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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Confused (08/16/07)

TITLE: The Absence of Reason
By Mishael Witty


The sleepy sun streamed in through the glass storm door as I listened to the message on the answering machine.

‘Hi, honey. I just wanted to let you know that I’m running a little late, but I’ll bring dinner home with me. Call me back on my cell phone and let me know what you want. I love you.’

I darted out to the front sidewalk, where my mother was playing with one of the cats.

“Mom? Dad called. He wants you to call him back.”

“Okay,” she said, without looking up. She didn’t act the least bit interested in listening to the message. I shrugged inwardly and went inside to get ready for my date.

Half an hour later, my boyfriend arrived. So did my father, who wondered why my mother hadn’t called him yet. After he questioned her, my mother stormed into the living room, where I was sitting and talking with my boyfriend.

“Why didn’t you tell me your father called?”

What was she talking about? “I did.”

“You didn’t!”

I sighed. “Mom, I came in, listened to the message, then went back out and told you that Dad wanted you to call him. You were out there playing with the cat.”

My mother’s dark soul showed through the anger in her eyes.

“Liar! You never told me any such thing! When will you quit lying to me?”

She flew toward me and slapped my face. My boyfriend tried to stop her, but she shot him down with a look.

“You stay out of this! You’re not part of this family!” She turned back to me. “I want you to apologize for lying to me!”

I shook my tear-streaked, burning-cheeked head. “I won’t. I can’t.”

She backed up and folded her arms. “Well, I guess you won’t be going out anywhere tonight. I won’t let you leave until you apologize to me.”

The crazy conversation was interrupted by the welcome distraction of the phone ringing. My mother rushed to answer it. Her cold, hard voice suddenly shifted to a warm, dulcet tone.

“Hello? Oh. Hi, Mom. Uh, I was just in the other room talking to your granddaughter and her date. Is everything okay?”

My boyfriend and I took the opportunity to run out of the house, ignoring my mother’s icy glares. I cried all the way to the restaurant, knowing what would confront me when I returned home that night.

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This article has been read 824 times
Member Comments
Member Date
julie wood08/23/07
Deeply moving story, beautifully written. I could feel the narrator's pain as she dealt with her angry and irrational mother. The characters come alive through the realistic dialogue. Great job!
Dianne Janak08/24/07
This was so real, so sad, and so confusing for the MC. What on earth was going on with her mother? Nothing is more devastating than an abusive parent, no matter what kind of abuse it is. Great writing. Very sad and disturbing.
Virginia Gorg08/25/07
Good writing - leaves a lot of questions. Pulled into the MC's thoughts and confusion.
Julie Arduini08/28/07
Wow, I was captivated. I have so many questions wondering about the mom, the dad, the family's future, you did this topic great justice. Wonderful work!
Anothervoice Sunstar09/09/07
Reading a story like this begs me to remember that every story has two sides. I wonder what the mother's version would reveal?!? I say this as a mother who has had a child's version of an event take on a 180 degree turn from the events I saw. I hope I can read something in the not too distant future about a "sweet" memory of mother from this daughter. : )