Category Archives: mothers

Friday #Fiction 2.1 — Dr. Dres and Door Jambs

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Luther held his hand out for the keys patiently waiting for his mother to calm down, assess the moment and come to her senses. She insisted on driving from their city house to Nantucket and after the ride he’d endured on the way from the Logan Airport, there was no way; he’d rather walk, despite the nagging pains in his legs.

Editorial note: this is seventh in a series about the relationship between Claire and Luther. Please start here: www.mollyfielddotcom.wordpress.com/2013/04/12/friday-fiction-2-0-beyond-the-edge

“You can’t just come here for a weekend, mister, and tell me what to do. Everyone is trying to control me. We will get there when we get there. And we certainly won’t get there any sooner if I don’t have my Matisse scarf you bought me from the MoMA. And my sunglasses, where are my sunglasses? Have you seen them? Did you check the stove? The iron. Check the iron. Make sure it’s unplugged. Don’t look at me like that, Luther,” his mother said in a lather over nothing, shoveling through papers on her desk, picking them up and reading them, laughing, tossing them and looking through some more.

“Mother, the keys?”

“Why can’t you just relax?! I am trying to get everything done here and no one helps me.”

“Mother. The house looks fine; the timers are all set. I just want to open the windows on the car. It’s sitting in the sun and we have a long ride ahead of us if we don’t get going now. Google Maps is already showing back ups on the Sagamore, so we need to sort of… y’know get mov–”

“I don’t care about any traffic! I don’t care about the god damned Sagamore bridge. I want my sunglasses and my scarf. Here! Here are the keys! Open the windows, move the car, put it in the shade, drive it out of here, go to the Island, I don’t care. I can’t find my book, either. The one about Belushi… do you remember watching SNL with me when you were in high school? “The Samurai Delicatessen”?”

Luther’s mother Moira hurled the keys at him; they careened through the butler’s pantry and knocked his sunglasses off his face. They skidded across the floor and rested against the door jamb leading into the dining room.

Calmly, Luther took in a deep breath, like he was drawing on a water pipe, and bent over to retrieve his sunglasses. “Thank you for the keys. I had my hand out in case you didn’t notice. I don’t appreciate –”

“What I don’t appreciate, LUTHER, is your insistence that we get going. RIGHT NOW. We have time. If you weren’t such a nag, such a pain in the ass, I wouldn’t have had to throw the keys at you. Find the dog; he’s here somewhere. Your precious father wants him on the Island with us. Have you seen my letter from the attorneys?”

“Mother, I just walked in the door with you. Ten minutes ago. And no, I don’t remember watching “Samurai Delicatessen” with you; that was before my time. I’ll be right back; I’m going to go call Skipper. I have no idea what you’re talking about with the lawyer letters. I can’t ….”

“What can you do?” she hissed.

Luther left the kitchen of the cavernous Victorian brownstone house in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood. He didn’t bother with the car, he didn’t take the keys with him. He slumped through the dining room and into the front hall where one of Skipper’s beds lay empty. Skipper, like any other sentient being in that household knew that when Moira started up, the best thing to do was to hide.

He called for Skipper as he walked around the house. It had been about a year since his last visit; piles of clutter were assembling in odd places in the house. The closet where leashes, gloves and winter items were stored was becoming modestly overtaken with magazines, old mail, and catalogs. Luther moved a few paper bags worth of mail out of the way and took out two leashes: the leather one for walks and the grosgrain one for swimming. As fantastic a dog as Skipper was, he often got distracted and disoriented when in the water and sometimes it was hard to get him to come back.

Skipper must have heard the rustling of the leashes; his nails clicking along the ceramic floor heralded his approach. His shiny black hair and glistening mauve nose instantly had a soothing effect on Luther.

“Heyyyy bud-dy, hiya Skipps! Were you hiding? Werrrre yooooou hiiiiding when mommmy went nuts agaaaaaaainnnn? Hmmmmm? Buuuuuddddyyyyy…” Luther kneaded his hands in Skipper’s ample neck fur and scruffy chest cavity. “Oof. You need a bath, buddy. You wanna go car soon?”

As soon as Skipper heard the phrase, “You wanna [anything],” he started to prance and bounce off the tiles, his nails clicking and his tail wagging and contorting his body into the shape of a C with every paw tap on the floor.

Their reunion was brief. Luther’s cell phone vibrated in his pocket. It was Claire calling from work. With both curiosity and dread he considered his phone. It was after three in the afternoon; a call at this time of the day on a Friday could mean a crisis at work. Or it could mean a casual conversation with his office mate. He decided to take his chances and answer the call.

With one hand stroking Skipper’s supple and warm neck and the other swiping the phone to activate the call, he cleared his voice and said, “Yyyesssss? Luther the invincible here. What can I do you for, Clarice?”

“Oh, hey. Luther. What’s up?”

“Uhhh, nothing. You called me…. were you hoping for the voicemail?”

“MMno. No. I wasn’t,” she said. “Hi.”

“Sooooo… are you missing me? Do you need me to talk dirty to you? Are you all alone this weekend, Clarice? Can you hear the lambs?” Luther’s insistence on calling her “Clarice” at times, in reference to the Jodie Foster character in “Silence of the Lambs” agitated her; to Luther it was a compliment because he thought Jodie was hot and the mystery of her sexuality was even more of a turn-on for him; another bonus to him was that the Clarice Starling character was strong, smart and courageous.

“Don’t call me that, Luther. Look, I’m just calling because I noticed your Dr. Dres are here and I wanted you to know. I am happy to overnight them to you if you would like them. I know how you need them to aggressively promote your disinterest in those around you,” she said, her voice lilting and sad at the same time. She was standing in his cubicle, holding his headphones over an open FedEx box. “All I need is the shipping address and I can have them to you by morning.”

“Using company funds for personal gain?? Clarice, the Bureau would never stand for this. Thanks for the offer, Peaches, but I’m good. I have my ear buds. As soon as I got on the plane I put them on; there was this girl from a college volleyball team and she started talking and talking to me… it was at that moment that I wish I had my Dres, but, naw, I’m good here. I could use something else here though, if you wanted to overnight that…. ”

Claire smiled, and squinted her eyes but said nothing.

“You there? Clarice? Hello?”

“I’m here. So you put on your headphones in front of that girl? How rude of you. She was probably just your type. Athletic, obtuse and narcissi–”

“Hay! I resent that. No, she’s not my type, besides she’s gone. And she had hers on before I even could find mine; sadly. I’m like 50 years old to her as far as she’s concerned. I eventually found mine in my breast pocket. Listen, this is starting to go in a not fun direction. is there anything else you want? I’ve got to put out a Moira fire and Skipper here needs to tinkle and stretch his legs. Me too.”

“Moira fire? You’re on a cell phone, you can talk while you walk the dog…”

“Yes, I can do that, but I don’t want to expose you to my mother’s … mood … at the moment. Do you want to come to the bathroom with me?”

“No! Eww. No… I don’t. Listen, I just wanted you to know I submitted my creative for the Congratulations and Revenge mocks and pilots. Your not being here was … helpful. Have a good weekend. Bye, Luther.”

Before Luther could reply with a snarky comeback, the phone call ended. He glanced at the phone, shrugged his shoulders and said to Skipper, “Dames. This one’s a tough nut to crack.” The pair walked out the front door into the sunshine. Luther turned on his music and listened to “Drive By” by Train. An irrepressible smile came across his face when he heard

This is not a drive by,
Just a shy guy looking for a two ply
Hefty bag to hold my love
When you move me, everything is groovy,

Luther used that smile to get him through the ride over the backed-up Sagamore as the backs of his thighs stuck to the leather seats in the family land yacht.

He was driving, his hands were on the steering wheel, and his eyes were on the road. Skipper was in the back seat panting with excitement for he could smell the water and that water meant freedom and Luther and swimming. Moira didn’t argue with Luther about driving to the house; she was uncharacteristically docile and agreeable when he returned from his walk with the dog. She was asleep in the passenger seat, her head leaning against her yellow microbead travel pillow and her mouth wide open in the fading early summer sunlight and music from “Porgy and Bess” was softly playing in the background.

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(c) 2013 :: Molly Field

I wrote this in my car on my iPad (which I initially feared and hated when I got it for Christmas) on a trip to NYC for the weekend with the Things in the backseat and all manner of music from Pandora pouring from the speakers. If it stinks, that’s why. 🙂 I initially thought I wasn’t going to post at all, but I want to maintain my commitment to the my fiction friends.

Prompt: This week’s prompt (from the charming Clearly Kristal): If life gives you lemons, don’t settle for simply making lemonade – make a glorious scene at a lemonade stand.” – Elizabeth Gilbert

Your character was given lemons, now paint their amazing lemonade stand. Tell us the story of their darkness, their light. Write the story.

Please check out these other Friday Fiction Friends!

http://www.clearlykristal.com/?p=3862
http://www.worldsworstmoms.com/friday-fiction-part-19-overdone/?wprptest2=2

Friday Fiction 2.0 — Beyond the Edge

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The choice was simple. Stay or go. Put up and shut up or push out and change, evolve and grow.

“If you stay here, you see more of the same. You experience more of the blows and more of the highs and more of the lows. Maybe different depths and steeper heights, but essentially the same,” she thought to herself. “The same kinds of people, the same limited thoughts, the same pedantic ways,” she knew.

Outside her bedroom window, lay the lush and vibrant landscape she had frolicked on as a child and as her mother was a child and her mother before her. Generations of oaks, cascading wisteria blooms, putting greens, bowling greens, livery stables, pristine sculpture gardens and gleaming marble water fountains, the hypnotic gurgling and gentle splashing from the koi and frogs. It was a paradise to anyone else. But to Elise, it was a prison. Her years of privilege stymied her perceptions, her outlook and her understanding of what the real world was all about.

“Harvard or Oxford? Gucci or Prada? St. TropĂ©z or Athens? These are not the choices of a real human being,” she mocked herself, tossing the offer letters from her satin sheets and watching them land on the silk Persian carpet beneath her feet. Rising from her bed and running to her window she flew it open and shouted, “These are not the choices of a real humaaan beeeeing! These make a mockery of their lives and challenges! They must! Right?!”

Her mother rushed into Elise’s room, her sheer robe billowing behind her, lather on her face from her morning wash, her eyes were wide with concern and fear.

“Elise! Whatever is the matter? Oh my sweet! It’s so early yet. What troubles you so today?” she asked.

“This! All of this! Those letters! My closet! My great fortune! My life! I want to live with purpose; I want to have meaning. All of this is for nothing if people suffer and I turn my eye from it,” she said to her mother with tears welling, suspended and glistening on the lip of her chocolate eyes’ lower lids.

Her mother rushed to her side, “Now now… dear child! Here! Here’s a lollipop! Or your happy bear! La-la-lala… HO HO HO, I’m Chunky the happy bear, I’m coming to tickle yooooooou…” said her mother in an odd deep voice, intoning and bouncing the bear, a robust brown furry stuffed animal adorned with a rhinestone-studded dog collar Elise had bought for him as a gift when he turned five. Her mother was desperate at the moment to change the mood.

Elise was an ugly crier. It can be said of some people that they cry gracefully and so beautifully that their mere sensation of sadness is powerful enough to provoke a sniffle from even the most coarsened and granitic souls. For Elise, it was not this way. Her face contorted in a fashion not unlike the gargoyles atop Notre Dame, her voice became like that of a banshee harbored in Irish lowlands and the moaning, oh, the moaning it could truly break not only glass, but also porcelain vases from ancient Chinese dynasties. For Elise, crying was a weapon; but she would wail unaware of her effect, lest she would exploit it, the townspeople feared.

So when she was born, her parents made a pact with the villagers. Elise would cry only in her house and only with the windows closed; if she were outside and having fun and all of a sudden suffered a boo-boo or a moment of perceived unfairness during a game, she would be scooped up and whisked into the house to cry it out. But everyone knew, that eventually Elise would not be forever entertained by a lollipop or a dancing bear. In the meantime, alchemists tried to develop a glass that wouldn’t shatter when she cried. But how to test it? She’d have to cry and no one wanted that.

Since puberty, her crying became more desperate and unpredictable. Elise was not only unaware of her punitive sadness, but she was also connecting to the way it made her feel: worn down, exhausted and defensive, which only resulted in more frustration and ultimately more tears. Being a teen with the unbeknownst power to bring police squads to their knees and ducking for cover from the spraying shards which were as dangerous as random gunfire was confusing to her.

“I don’t WAAAANT the BEAAAAR!” she shrieked at her mother, turning her head out toward the gardens, deaf to the screams and mayhem from the house staff downstairs. Her own windows rattled; a single crack in a pane grew across the base of the glass along the frame, catching the light from the sun, and her attention for a brief second, long enough to make her catch her breath.

“Wha? What was that?” she asked, bewildered, an eyebrow raised.

Downstairs the human clamor was slowing but the vacuums started up to clean up whatever was left of the mess from her recent outburst.

“Waaaah!” she cried.

The window shook.

“Waaaah-ahh-aaaah! Noooooowaaaaah!” she wailed again, deliberately this time to study the effects, as though testing her shadow for its truth or an image in a false mirror. The crack spread across the entire window; all four corners were vulnerable to implosion and a single piece, the size of a bottle cap, popped out and dropped at her feet.

“Oh my…” she said, bending over to pick up the piece, gently examining it in the sunlight and taking great care to not cut herself.

“I’ll… I’ll uh, I’ll take that, honey. Give it. Give it here, Leesie,” begged her mother, with the bear in one hand, his eyes now cracked, one completely off his face. Her mother’s other palm was patiently outstretched, waiting for the piece. “I’m worried you’ll cut yourself on it…”

“No. No, I’ll be fine. In a second. If I cry again, mother, what will happen to this window?” she asked.

“If you cry again, dear, the glass with break completely and you and I could be injured. It’s something we’re trying to … to understand. We know that if you are simply angry, then the glass won’t break, but if you are truly sad or melancholy, then the glass will break and porcelain vases as will most lead crystal and fine china within a 5-mile radius,” she said, nervously nodding and pressing her lips together when she was finished.

“Oh,” said Elise. “That explains a lot. I am so sorry. I never meant ….” and her breathing deepened as her lower lip trembled.

Quickly, her mother rushed to her side and said, “I don’t know what to do. We’ve never let you just let it out. We’ve always stopped you. We don’t know what will happen if …”

“If I just let it out?” Elise asked, regaining her composure. “Is this why…? All this stuff? My bedroom is all puffy and fluffed with things that aren’t hard, nothing shiny? Why my mirrors are all plastic and warped? Why I ride a bicycle everywhere and I drink out of plastic or steel? Why all my stuffed animals have button eyes? Oh my goodness…” she blew a breath between her lips as though blowing on a coffee to cool it, she was working very hard to keep her emotions in check as her words were paced and thoughtful.

“Yes. That is why,” said her mother, as she pulled her daughter close to hold her near, her facial lather had dried to a flakey foam by now. “But I think you might be ready because now you know,” she added.

“Where? Where will I be safe, or where will I be able to cry so others can be safe?” she asked.

“UCLA,” her mother said. “You can cry at UCLA; it’s near where Lindsay Lohan is incarcerated, so they have a place that can handle it; it’s like a sound stage, but it’s all made out of Kevlar, Nomex, titanium and Lexan, it’s a sort of panic room for divas. But you’re not a diva, you’re just a homely and painful crier. Are you interested? I will go with you and if it works, you can go wherever you want after that.”

Elise sat on her bed, or more appropriately, flopped on it. Sighing, she flew her hands up and asked, “Why me? What is this? What if it doesn’t work? What will happen then?”

“I don’t know,” said her mother, “but I think we need to try, to take you to that edge or beyond it, to find out.”

(c) Molly Field 2013

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Well, that was the most random thing I’ve ever written. Today is the Friday of a crazy week here; only to continue into next week. I started this post not know what I was going to write about. I had no clue and I was even mad at the prompt, but once I typed, “Elise was an ugly crier” I knew I was on to something. So I added the bit about the bear and her mom. It comes about as my husband remarked today that Claire Danes is an ugly crier and that sentence became this story.

Here is the prompt: Use the quote below to tell the story of how your primary character comes to the edge (a cliche). Note: Your character may/may not fly. However, he/she encourages others to start a new beginning – i.e. to “fly.” Spring offers new beginnings to grow and soar. Tell this story in no more than 1,500 words (no less than 800) with a balance of dialogue and imagery. Now let your story fly!

“Come to the edge, He said. They said: We are afraid. Come to the edge, He said. They came. He pushed them, And they flew . . .”
— Guillaume Apollinaire
French poet

Please check out these other participants in today’s Friday Fiction Friends challenge!

http://www.susannesworld.com
http://www.clearlykristal.com
http://www.worldsworstmoms.com
Val’s fiction

Thank you!

Tuesday Morning Press 23 — Prophylactic Parenting

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It sucks in this day and age, when kids turn “pastries” (the last time I checked a pop-tart on its own was a weapon of mass construction) into guns, or West Virginia or New York State, that we have to be extra vigilant about items brought in for Sharing Day.

But in an obvious effort to cover my ass, I am sharing my letter to the teacher (while ccing the administration and my husband that I sent at 9:04 this morning) to let both of you know that while I agree with all policies to protect the children, sometimes a kid’s imagination needs its assurances as well.

Good morning Mr. Schautzenklampfer,

I just left the school after writing you a note to apprise of the fact that Thing 3 brought in what he calls the “staff” of whom I believe is the wizard Gandalf from Tolkien’s “The Hobbit.”

Essentially, it is just a piece of falling limb (about 4.5′ long) from a tree in our backyard with a blue Lego ball placed between the fork of the limbs by packing tape.

I left the note affixed to the packing tape and placed the staff behind your desk, to inform you that I wanted to make sure that I was doing my best to perform within any school policy regarding any “weapons” on campus even though it’s not a weapon, it’s a piece of wood with a Lego ball “suspended” from the fork of the limb. I also left commentary that if you need to have me come up and get the staff to please do call me. Again the staff is behind your chair at your desk, it is not available to Thing 3 or openly available to any of his classmates. The front office staff (Yanosh Greenblexter) and the temporary substitute teacher is aware of the situation and that I was leaving you a note.

Upon my leaving the classroom, Thing 3 realized that today is not his “sharing day.” But after I left the note and staff behind your desk I just figured that if you needed me to come get it you would let me know.

Thanks,

Molly

So what to do now? Do I sit by the phone and wait for the call that my kid has been suspended? Do I rail against the tide and fight for change of insanely fearful adults who’ve forgotten that childhood imaginations are places of wonder and security and safety?

My kid’s about as apple pie as you can get. Here’s a pic of him yesterday feeding grass to our dog. That’s right, he fed our dog grass. … Well, see for yourself:

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So now I wait.

Thank you.

UPDATE 9:43am from Mr. Schautzenklampfer:

Hi Molly,Thing 3 can share today instead of on the 16th. No problem! Thanks for taking the time to explain and keeping us informed.

-Heinrich Schautzenklampfer

Phew! Now I can go to yoga with my cell phone off. 🙂

When the Lights Go Out

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Our power just shut off here, the whole street. It’s so lovely and quiet; I imagine it’s how Bronte wrote, just the candles and the silence. Not even the heating or water pumps are running. No hum of the fridge, nothing. I’m posting this via my phone.

My kids can’t stop talking of course. They’re uncomfortable, but I’m in heaven. It’s truly wonderful.

Thank you.

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