10:23pm

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